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Louisiana Places Five On Preseason All-Sun Belt Team

The Cajuns are picked to represent SBC West in SBC Championship Game
LA Lafayette Texas Football
Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 17:34:32-04

NEW ORLEANS – The defending Sun Belt Conference champion Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns had five players earn preseason honors on Monday as the league office released its 2022 Preseason Football Teams and Coaches’ Poll.

In voting conducted by the league’s head coaches, Louisiana was picked to finish first in the SBC West Division after garnering 12 first-place votes and a league-best 95 points.

Louisiana placed four players on the preseason first team with Zi’Yon Hill-Green (defensive line), Eric Garror (defensive back), Rhys Byrns (punter) and Chris Smith (all-purpose) being selected. Named to the second team was linebacker Andre Jones

Smith, a 2021 first-team All-SBC specialist and third-team running back, finished as Louisiana’s leading rusher last season, totaling 855 yards on 153 attempts. The Doak Walker Award Watch List member produced one of the top single-game rushing performances in Ragin’ Cajuns history last season at Arkansas State, rushing for 238 yards on 24 carries and scoring a pair of touchdowns.

Byrns, named to the All-SBC first team last season, led the Sun Belt and was 11th in the nation in punting in 2021 with 46.3 average. The Rye, Australia native, who had 19 attempts over 50 yards on the season, produced a season-long kick of 70 yards at Troy and placed 21 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line

Hill-Green, a second-team All-SBC recipient in 2021, started 12 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns and ranked fifth on Louisiana’s defense with 59 tackles. The New Iberia, La., native finished second for the Ragin’ Cajuns in both sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (9.5) for one of the league’s top defenses. He forced a fumble against App State and earned his sixth career fumble recovery against Troy.

Garror, a second-team All-SBC selection in 2021, played in all 14 games for Louisiana as a junior and finished with 23 tackles, seven pass breakups and a pair of interceptions. The Mobile, Ala., native was credited with a season-high five tackles, four of which were solo stops, in the 2021 opener at Texas and added four stops in a home win over Ohio.

Jones, a 2021 third-team All-SBC selection as a defensive lineman, earned second-team honors at linebacker after finishing tied for second in tackles (61) for the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Varnado, La., native was third on the team on both tackles for loss (9.0) and sacks (6.0) while leading the team in both forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (3). Jones broke up four passes and added four quarterback hurries on defense for Louisiana while recording a team-high six tackles in the 2021 opener at Texas.

Louisiana opens the 2022 season at Cajun Field on Saturday, Sept. 3, when the Ragin' Cajuns host in-state foe Southeastern Louisiana. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN+.

Season tickets for the 2022 campaign are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting Account Manager []. For more information call the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the CAJUNDOME at (337) 265-2104.

Fans are encouraged to stay engaged with the Ragin' Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here [] for iOS/Apple platforms and here [] for Android platforms.

Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@RaginCajunsFB) to stay up-to-date on Louisiana Football.


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-Green, 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 

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