GS picked third in division, four Eagles named to preseason first team All-Sun Belt

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  • The Georgia Southern Eagles were picked to finish third in the Sun Belt East division, the league announced Thursday. 

McClain Baxley

As was the case for 2018 honors, the Georgia Southern football team received little love from the Sun Belt Conference, who released its preseason teams and coaches polls for the 2019 season on Thursday.

In Chad Lunsford’s second full season as head coach, the Eagles were picked to finish third in the Sun Belt East division, behind Appalachian State and Troy. GS also received two first place votes.

The Mountaineers were picked to not only win the East, who reeled in seven first place votes, but also win the conference, defeating Louisiana in a rematch of the 2018 conference championship. Louisiana picked up six first place votes in the Sun Belt West. 

Behind App State was Troy with one first place votes. Both teams are welcoming new head coaches from a year ago.

GS did pick up three All-Sun Belt selections with senior cornerbacks Monquavion Brinson and Kindle Vildor being joined by junior defensive end Raymond Johnson on the defense and senior kicker Tyle Bass being named first team as well. 

Brinson had 67 tackles and an interception to earn second team All-Sun Belt honors in 2018. Vildor, who was also named the preseason Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, had 42 tackles and four interceptions last season. The senior from College Park was a first team All-Sun Belt selection in 2018. 

Johnson had a strong 2018 with 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries to pick up second team All-Sun Belt honors. Bass will be returning after a 2018 campaign where he hit 13 of 19 field goals, including the walk off 40 yard field goal in the Camellia Bowl against Eastern Michigan, good enough to be named a Lou Groza semifinalist. 

The Eagles open Sun Belt play at home against Louisiana Sept. 28. 

Preseason All-Sun Belt First and Second teams

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)

First Team Offense

QB – Zac Thomas (Appalachian State, Junior) #

RB – Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior) ^

RB – B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior) ^

WR – Corey Sutton (Appalachian State, Junior) #

WR – Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State, Senior) ^

WR – Ja’Marcus Bradley (Louisiana, RS-Senior) $

TE – Javonis Isaac (Arkansas State, RS-Junior) #

OL – Noah Hannon (Appalachian State, Junior) #

OL – Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Senior) *^

OL – Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, RS-Senior) *^

OL – Robert Hunt (Louisiana, RS-Senior) #

OL – Kirk Kelley (Troy, Senior) ^

First Team Defense

DL – William Bradley-King (Arkansas State, RS-Junior) #

DL – Forrest Merrill (Arkansas State, Junior) #

DL – Raymond Johnson (Georgia Southern, Junior) #

DL – Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Senior) *#

LB – Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State, Senior) #

LB – Jordan Fehr (Appalachian State, Senior) ^

LB – Bryan London II (Texas State, Senior) *^

DB – Desmond Franklin (Appalachian State, Senior) ^

DB – Jerry Jacobs (Arkansas State, Junior) #

DB – Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Senior) *#

DB – Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior) ^

First Team Special Teams

K – Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior) *^

P – Brandon Wright (Georgia State, RS-Senior) ^

RS – Tra Minter (South Alabama, Senior) #

Second Team Offense

QB – Caleb Evans (ULM, Senior) *$

RB – Elijah Mitchell (Louisiana, Junior) #

RB – Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Junior) *$

WR – Omar Bayless (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) !

WR – Kawaan Baker (South Alabama, Junior) !

WR – Tray Eafford (Troy, Junior)

TE – Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Senior) *$

OL – Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Junior) *!

OL – Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Senior) *$

OL – T.J. Fiailoa (ULM, RS-Junior) $

OL – Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Senior) *!

OL – Tristan Crowder (Troy, Senior) *$

Second Team Defense

DL – Kevin Thurmon (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) !

DL – Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina, RS-Junior) $

DL – Zi’Yon Hill (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore) $

DL – Jarvis Hayes (Troy, Senior) $

LB – Jacques Boudreaux (Louisiana, Senior) $

LB – Nikolas Daniels (Texas State, Senior) $

LB – Carlton Martial (Troy, Sophomore)

DB – Josh Thomas (Appalachian State, Senior) !

DB – B.J. Edmonds (Arkansas State, Senior) *

DB – Darreon Jackson (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) $

DB – Michael Jacquet III (Louisiana, RS-Senior)

Second Team Special Teams

K – Tyler Sumpter (Troy, Junior) $

P – Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) *#

RS – Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)

Symbol Key

* – named to 2018 Preseason Teams

^ – named to 2018 All-Sun Belt First Team

# – named to 2018 All-Sun Belt Second Team

$ – named to 2018 All-Sun Belt Third Team

! – named to 2018 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention Team


McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Editor-In-Chief,