CLEVELAND — Ten Georgia Southern players were named to the Sun Belt preseason football team in Phil Steele’s 2015 College Football Preview, which was released Monday, according to gseagles.com.
Junior quarterback Kevin Ellison, junior running back Matt Breida and senior kick returner/wide receiver Derek Keaton were named preseason first-team All-Sun Belt. Senior offensive lineman Roscoe Byrd, senior safety Matt Dobson and junior kick returner/wide receiver Montay Crockett were named to the second team. Senior safety Antonio Glover earned third-team honors, while two defensive linemen — senior Jonathan Battle, Jr. and junior end Bernard Dawson — and senior linebacker Antwione Williams were named to the fourth team.
A second-team All-Sun Belt selection last season, Ellison, twice named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week, registered 1,096 rushing yards to go along with 1,001 passing yards.
A Doak Walker Award semifinalist, Breida led both the nation and Sun Belt in rushing yards per carry at 8.7 and ranked at the top of the Sun Belt rushing chart with 123.8 yards per game. He had more rushing touchdowns of 50 or more yards — seven — than anyone in the nation and had the second-highest rushing touchdowns in the league with 17. He finished with
1,485 rushing yards en route to earning first-team All-Sun Belt accolades.
Keaton was named to the team as a kick returner after averaging 27.81 yards per return in 2014. Byrd, a transfer from Alabama-Birmingham, started all
12 games at guard in the 2014 season. The Blazers had the No. 37 rushing offense in the nation at nearly 200 yards per game, and the offensive line was key in UAB’s more than 2,000 total passing yards in 2014.
Dobson had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, one of two pick-sixes on the year, to set a Sun Belt Conference mark for longest return and tie the mark for the longest play in Georgia Southern history. He finished with
62 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups to earn second-team All-Sun Belt honors.
Crockett was named to the second team as a kick returner after averaging
24.17 yards on 12 returns. Glover was fourth on the team with 61 tackles, including 42 solo stops, to go along with an interception, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups. An All-Sun Belt honorable mention selection in 2014, Williams had 66 tackles, the second–most on the team, and a team-best eight tackles for loss. Battle Jr. logged three tackles for loss and two sacks and finished the campaign with
16 tackles. Dawson tallied
35 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks and broke up two passes.