HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats had four players named to the 2017 Associated Press FCS All-America Teams, the AP announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bearkats’ four selections were tied with Central Arkansas as the most among Southland Conference schools. Wide receiver Davion Davis and defensive lineman P.J. Hall were each named to the all-America first team, while quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe was named to the second team and wide receiver Nathan Stewart to the third team.
For Davis, it is his first AP all-America choice, and deservingly so after a junior season that saw him named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The Hutto, Texas, native has hauled in 72 passes for 1,147 yards and 17 touchdowns this year as a receiver, but has also been a threat in other areas as well.
He was also named a first team all-SLC choice as an all-purpose player and a punt returner for the Kats this year and has racked up 21 total touchdowns, a mark that is just three shy of Timothy Flanders’ school record of 24 scores in the 2012 season. He has rushed for a pair of scores and is one of two players in the FCS with two punt return touchdowns as well.
Davis had a huge game in Sam Houston’s win over South Dakota in the second round of the FCS playoffs, racking up 131 receiving yards and scoring four total touchdowns. Three of those came in the air and gave him 30 receiving touchdowns for his career, setting a new Sam Houston record for career touchdown grabs.
Meanwhile, for Hall it is the fourth straight season he has earned all-America honors from the AP and the second straight year for him to be on the first team. The senior defensive lineman has been one of the most devastating forces in the FCS throughout his career and this year set a new FCS record for tackles for loss in a career with 86.5 going into Friday’s FCS semifinal at North Dakota State.
This season he has racked up 55 total tackles, including 19.0 for loss, in 11 games after missing the first two games of the season. He ranks in the top 10 in the nation in tackles for loss and has also turned in six quarterback sacks and forced a fumble.
Hall tied his career high with 11 tackles in the FCS quarterfinal win over Kennesaw State, adding to his mantle that also includes an FCS four blocked kicks this year. That has brought his total to 14 blocked kicks for his career, a Sam Houston record.
The honor adds to a lengthy list for Briscoe who is a top-three finalist for the Walter Payton Award, an honor to be handed out on January 5 prior to the FCS Championship game in Frisco. Briscoe won the honor a year ago and is seeking to become just the second player in FCS history, along with Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards (2008 and 2009) to win the award.
During that 2016 campaign he set an FCS record with 57 touchdown passes and has put up gaudy numbers once again in 2017. The trigger man for the top offense in the FCS, he has thrown for a SHSU single-season record 4,714 yards and with 286 more yards this year would become the first Bearkat in history to put together a 5,000-yard season. He leads the nation in total passing yards and passing yards per game, and his 44 touchdown passes once again leads the nation and will have him finish as the first FCS quarterback since Eastern Washington’s Bo Levi Mitchell to lead the nation in touchdown passes in consecutive seasons.
One of Briscoe’s top targets during this two-year run has been Stewart, a sophomore from Dallas who has already put his name near the top of the list as one of the elite receivers in the FCS. A freshman all-American and second runner-up for the Jerry Rice Award as a freshman in 2016, Stewart has only added on to his numbers in 2017.
He currently leads the nation with 1,568 receiving yards and is tied for sixth in the country with 13 touchdown grabs. One of the top big-play threats in the FCS, he is sixth in the nation with 23.4 yards per reception and has turned in 15 plays of 40 or more yards this year with six of his scores coming from more than 40 yards away.
Stewart is the first Bearkat receiver in history to put together multiple 1,000-yard seasons in a career and is the fastest SHSU player in program history to 2,000 career receiving yards, doing so in just 21 games played.
2017 Associated Press FCS All-America Teams
Quarterback — Chris Streveler, senior, South Dakota.
Running backs — Dominick Bragalone, junior, Lehigh; Josh Mack, sophomore, Maine.
Linemen — Brandon Parker, senior, North Carolina A&T; Austin Kuhnert, senior, North Dakota State; Jacob Ohnesorge, senior, South Dakota State; Aaron Stinnie, senior, James Madison; Justin Lea, senior, Jacksonville State.
Tight end — Dallas Goedert, senior, South Dakota State.
Receivers — Keelan Doss, junior, UC Davis; Davion Davis, junior, Sam Houston State.
All-purpose player — John Santiago, junior, North Dakota.
Kicker — Trey Tuttle, freshman, Weber State.
Linemen — Andrew Ankrah, senior, James Madison; Jonathan Petersen, senior, San Diego; Darius Jackson, senior, Jacksonville State; P.J. Hall, senior, Sam Houston State.
Linebackers — Brett Taylor, senior, Western Illinois; Darius Leonard, senor, South Carolina State; Nick DeLuca, senior, North Dakota State.
Backs — Mike Basile, senior, Monmouth; George Odum, senior, Central Arkansas; Taron Johnson, senior, Weber State; Jordan Brown, senior, James Madison.
Punter — Joe Zema, senior, UIW.
Quarterback — Jeremiah Briscoe, senior, Sam Houston State.
Running backs — Roc Thomas, senior, Jacksonville State; Zane Dudek, freshman, Yale.
Linemen — Stetson Dagel, senior, South Dakota; John Cook, junior, Central Arkansas; Timon Parris, senior, Stony Brook; Ben Huss, senior, Duquesne; Matthew Schmidt, senior, Furman.
Tight end — Andrew Vollert, senior, Weber State.
Receivers — Neil O'Connor, junior, New Hampshire; Jaelon Acklin, senior, Western Illinois.
All-purpose player — Elijah Marks, senior, Northern Arizona.
Kicker — Gunnar Raborn, junior, McNeese.
Linemen — Anthony Ellis, senior, Charleston Southern; Ahmad Gooden, junior, Samford; Jaison Williams, sophomore, Austin Peay; Abdullah Anderson, senior, Bucknell.
Linebackers — Matthew Oplinger, senior, Yale; Jared Farley, senior, Northern Iowa; Brandon Bryant, senior, Lafayette.
Backs — Marlon Bridges, sophomore, Jacksonville State; Phillip Parham, senior, senior, Lafayette; Davontae Harris, senior, Illinois State; Rashad Robinson, junior, James Madison.
Punter — Ian Berryman, junior, Western Carolina.
Quarterback — Chandler Burks, junior, Kennesaw State.
Running backs — De'Lance Turner, senior, Alcorn State; Detrez Newsome, senior, Western Carolina.
Linemen — Skyler Phillips, senior, Idaho State; Zach Mitchler, junior, Kennesaw State; Alex Thompson, senior, Monmouth; Iosua Opeta, junior, Weber State; Ross Demmel, junior, Wofford.
Tight end — Ross Dwelley, senior, San Diego.
Receivers — Nathan Stewart, sophomore, Sam Houston State; Justin Watson, senior, Penn.
All-purpose player — Khris Gardin, senior, North Carolina A&T.
Kicker — Lorran Fonseca, junior, Nicholls.
Linemen — Darin Greenfield, sophomore, South Dakota; Chris Terrell, sophomore, Central Arkansas; Ben Sorensen, senior, Sacramento State; Nick Wheeler, sophomore, Colgate.
Linebackers — Garrett Dolan, senior, Houston Baptist; Thomas Costigan, junior, Bryant; Christian Rozeboom, sophomore, South Dakota State.
Backs — Elijah Campbell, sophomore, Northern Iowa; Franklin McCain III, redshirt freshman, North Carolina A&T; Tremon Smith, senior, Central Arkansas; Davanta Reynolds, junior, North Carolina Central.
Punter — Austin Barnard, senior, Samford