A-State Football Places Three on Preseason All-Sun Belt Team


The Arkansas State football team placed three players on the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team that was announced Monday.

Arkansas State’s three preseason all-conference picks were made up of two first-team and one second-team selection.  Representing the Red Wolves on the first team were senior linebacker Kivon Bennett and senior return specialist Johnnie Lang.  Senior wide receiver Te’Vailance Hunt was a second-team choice.

Bennett, who moved to linebacker ahead of spring practices, was a Second Team All-Sun Belt, Phil Steel Third Team All-Sun Belt and PFF First Team All-Sun Belt selection last season after starting all 12 contests at defensive end.  He ranked first on the team and sixth in the Sun Belt with 8.0 sacks for 42 yards. He led the team with 16.5 tackles for loss and also had a team-high five quarterback hurries.

Lang, named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List last week, played in all 12 games last season, finishing the year ranked second on the team with 263 rushing yards on 65 carries.  He was named a Phil Steele and PFF First Team All-Sun Belt punt returner.  He led the Red Wolves with 124 punt return yards on 15 attempts, including a 63-yard return for a touchdown against Tulsa. He led the Sun Belt Conference with a punt return average of 8.3 yards per return.

Hunt, named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List last week, was tabbed a Third Team All-Sun Belt selection as well as Phil Steel and PFF all-conference choice last season. He hauled in 51 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns with his 67.3 receiving yards per game, ranking sixth in the league.

The Sun Belt Conference also announced today its 2022 Preseason Coaches Poll, and Arkansas State was picked to finish sixth in the league’s West Division.

Louisiana topped the West Division coaches poll with 95 points and 12 first-place nods. South Alabama was second with 79 points and two first-place votes, followed by Troy (76), Texas State (41), Southern Miss (40), Arkansas State (37) and ULM (24).

Appalachian State topped the East Division poll with 94 total points and 10 first-place votes. Coastal Carolina (2), Georgia State and Georgia Southern also received first-place nods. Coastal Carolina (77) was second in the East Division poll followed by Georgia State (68), Marshall (62), Georgia Southern (35), James Madison (31) and Old Dominion (25).

Sun Belt Conference media days begin Tuesday with the East Division and conclude Wednesday with the West Division teams. Coverage is available on ESPN+. Head Coach Butch Jones, along with quarterback James Blackman and linebacker Kivon Bennett, take the main stage at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Season tickets for the Red Wolves’ 2022 campaign are available for purchase through the A-State Ticket Office, located at First National Bank Arena’s lower red entrance, in person, by phone at 870-972-2781 or online at AStateRedWolves.com.

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year 
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year 
Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Offense 
QB – Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
RB – Rasheen Ali, Marshall
RB – Camerun Peoples, App State
OL – Willie Lampkin, Coastal Carolina
OL – Dalton Cooper, Texas State
OL – Austin Stidham, Troy
OL – Malik Sumter, Georgia State
OL – Cooper Hodges, App State
TE – Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion
WR – Ali Jennings, Old Dominion
WR – Kris Thornton, James Madison
WR – Tez Johnson, Troy

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Defense 
DL – Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina
DL – Javon Solomon, Troy
DL – Zi’Yon Hill, Louisiana
DL – Will Choloh, Troy
LB – Carlton Martial, Troy
LB – Blake Carroll, Georgia State
LB – Kivon Bennett, Arkansas State
DB – Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama
DB – D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina
DB – Antavious Lane, Georgia State
DB – Eric Garror, Louisiana
DB – Keith Gallmon, South Alabama

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Special Teams 
K – Seth Keller, Texas State
P – Rhys Byrns, Louisiana
RS – Johnnie Lang, Arkansas State
AP – Chris Smith, Louisiana

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Offense 
QB – Chase Brice, App State
RB – Nate Noel, App State
RB – Tucker Gregg, Georgia State
OL – Travis Glover, Georgia State
OL – Kyle Hergel, Texas State
OL – Damion Daley, App State
OL – Pat Bartlett, Georgia State
OL – Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion
TE – Aubry Payne, Georgia State
WR – Te’Vailance Hunt, Arkansas State
WR – Jalen Wayne, South Alabama
WR – Boogie Knight, ULM   

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Defense
DL – Richard Jubinor, Troy
DL – Thomas Gore, Georgia State
DL – Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina
DL – Justin Ellis, Georgia Southern
LB – Nick Hampton, App State
LB – Abraham Beauplan, Marshall
LB – Andre Jones, Louisiana
LB – Trey Cobb, App State
DB – Steven Jones Jr., App State
DB – Derrick Canteen, Georgia Southern
DB – Steven Gilmore, Marshall
DB – TJ Harris, Troy

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Special Teams 
K – Calum Sutherland, ULM
P – Anthony Beck II, Georgia Southern
RS – Camron Harrell, Southern Miss
AP – Amare Jones, Georgia Southern

East Division 
1. App State – 94 Points (10)
2. Coastal Carolina – 77 Points (2)
3. Georgia State – 68 Points (1)
4. Marshall – 62 Points
5. Georgia Southern – 35 Points (1)
6. James Madison – 31 Points
7. Old Dominion – 25 Points

West Division 
1. Louisiana – 95 Points (12)
2. South Alabama – 79 Points (2)
3. Troy – 76 Points
4. Texas State – 41 Points
5. Southern Miss – 40 Points
6. Arkansas State – 37 Points
7. ULM – 24 Points