Southland Football Produces 15 All-Americans

Sports

FRISCO, Texas – Fifteen Southland Conference football student-athletes received all-America recognition, in announcements made by various outlets this month.

McNeese defensive end Isaiah Chambers, the Southland Spring Defensive Player of the Year, was one of five individuals who garnered consensus first-team all-America recognition. Chambers, who was also named the league’s Student-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, received top marks from four sources.

Nicholls offensive lineman PJ Burkhalter, Central Arkansas wide receiver Tyler Hudson, Sam Houston defensive lineman Jahari Kay and Central Arkansas defensive back Robert Rochell each earned three first-team nods to join Chambers as consensus honorees.

FCS national champion Sam Houston led the way with seven All-Americans, followed by Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana with a pair of selections each. UIW, McNeese, Nicholls and Northwestern State accounted for one honoree apiece.

The FCS all-America teams are chosen by the American Football Coaches Assocation (AFCA), the Associated Press (AP)the FCS Athletic Directors AssociationHERO Sports and Stats Perform.

Kevin Brown, UIW – Sr. – Running Back (AFCA-2nd, Stats-2nd)

A First-Team All-Southland pick, Brown finished as the FCS leader in yards per carry (10.47), third in rushing yards per game (129.2) and fifth in all-purpose yards per game (163.3).

PJ Burkhalter, Nicholls – Sr. – Offensive Lineman (AP-1st, HERO-1st, Stats-1st)

The Southland Spring Offensive Lineman of the Year anchored a Colonels’ offensive line that ranked third among FCS programs in rushing offense (263.4).

Isaiah Chambers, McNeese – Gr. – Defensive Lineman (AFCA-1st, AP-1st, HERO-1st, Stats-1st)

Chambers finished fourth in Buck Buchanan Award voting after ranking ninth in the nation in sacks (1.07) and TFL (2.0) per game. He led the Southland in both sacks (7.5) and TFL (14.0).

Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston – Gr. – Return Specialist (AFCA-1st, HERO-1st, Stats-2nd)

The Southland Spring Newcomer of the Year garnered First-Team All-Southland honors at punt returner after ranking third in FCS in punt return average (17.4). Ezzard was one of just two to record two punt returns for touchdowns.

Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston – Gr. – Wide Receiver (AP-2nd, HERO-1st)

Also a first-team all-league wide receiver, Ezzard finished second nationally in receiving yards (861) and receiving touchdowns (nine) and ranked fifth in the country in yards per reception (22.66)

Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas – So. – Wide Receiver (AP-1st, HERO-1st, Stats-1st)

A finalist for the Walter Payton Award and the Southland Fall Offensive Player of the Year, Hudson finished third among FCS wideouts in receiving yards (845) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (seven).

Ferlando Jordan, Southeastern Louisiana – Jr. – Defensive Back (Stats-2nd)

A First-Team All-Southland selection, Jordan tallied seven passes defended with a pair of interceptions and five pass breakups. He racked up 34 total tackles, including 3.5 TFL and a sack.

Jahari Kay, Sam Houston – Sr. – Defensive Lineman (AFCA-1st, AP-1st, Stats-1st)

A First-Team All-Southland honoree, Kay led the Southland with four forced fumbles and ranked third in the league with 13.5 TFL. He also tied for fourth among the conference with six sacks.

Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana – Sr. – Quarterback (AP-2nd, HERO-1st, Stats-1st)

The 2020-21 Stats Perform Walter Payton Award recipient was the FCS’ leading passer (2.662) and scorer (164) and finished second nationally in passing yards per game (380.3).

Jevon Leon, Sam Houston – So. – Defensive Lineman (AP-2nd)

One of three Bearkats on the first-team all-conference defensive line, Leon led the nation with three fumble recoveries and ranked ninth in the Southland with four sacks.

Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston – Sr. – Defensive Back (AFCA-2nd, HERO-1st)

A First-Team All-Southland pick, McCollum led a national-champion defense and tallied six pass breakups and three TFL. He finished fifth on the team with 46 tackles and forced two fumbles.

Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas – Sr. – Defensive Back (AP-1st, HERO-1st, Stats-1st)

A fourth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, opponents knew better than to throw toward Rochell, resulting in him tallying just three pass breakups in the fall season.

Eric Schmid, Sam Houston – Jr. – Quarterback (AFCA-2nd, HERO-1st, Stats-2nd)

The Southland Spring Player of the Year delivered the game-winning touchdown pass in the national championship to finish second nationally with 20 passing touchdowns and rank eighth in yards per completion (14.47).

Colby Thomas, Sam Houston – Sr. – Offensive Lineman (AP-2nd, Stats-2nd)

A First-Team All-Southland nod, Thomas anchored a Sam Houston offensive line that led the league in sacks allowed per game (1.70) and ranked 13th among FCS programs in total offense (440.3).

Jomard Valsin, Northwestern State – Jr. – Linebacker (AFCA-2nd)

A First-Team All-Southland honoree, Valsin led Northwestern State ranked third among spring participants in tackles per game (nine) and eighth in TFL (eight). He tied for second leaguewide with three forced fumbles.

Joseph Wallace, Sam Houston – Sr. – Defensive Lineman (HERO-1st)

A First-Team All-Southland selection, Wallace led the league’s interior defensive lineman this spring with 8.5 TFL, and he tallied 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

{Courtesy: press release from the Southland Conference}

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