Southland Football Produces 13 All-Americans

first_imgPJ Burkhalter, Nicholls – Jr. – Offensive Lineman (HERO-2nd, AP-1st, STATS-1st, WC-1st)The Southland Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year, Burkhalter was the starting center and left guard for Nicholls, who led the Southland in rushing offense (197.1) and tackles for loss allowed (5.21) per game. Chris Livings, McNeese – Sr. – Defensive Lineman (STATS-3rd)The Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Livings tallied 9.5 sacks, which ranked third in the conference. He had a team-high 12 tackles for loss and posted at least half a sack in each of the final five games. FRISCO, Texas – Thirteen Southland Conference football student-athletes received all-America recognition, announced by various outlets throughout the week. Pat Allen, Southeastern Louisiana – Sr. – Offensive Lineman (AFCA-2nd)The highest-graded offensive lineman for the Lions, Allen started all 13 games at left tackle. SLU ranked second nationally in passing offense (354.4) and total offense (484.8) and allowed the fewest sacks in the conference (1.77). Storm Ruiz, Stephen F. Austin – Sr. – Placekicker (STATS-3rd)A two-time Southland Special Teams Player of the Week, Ruiz made 21 field goals, which tied for the fourth most in a season in conference history. He connected on six field goals of 40+ yards and two over 50 yards. Jeremiah Chambers, Abilene Christian – Sr. – Linebacker (HERO-3rd, STATS-2nd)Chambers racked up 102 total tackles, including 63 solo stops, in his senior season. He ranked sixth nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.7) and ninth in solo tackles per game (5.8). The FCS all-America teams are chosen by HERO Sports, Associate Press (AP), the FCS Athletic Directors Association, STATS, the American Football Coaches Assocation (AFCA) and Walter Camp (WC). Sully Laiche, Nicholls – Sr. – Defensive Lineman (HERO-1st, AP-1st, STATS-1st, AFCA-1st, WC-1st)The first defensive player to be named Southland Conference Player of the Year since 2007, Laiche compiled 63 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles. He recorded at least one tackle for loss in each of his 11 starts and at least one sack in nine contests. Laiche finished the regular season as the FCS leader in tackles for loss per game (2.1) and ranked fifth in sacks per game (1.1). With 37.5 career sacks, Laiche concluded his career half a sack shy of tying the Southland Conference record and tied for fifth in FCS history. Matt McRobert, Sam Houston State – Jr. – Punter (AP-2nd, STATS-2nd)McRobert led the Southland and ranked sixth among FCS punters with 44.3 yards per punt. He had 20 punts of 50+ yards, which paced the league, and booted five punts for 60+ yards. He placed 29 punts inside the 20-yard line.center_img Ferlando Jordan, Southeastern Louisiana – So. – Defensive Back (HERO-3rd, AP-3rd, STATS-3rd)The league leader in interceptions (5), Jordan recorded three pick-sixes and shared the team lead with eight pass breakups. He ranked 14th among FCS defenders in passes defended per game (1.3). Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas – Jr. – Defensive Back (STATS-3rd, AFCA-1st)The Southland leader in interceptions (5), Rochell also ranked third in the conference with 13 pass breakups and ranked ninth nationally with 1.4 passes defended per game. Allen Pittman, Nicholls – Sr. – Linebacker (HERO-3rd)Pittman ranked 10th in the Southland with eight tackles per game, totaling 80 in 10 contests. He recorded a season-high 11 tackles twice against Kansas State and Sam Houston State. Quan Shorts, Northwestern State – Sr. – Wide Receiver (STATS—3rd)Shorts is one of three wideouts in league history to reach 100 receptions in a season, finishing right at the century mark despite battling turf toe over the final three weeks. He ranked fourth in FCS in receptions per game (8.3). Gamar Girdy Brito, Houston Baptist – Sr. – Kick Returner (HERO-3rd, STATS-2nd)Girdy Brito ranked second in FCS with a 28.2 kickoff return average and was one of only five players to return two for touchdowns. He was the National Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 35.6 yards against South Dakota. The league’s Player of the Year and Nicholls defensive lineman Sully Laiche is a consensus first-team All-American after earning top honors from five organizations. The Colonels led the way with three honorees, followed by Southeastern Louisiana and Houston Baptist each with two. Andre Walker, Houston Baptist – Sr. – Defensive Lineman (HERO-2nd, AFCA-1st)The FCS leader in sacks per game (1.25), Walker tied for the fourth-most sacks in a season in Southland history with 15. He finished the year with 55 tackles, a pair of forced fumbles and three pass breakups.last_img read more