ATLANTA — University of Central Arkansas’ Tyler Hudson and Jacksonville State’s Nicario Harper were voted the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, in the first-ever ASUN Conference Preseason Football honors, announced by the league office on Tuesday.
Hudson, a sophomore wide receiver, was the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and a First Team All-American. He tallied 50 receptions in his sophomore campaign for 845 total yards and seven touchdowns. He was also a First Team All-Conference Special Teams selection last season with two punt return touchdowns. In 2019, the Spring, Texas, native was named the Southland Freshman of the Year.
The Bears led the way with 13 members on the Preseason All-Conference Team followed by the Gamecocks with eight and Eastern Kentucky with six. Sam Houston was favored in the ASUN-WAC Challenge Coaches Poll with all seven first-place votes while UCA and JSU finished in second and third place, respectively. Stephen F. Austin, EKU, Abilene Christian and Lamar rounded out the poll.
UCA’s preseason selections on offense were Hudson, junior wide receiver Lujuan Winningham (Humble, Texas), junior quarterback Breylin Smith (Conway, Ark.), senior tight end Sam Camargo (Kissimmee, Fla.), junior offensive lineman Jaylin Hendrix (Everman, Texas) and senior center Toby Sanderson (Edmond, Okla.).
On the defensive side were sophomore linemen Logan Jessup (Wynne, Ark.) and senior J.W. Jones (Rayville, La.) junior linebacker T.J. Campbell (Southaven, Miss.) and junior defensive backs Cameron Godfrey (Spring, Texas) and DeAndre Lamont (Baytown, Texas).
Specialists selected were junior placekicker Hayden Ray (Bryant, Ark.) and sophomore kick returner Cameron Myers (Plant City, Fla.).
Kickoff for the 2021 season is just over a month away as Jacksonville State opens the season on Sept. 1 against UAB. Central Arkansas (at Arkansas State) and Eastern Kentucky (at Western Carolina) all begin the season on Sept. 4. Two future ASUN Football members, Kennesaw State (vs. Reinhardt; Sept. 2nd) and North Alabama (at Southeastern Louisiana; Sept. 4th) begin their final season in the Big South Conference.
As part of the ASUN-WAC Challenge, UCA will play three ASUN members and four WAC members, all former members of the Southland Conference (Lamar, ACU, Sam Houston State, SFA) in 2021.
For the first time, the ASUN took to social media to poll the fans for the conference preseason superlative awards. A total of 4,373 votes were cast for student-athletes across the league. Eastern Kentucky’s Kyandre Magloire was named the Fan-Voted Preseason Skilled Position Player of the Year with a poll-high 897 votes. EKU’s Parker McKinney (130 votes) and Central Arkansas’ Logan Jessup (239 votes) were named the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. Other winners selected by the fans were Jacksonville State’s Jaylen Swain (317 votes) as Defensive Backfield Player of the Year, UCA’s Jaylin Hendrix (331 votes) as Lineman of the Year and UCA’s Hayden Ray (123 votes) as Special Teams Player of the Year.
ASUN Football Preseason All-Conference Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas
Defensive Player of the Year: Nicario Harper, Jacksonville State
QB | Breylin Smith, Central Arkansas, Sr., Conway, Ark.
RB | Josh Samuel, Jacksonville State, Jr., Greenville, S.C.
TE | Sam Camargo, Central Arkansas, Sr., Kissimmee, Fla.
WR | Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas, Jr., Spring, Texas
WR | Lujuan Winningham, Central Arkansas, Sr., Humble, Texas
WR | Jacquez Jones, Eastern Kentucky, Jr., Clearwater, Fla.
OL | Tylan Grable, Jacksonville State, So., Gordon, Ga.
OL | Jaylin Hendrix, Central Arkansas, Jr., Everman, Texas
OL | Cam Hill, Jacksonville State, Jr., Montgomery, Ala.
OL | Payton Collins, Eastern Kentucky, Fr., Columbus, Ohio
C | Toby Sanderson, Central Arkansas, Sr., Edmond, Okla.
AP | Jyran Mitchell, Eastern Kentucky, So., Matteson, Ill.
DL | DJ Coleman, Jacksonville State, Jr., Atlanta, Ga.
DL | Logan Jessup, Central Arkansas, So., Wynne, Ark.
DL | Quinten Floyd, Eastern Kentucky, Jr., Frankfort, Ky.
DL | JW Jones, Central Arkansas, Sr., Rayville, La.
LB | Matthew Jackson, Eastern Kentucky, Jr., Nashville, Tenn.
LB | Jaylen Swain, Jacksonville State, Fr., Oxford, Ala.
LB | TJ Campbell, Central Arkansas, Jr., Southhaven, Miss.
LB | Marshall Clark, Jacksonville State, So., Munford, Ala.
DB | Nicario Harper, Jacksonville State, So., Atlanta, Ga.
DB | Cameron Godfrey, Central Arkansas, Jr., Spring, Texas
DB | Joseph Sayles, Eastern Kentucky, Jr., Alpharetta, Ga.
DB | DeAndre Lamont, Central Arkansas, Jr., Baytown, Texas
K | Hayden Ray, Central Arkansas, Jr., Bryant, Ark.
P | Jack Dawson, Jacksonville State, Fr., Sylvania Waters, Australia
RS | Cameron Myers, Central Arkansas, So., Plant City, Fla.
2021 ASUN/WAC AQ7 Football Preseason Coaches Poll
1st Place Votes
Stephen F. Austin