BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State had a league-leading eight first-team selections as the 2017 All-Sun Belt football teams and award winners were announced Wednesday.
App State, which went 7-1 in the Sun Belt to share the conference championship with Troy, had a total of 13 players recognized on the three all-league teams and four more players receive honorable mention in voting done by Sun Belt coaches and media members.
The Mountaineers’ first-team picks were senior linebacker Eric Boggs, senior defensive lineman Tee Sims, sophomore defensive back Clifton Duck, senior offensive lineman Beau Nunn, senior offensive lineman Colby Gossett, sophomore offensive lineman Victor Johnson, senior receiver Ike Lewis and junior running back Jalin Moore. Arkansas State’s five first-team selections ranked second in the Sun Belt.
Senior quarterback Taylor Lamb received second-team recognition, as Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Justice Hansen from Arkansas State made the first team, and junior defensive back Tae Hayes also appeared on the second team. App State’s third-team choices were senior defensive back A.J. Howard, senior linebacker Devan Stringer and senior defensive lineman Caleb Fuller.
Junior linebacker Anthony Flory, junior defensive lineman Myquon Stout, sophomore tight end Collin Reed and true freshman receiver Thomas Hennigan represented the Mountaineers on the honorable mention list.
In the 17-year history of the All-Sun Belt awards, this is the first time three offensive linemen from the same school have made the first team, and it’s the second straight year the Mountaineers have put at least two offensive linemen on the first team. App State is tied for second place nationally with only eight sacks allowed this season, as run-oriented Army has given up one sack, and the Mountaineers rank second in the Sun Belt (28th nationally) by rushing for 215.0 yards per game. That average increased to 311.0 yards over the final three league games.
An offensive guard, Gossett has started 45 consecutive games. An offensive tackle with 40 career starts, Nunn has graded out No. 1 in the Sun Belt and in the top 25 nationally among FBS tackles, according to PFF College Football’s data. Johnson has started all 25 of his career games at left tackle.
Moore has rushed for 912 yards in 10 games this year, giving him a league-leading average of 91.2 yards per game, and he was the Sun Belt leader with 790 rushing yards in league play even though he missed one full game and practically the entire second half of two others. Lewis has 47 catches for 666 yards and eight touchdowns this year, including 36 catches for 553 yards and eight TDs over the last seven games.
Defensively, Boggs has been the leading tackler three times for a group that ranked first or second among Sun Belt teams in both points allowed per game and yards allowed per game in all three of those seasons. With 97 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and two interceptions this year, he is the only active FBS player with at least 342 career tackles, 12.0 career sacks and eight career interceptions.
Sims ranks No. 5 nationally and No. 2 in the Sun Belt at 0.95 sacks per game, as his 9.5 sacks caused a loss of 78 yards. He also posted 13.5 tackles for loss (No. 4 in the Sun Belt), 41 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble this year.
Duck is tied for first place in the Sun Belt this season with five interceptions, including three against New Mexico State, and he also finished the second regular season of his college career with 48 tackles, 1.0 sack and 3.0 tackles for loss. Duck is one of 22 active FBS players with at least 10 career interceptions, and 18 of those players are seniors.
Lamb is the quarterback of the All-Sun Belt second team after a regular season in which he recorded 27 touchdown passes (No. 2 in the Sun Belt), six interceptions, a 153.9 passer efficiency rating (No. 2 in the Sun Belt), 2,606 passing yards, 539 rushing yards (No. 3 among Sun Belt QBs) and five rushing touchdowns. The Sun Belt career leader with 90 passing touchdowns, he is one of only three FBS quarterbacks this year with more than 25 touchdown passes and less than eight interceptions.
Hayes, who was named to The Athletic’s All-Group of Five Conference Midseason Team, has four interceptions, 16 passes defended (No. 2 in the Sun Belt), 48 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss this season. Like Duck, he intercepted three passes against New Mexico State.
As one of three App State defenders on the All-Sun Belt third team, Howard ended the regular season with 63 tackles, a 61-yard interception return that set up a touchdown at Georgia State and a game-saving tackle at the 1-yard line on the final play of a 20-13 win at Texas State.
Fuller has 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, including a takedown on Idaho’s final drive in a 23-20 win by App State. He also made a big impact on special teams, rushing for 23 yards on a fake punt against Georgia Southern and blocking a punt at Georgia State. A four-year starter, Stringer ranks seventh on App State’s team with 45 tackles even though he missed three games, and opposing offenses averaged only 284.0 yards per game when he returned for the final three victories.
Within the honorable mention selections, Flory ranks second on the Mountaineers with 79 tackles, and Reed’s five touchdown catches are second among Sun Belt tight ends. Stout’s 38 tackles are tied for third among Sun Belt interior linemen this season, and Hennigan is tied for first among the nation’s true freshmen with seven touchdown receptions. He has caught 44 passes for 556 yards and is coming off a four-touchdown performance against Louisiana.
Football All-Conference Teams and Individual Awards
All-Sun Belt First Team Offense
Justice Hansen (Arkansas State, QB, Jr.)
Jalin Moore (Appalachian State, RB, Jr.)
Aaron Duckworth (Idaho, RB, Sr.)
Ike Lewis (Appalachian State, WR, Sr.)
Penny Hart (Georgia State, WR, RS-So.)
