HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats placed four players on the HERO Sports preseason all-America team on Tuesday, including three on the first team per an announcement from the publication.
Wide receiver Nathan Stewart, offensive lineman Mitchell Watanabe and defensive lineman Chris Stewart were all named to the first team while senior wide receiver Davion Davis was a second team choice.
In all, six players from the Southland Conference were chosen for the team with one selection each coming from Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana.
Stewart was a first team all-America choice by the publication after his sophomore season and enters his junior year as one of the most productive wideouts in the nation over the past two years. He is the only Bearkat in program history to record 1,000-yard seasons in multiple years, doing so in both 2016 and 2017, and led all of FCS with 1,648 yards.
He also hauled in 14 touchdowns and in just two seasons already ranks fourth all-time at SHSU in career receiving yards (2,652) and touchdowns (26). Stewart owns the top two single-game receiving marks in Bearkat history, including a 247-yard performance last season against Northwestern State and a 268-yard day against McNeese as a freshman.
Watanabe earned first-team all-SLC honors a year ago as the starting left tackle for the Kats in all 14 games on the year and was one of the top offensive linemen for SHSU as a sophomore, helping the Kats establish itself as the top offense in the FCS each of the last two years.
Meanwhile, Stewart was a second team all-SLC choice last year in addition to being named to the HERO Sports all-America third team. He led the SLC and finished second in the FCS with 12.5 total sacks, while tying with teammate P.J. Hall for seventh in the FCS with 19.5 total tackles for loss.
He finished the season with 66 total tackles and a forced fumble, while also blocking a pair of kicks in the win over HBU. His biggest effort of the year came in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs when he registered 15 tackles – including two – sacks in the win over Kennesaw State.
For Davis, his honor comes on the heels of his biggest year as a Bearkat. The Hutto native was named the SLC Offensive Player of the Year in 2017, while earning a number of all-America honors that also included being named a first team all-purpose player by HERO Sports.
The Kats moved him all over the field and he finished with 78 catches for 1,206 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had a pair of rushing scores and two more via punt return, ranking second in all of FCS with 21 touchdowns for the season.
Sam Houston will kick off the 2018 season on Sept. 8 when it hosts Prairie View at Bowers Stadium. Season tickets are on sale for the entire 2018 season by clicking HERE or by calling (936) 294-1729.