NEW ORLEANS, La. (KLFY) – Defending Sun Belt Conference (SBC) champions, Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, had five players awarded with preseason honors today as the league released its 2022 Preseason teams and coaches poll.
Placed on the preseason first team were Zi’Yon Hill-Green (defensive line), Eric Garror (defensive line), Rhys Byrns (punter), and Chris Smith (all-purpose). Placed on the second team was Andre Jones (linebacker).
Hill-Green, of New Iberia, La., was a second-team All-SBC recipient last year and started in 12 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Ranked fifth on Louisiana’s defense, Hill-Green had 59 tackles and finished second in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (9.5) for one of the league’s top defenses.
Garror, of Mobile, Ala., was a second-team All-SBC selection in 2021. After playing in all 14 games for Louisiana, he finished with 23 tackles, seven passes, and two interceptions. In the 2021 opener against Texas, Garror scored a season-high of five tackles.
Byrns, of Australia, was named the All-SBC first team last season and was ranked 11 in the nation for punting. with a 46.3 average. Against Troy last year, he produced a season-long kick of 70 yards.
Smith, a 2021 first-team All-SBC specialist and third-team running back, finished last season as Louisiana’s leading rusher. Last year, he titled 855 yards and produced one of the top sing-game rushes in Ragin’ Cajuns history with 238 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
Jones, of Varnado, La., was a 2021 third-team All-SBC selection and earned second-team honors as a linebacker after recording 61 tackles for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Last year, he lead the team in both forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (3).
Louisiana was also picked to finish first in the SBC West Division after receiving 12 first-place votes and 95 points by the league’s head coaches.
The 2022 season opens on Saturday, Sep. 3 at Cajun Field, when the Ragin’ Cajuns host in-state foe Southeastern Louisiana.
The games kickoff will be at 6 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Tickets for the game, or for the season, can be found here.