JONESBORO, Ark. (A-State) - Highlighted by four first-team selections at five different positions, the Arkansas State football team placed a league-high 12 players on the 2013 All-Sun Belt Conference Team that was announced Wednesday by the conference office.
The Red Wolves saw at least 10 players named all-conference for the fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall since the league's inaugural football season in 2001. Made up of six sophomores, two juniors and four seniors, A-State's 12 players earning the recognition were its second most ever as a member of the Sun Belt.
Arkansas State had six offensive, five defensive and one special teams players earn a spot on the team at 14 different positions. A-State, which claimed its third consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship in 2013, led the conference in total players selected for the fourth straight year.
Sophomore wide receiver J.D. McKissic (Phenix City, Ala.), junior linebacker Qushaun Lee (Prattville, Ala.), senior defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers (Nashville, Tenn.) and senior kicker Brian Davis (Brentwood, Tenn.) all represented the Red Wolves on the first team. In addition to earning first-team accolades at wide receiver, McKissic was an all-purpose choice on the top team and a second-team pick as a return specialist.
A-State's second-team selections included sophomore running back Michael Gordon (Camden, Miss.), sophomore tight end Darion Griswold (Dumas, Ark.), senior offensive lineman Steven Haunga (Richmond, Calif.), sophomore offensive lineman Bryce Giddens (Moultrie, Ga.) sophomore cornerback Rocky Hayes (Heflin, Ala.) and junior safety Sterling Young (Hoover, Ala.).
Senior quarterback Adam Kennedy (Elk?Grove, Calif.) and sophomore defensive end Chris Stone (Daleville, Ala.) made the squad as honorable mention picks.
Western Kentucky senior running back Antonio Andrews was named both the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, while Hilltoppers senior linebacker Xavius Boyd was the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Running back Elijah McGuire of Louisiana-Lafayette was recognized as the conference's Freshman of the Year. South Alabama's Joey Jones was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year.
Arkansas State will play Ball State in the 2014 GoDaddy Bowl, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Mobile, Ala.'s Ladd-Peebles State on Jan. 5. Bowl tickets are only $45 per ticket when purchased through the A-State?Ticket Office. Fans can go to AStateRedWolves.com and click on 'Bowl Game Central' (astateredwolves.com/bowlgame) to order tickets. The A-State Ticket Office, located at the Convocation Center's lower red entrance, is also taking walk-up or telephone (870-972-2781) orders.
First Team All-Sun Belt Offense: Corey Robinson (Troy, Sr., QB), Alonzo Harris (ULL, Jr., RB), Elijah McGuire (ULL, Fr., RB), Antonio Andrews (WKU, Sr., RB), J.D. McKissic (A-State, So. WR), Albert Wilson (GSU, Sr. WR), Eric Thomas (Troy, Sr., WR), Wes Saxton (USA, Jr., TE), Andre Huval (ULL,Sr., OL), Josh Allen (ULM, Sr., OL), Chris May (USA, So., OL), Terrance Jones (Troy, Jr., OL), Luis Polanco (WKU, Sr., OL)
First Team All-Sun Belt Defense: Ryan Carrethers (A-State, Sr., DL), Romelle Jones (USA, Sr., DL), Alex Page (USA, Senior, DL), Bar'ee Boyd (WKU, Sr., DL), Qushaun Lee (A-State, Jr., LB), Justin Anderson (ULL, Sr., LB), Xavius Boyd (WKU, Sr., LB), Isaiah Newsome (ULM, Sr., DB), Camren Hudson (Troy, Sr., DB), Jonathan Dowling (WKU, Jr., DB), Cam Thomas (WKU, Jr., DB)
First Team All-Sun Belt Special Teams: Brian Davis (A-State, Sr., K), Justin Manton (ULM, Jr., P), Darryl Surgent (ULL, Sr., Return Specialist), J.D. McKissic (A-State, So. All-Purpose)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Offense: Ross Metheny (USA, Sr., QB), Michael Gordon (A-State, So., RB), Robert Lowe (Texas St., So., RB), Jamal Robinson (ULL, Jr. WR), Rashon Ceaser (ULM, So.,WR), Shavarez Smith (USA, Jr., WR), Darion Griswold (A-State, So., TE), Bryce Giddens (A-State, So, OL), Steven Haunga (A-State, Sr., OL), Daniel Quave (ULL, Jr., OL), Ucambre Williams (USA, Jr., OL), Evan McKissack (Troy, Sr., OL)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Defense: Justin Hamilton (ULL, Jr., DL), Gerrand Johnson (ULM, So., DL), Antonio Gillespie (Troy, Sr. DL), Tyler Roberts (Troy, So., DL), Cameron Blakes (ULM, Sr., LB), Enrique Williams (USA, Sr., LB), Andrew Jackson (WKU, Sr., LB), Rocky Hayes (A-State, So., DB), Sterling Young (A-State, Jr., DB), Trevence Patt (ULL, Jr., DB), Justin Iwuji (Texas St., Sr., DB)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Special Teams: Will Scott (Troy, Sr., K), Will Scott (Troy, Sr., P), J.D. McKissic (A-State, So., Return Specialist), Albert Wilson (GSU, Sr., All-Purpose)
Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference
Adam Kennedy (A-State, Sr., QB); Chris Stone (A-State, So., DL); Ulrick John (GSU, Sr., OL); Joseph Peterson (GSU, So., LB); Jacob Maxwell (ULL, Sr., TE); Dominique Tovell (ULL, So., LB); Kolton Browning (ULM, Sr., QB); Centarius Donald (ULM, Jr., RB); Jay Jones (USA, Jr., RB); Aleem Sunanon (USA, r-Fr., K); David Mayo (Texas St., Jr., LB); Mike Orakpo (Texas St., Jr., LB); Jordan Chunn (Troy, Fr., RB); Bryan Holmes (Troy, So., WR); Willie McNeal (WKU, Jr., WR); Forrest Lamp (WKU, r-Fr., OL)
Sun Belt Player of the Year: Antonio Andrews (WKU, Sr., RB) || Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year: Antonio Andrews (WKU, Sr., RB) || Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year: Xavius Boyd (WKU, Sr., LB) || Sun Belt Freshman of the Year: Elijah McGuire (ULL, Fr., RB) || Sun Belt Coach of the Year: Joey Jones, USA