Selecting student athletes to join their coaches for the annual preseason media conference has become a charming tradition. The players get a cool field trip and some exposure, and the media gets to toss a few softball questions to the conference’s best talent. Everybody wins, including us, the fans. Unless your favorite team is toting along a kicker. Then you begin to worry.
This year’s Sun Belt Media Day, held July 24th at the Superdome in New Orleans, will feature some of the conference’s most intriguing playmakers. Who are they? Glad you asked, yo.
A.J. Howard (DB, Sr.)
Howard was an All Sun Belt Honorable Mention in 2016, gobbling up 3 INTs – including a Pick 6
Taylor Lamb (QB, Sr.)
Lamb was also an All Sun Belt Honorable Mention in 2016, tossing 15 TD passes last year while ranking 4th in the conference for completions (60.6%).
Justice Hansen (QB, Jr.)
The conferences top rated QB last year (138.9), Hansen tossed 19 TDs for 2719 yards in 2016.
Blaise Taylor (DB, Sr.)
Also a gifted special teamer (2nd Team All Sun Belt in 2016), Taylor will provide senior leadership for the Red Wolves backfield in 2017.
Osharmar Abercrombie (RB, Sr.)
At 5’9″, 205 lbs, Abercrombie averaged 5.4 yards and rumbled in for four scores in limited action last year.
Shane Johnson (LB, Sr.)
A Athlon Sports preseason All Sun Belt 4th teamer, the 6’1″ 240 Johnson will be a conference stud in 2017.
Chris DeLaRosa (LB, Sr.)
A seasoned senior with 91 career total tackes, DeLaRosa 33 total tackles and a personal best 1.5 sacks in 2016.
Wesley Fields (RB, Jr.)
Assuming the mantle from the great Matt Brieda, Fields should build significantly on a 6 total TD, 787 total yard season in 2016
Connor Manning (QB, Sr.)
Showing promise with 2,600 yards and 16 TDs last season, Manning is ready to ascend to the top echelon of Sun Belt signal callers in 2017.
Chandon Sullivan (DB, Sr.)
An All Sun Belt Honorable Mention in 2016, Sullivan provides senior leadership to a potent Panther backfield.
Aikeem Coleman (DE, Sr.)
The Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year in 2016, Coleman emerged from East Mississippi CC to record 8 sacks last season.
Matt Linehan (QB, Sr.)
Perhaps the most draft-able QB in the Sun Belt, Linehan was named to Athlon Sport’s preseason All Sun Belt 2nd Team.
Grant Horst (OL, Sr.)
The 6’5″, 290lb slab of granite will be easy to spot at the Superdome.
Tracy Walker (DB, Sr.)
An Athlon Sports preseason All Sun Belt 4th Teamer, Walker has six career INTs and will be the leader of the Cajun defense.
Frank Sutton (OL, Sr.)
A 2016 All Sun Belt Honorable Mention and an Athlon Sports preseason All Sun Belt 2nd Teamer, the 6’3″, 302lb Sutton will be the anchor of the Warhawk offensive line.
Caleb Tucker (DE, Sr.)
A transfer from Houston and 4th Team All Sun Belt preseason selection from Athlon Sports, Tucker will see plenty of action in 2017.
New Mexico State
Larry Rose III (RB, Sr.)
Arguably the most talented RB in the Sun Belt, Rose III will bounce back from a shortened 2016 to add to his 3,618 career rushing yards and 30 career total TDs.
Jaden Wright (DB, Sr.)
Wright has 179 career total tackles and 8 career INTs for the Aggies, earning him second team preseason honors from Athlon Sports in 2017.
Dallas Davis (QB, Jr.)
Davis emerged as a big time threat in 2016, collecting 2,706 yards and 11 TDs with registering the conference’s 5th best QB rating (125.8).
Jeremy Reaves (DB, Sr.)
An All Sun Belt 1st Team selection in 2016, Reaves tallied 84 combined tackles and 3 INTs last season.
Bryan London (LB, So.)
Selected to Athlon Sports Sports preseason Sun Belt First Team as a sophomore, the young linebacker is destined to become a star for the Bobcats.
Tryston Mizerak (OL, Jr.)
One of three offensive lineman to get the New Orleans invite, the 6’6″ Mizerak is a former ESPN 3-star recruit.
Jordan Chunn (RB, Sr.)
The Troy offense is loaded with weapons, but none more dangerous than the bruising Chunn, who posted the 2nd most rushing yards in the Belt last season (1,288).
Brandon Silvers (QB, Sr.)
Backed by a host of excellent offensive weapons, Silvers earned Sun Belt First Team honors in 2016 and is expected to produce more of the same this season.
Star Power Top 5 (Don’t @ Me)
- Larry Rose II
- Brandon Silvers
- Matt Linehan
- Jordan Chunn
- Justice Hansen