From SFA Athletics
FRISCO, TX (Press Release)- Stephen F. Austin senior offensive lineman Byron Williams and sophomore defensive end John Franklin headline the Lumberjacks’ 2015 All-Southland Conference selections. Both players earned second team honors and are among six SFA players earning all-conference honors.
Four other Lumberjacks were named honorable mention selections, including junior quarterback Zach Conque, junior defensive end Kedrick Harrison, senior linebacker Justin Owens and junior defensive back Patrick Martin.
Williams closes out his SFA career with his second all-conference recognition, earning first team honors in 2014. A mainstay on the Lumberjack offensive line for the past four seasons, Williams played in 47 games with 44 starts at left guard. A preseason STATS FCS third team All-American, the Dickinson native helped pave the way for a number of record-breaking performances during his four years at SFA, anchoring one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country in 2015.
Franklin picks up the first all-conference honor of his career after having a breakthrough sophomore season. The Greenville native led the Lumberjacks in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (6.0), ranking fifth in the conference in sacks and 10th in tackles for loss. Franklin was named the HERO Sports FCS Defensive Player of the Week on October 19th after recording three sacks and four tackles for loss in the win over 21st-ranked Southeastern Louisiana and closed out the year with a career-best 32 tackles.
Conque was named an honorable mention selection for the second-straight season after racking up nearly 2,500 yards of total offense. The Little Rock native threw for 1,933 yards and rushed for 554, accounting for 27 touchdowns on the season – the most of any player in the Southland. Conque is one of just four quarterbacks at the Division I level (FBS and FCS) to both throw and rush for at least 24 touchdowns in the last two seasons and ranks among the SFA career top-10 in five different statistical categories.
Harrison picks up the first all-conference recognition of his career after tallying 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks on the year. Harrison’s four sacks were tied for 10th in the conference as he and Franklin teamed up to provide a strong force on the outsides of the Lumberjack defensive line. The Coldspring native also had a forced fumble and a pair of pass breakups, sitting at 23 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks for his SFA career.
Owens also earned his first all-conference honor after leading the Lumberjacks with 100 tackles in 2015. He was one of just four conference players to record at least 100 tackles on the season, registering five games of double-digit tackle totals. The Brea, California, native also lead the SFA defensive unit with 44 solo stops, registering four tackles for loss and a pair of pass breakups starting all 11 games in 2015.
Martin earned his second-straight honorable mention recognition after tying for second on the team with 52 total tackles. Martin was second on the team with 37 solo tackles and was among the SLC leaders with three forced fumbles on the year, including two in the win over Nicholls. The Spring native had four pass breakups and an interception on the year, anchoring the Lumberjack defensive backfield.
Lamar’s Kade Harrington was named the SLC’s Player of the Year after leading the nation in rushing yards in 2015. McNeese State’s Matt Viator was tabbed the SLC’s Coach of the Year after leading the Cowboys to an undefeated regular season.
Each coach nominates players from his own team as the all-conference teams are selected by a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors, who cannot vote for their own players.
2015 Southland Conference Individual Superlative Winners
Player of the Year: Kade Harrington – Lamar
Offensive Player of the Year: Jared Johnson – Sam Houston State
Defensive Player of the Year: Wallace Scott – McNeese State
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Donald Jackson III – Sam Houston State
Freshman of the Year: Jabari Butler – Abilene Christian
Newcomer of the Year: Myke Tavarres – Incarnate Word
Coach of the Year: Matt Viator – McNeese State