Jaleel Scott (New Mexico State, WR, RS-Sr.)
Blake Mack (Arkansas State, TE, Sr.)
Colby Gossett (Appalachian State, OL, Sr.)
Beau Nunn (Appalachian State, OL, Sr.)
Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, OL, So.)
Lanard Bonner (Arkansas State, OL, RS-Jr.)
Steven Rowzee (Troy, OL, Sr.)
All-Sun Belt First Team Defense
Tee Sims (Appalachian State, DL, Sr.)
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (Arkansas State, DL, RS-Sr.)
Aikeem Coleman (Idaho, DL, Sr.)
Cedric Wilcots II (New Mexico State, DL, RS-So.)
Hunter Reese (Troy, DL, Jr.)
Eric Boggs (Appalachian State, LB, Sr.)
Tony Lashley (Idaho, LB, Jr.)
Dalton Herrington (New Mexico State, LB, Sr.)
Clifton Duck (Appalachian State, DB, So.)
Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State, DB, Sr.)
Jeremy Reaves (South Alabama, DB, Sr.)
Blace Brown (Troy, DB, Jr.)
All-Sun Belt First Team Special Teams
Gavin Patterson (South Alabama, PK, Jr.)
Corliss Waitman (South Alabama, P, Jr.)
Marcus Green (ULM, Return Specialist, Jr.)
Marcus Green (ULM, All-Purpose, Jr.)
All-Sun Belt Second Team Offense
Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State, QB, Sr.)
Larry Rose III (New Mexico State, RB, Sr.)
Jordan Chunn (Troy, RB, Sr.)
Chris Murray (Arkansas State, WR, Sr.)
Jamarius Way (South Alabama, WR, Jr.)
Deondre Douglas (Troy, WR, Jr.)
Gabe Schrade (Texas State, TE, Sr.)
Noah Johnson (Idaho, OL, So.)
Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, OL, So.)
Noah Fisher (South Alabama, OL, Jr.)
Deontae Crumitie (Troy, OL, Jr.)
Tristan Crowder (Troy, OL, So.)
All-Sun Belt Second Team Defense
Ronheen Bingham (Arkansas State, DL, Jr.)
Logan Hunt (Georgia Southern, DL, Jr.)
Jamal Stadom (Troy, DL, Sr.)
Trevon Sanders (Troy, DL, Jr.)
Kyle Wilson (Arkansas State, LB, Sr.)
Shane Johnson (Coastal Carolina, LB, Sr.)
Kaden Elliss (Idaho, LB, Jr.)
Tron Folsom (Troy, LB, So.)
Tae Hayes (Appalachian State, DB, Jr.)
Justin Clifton (Arkansas State, DB, Jr.)
Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, DB, So.)
Ron LaForce (New Mexico State, DB, Jr.)
All-Sun Belt Second Team Special Teams
Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, PK, RS-So.)
Cade Coffey (Idaho, P, RS-Fr.)
Marcus Jones (Troy, Return Specialist, Fr.)
Marcus Jones (Troy, All-Purpose, Fr.)
All-Sun Belt Third Team Offense
Tyler Rogers (New Mexico State, QB, RS-Sr.)
Osharmar Abercrombie (Coastal Carolina, RB, Sr.)
Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RB, RS-Fr.)
Justin McInnis (Arkansas State, WR, Jr.)
Malcolm Williams (Coastal Carolina, WR, Jr.)
RJ Turner (ULM, WR, So.)
Chase Rogers (Louisiana, TE, Fr.)
Jaypee Philbert (Arkansas State, OL, Sr.)
Grant Horst (Louisiana, OL, Sr.)
Frank Sutton (ULM, OL, Sr.)
Aaron Brewer (Texas State, OL, So.)
Kirk Kelley (Troy, OL, So.)
All-Sun Belt Third Team Defense
Caleb Fuller (Appalachian State, DL, Sr.)
Caleb Caston (Arkansas State, DL, Sr.)
Marterious Allen (Georgia State, DL, Jr.)
Joe Dillon (Louisiana, DL, So.)
Devan Stringer (Appalachian State, LB, Sr.)
Michael Shaw (Georgia State, LB, RS-Jr.)
Frankie Griffin (Texas State, LB, Jr.)
A.J. Howard (Appalachian State, DB, Sr.)
Chandon Sullivan (Georgia State, DB, Sr.)
Tracy Walker (Louisiana, DB, Sr.)
Shamad Lomax (New Mexico State, DB, So.)
Cedarius Rookard (Troy, DB, Jr.)
All-Sun Belt Third Team Special Teams
Sawyer Williams (Arkansas State, PK, RS-So.)
Cody Grace (Arkansas State, P, RS-So.)
Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State, Return Specialist, Sr.)
Glenn Smith (Georgia State, All-Purpose, Sr.)
All-Sun Belt Conference Honorable Mention (From App State)
Anthony Flory (LB, Jr.)
Thomas Hennigan (WR, Fr.)
Collin Reed (TE, So.)
Myquon Stout (DL, Jr.)
Player of the Year
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State
Offensive Player of the Year
Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Defensive Player of the Year
Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama
Newcomer of the Year
Ron LaForce, New Mexico State
Freshman of the Year
Marcus Jones, Troy
Coach of the Year
Neal Brown, Troy
Appalachian State Strategic Communications
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