Several Red Wolves honored with Sun Belt postseason awards
football Edit

Several Red Wolves honored with Sun Belt postseason awards

The 2019 regular season closed with the Sun Belt Conference football postseason honors unveiled on Wednesday.

Arkansas State and Appalachian State each received two of the top individual honors as the Red Wolves had redshirt senior Omar Bayless named Player of the Year and redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher named Freshman of the Year, while the Mountaineers had junior running back Darrynton Evans named Offensive Player of the Year and senior linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither named Defensive Player of the Year. Troy junior wide receiver Kaylon Geiger was voted Newcomer of the Year and Louisiana head coach Billy Napier was selected Coach of the Year.

Bayless, Evans, Davis-Gaither and Geiger also received All-Sun Belt recognition on the first team.

Omar Bayless is your Sun Belt Player of the Year
Omar Bayless is your Sun Belt Player of the Year (Travis Clayton)

Bayless leads the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in receiving yards (1,473) and ranks second in receiving yards per game (122.8) and receiving touchdowns (16), tied for 12th in receptions per game (7.0) and tied for 15th in total touchdowns (16). His numbers this season have already broken school and conference single-season records for receiving yards and touchdowns and his receiving yards per game average is on track to set school and conference records as well. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist has posted six 100-yard performances in his final season with the Red Wolves.

Evans posted his second-straight 1,000-yard season on the ground in helping the Mountaineers to a historic season. He leads the Sun Belt and ranks sixth nationally in total touchdowns with 20 (16 rushing, three receiving and one kickoff return). Evans is the first player this millennium with 200+ rushing yards (239), three rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown in the same game (Charlotte on Sept. 7). He put up 150 or more all-purpose yards in five Appalachian State wins (Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, ULM, South Carolina and Texas State).

Davis-Gaither has been one of the most disruptive defenders all season for the Mountaineers with 85 tackles (39 solo), 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one interception, one block, six pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. He came up big in games, including 10 tackles, an interception and a blocked field goal as time expired in the win at North Carolina, 2.5 tackles for loss in the win at South Carolina and 11 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in the win at Louisiana to earn Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Layne Hatcher is your Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Layne Hatcher is your Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (Justin Manning)

Hatcher started every conference game and ranked first in passing efficiency (174.8), second in passing yards per game (312.5) and third in average total offense (313.8) in conference-only contests. He has multiple touchdowns passes in every game as a starter and 23 total so far this season, which ranks third in the Sun Belt. Hatcher has passed for 300 or more yards three times and three or more touchdowns four times.

Geiger closed out his first season with the Trojans ranked second in the Sun Belt in receptions (77), receiving yards (873) and receiving yards per game (72.8). His five touchdown catches rank tied for fifth in the conference. Geiger went for 100 yards or more in five games and caught a touchdown in five games as well.

Napier has guided Louisiana to a monumental season, leading the Ragin' Cajuns to their first 10-win season in school history, second-straight West Division title and return trip to the Sun Belt Football Championship Game. His squad went 7-1 in Sun Belt play, the most conference wins in school history. Napier's Cajuns roll into the title game among the FBS leaders on both sides of the ball – eighth in total offense (500.3), 12th in scoring offense (38.8) and 11th scoring defense (17.8).

Appalachian State led in All-Sun Belt selections with 21, including six on the first team (three on offense, three on defense), followed by Arkansas State and Louisiana with 16 each. With two on offense, two on defense and two on special teams, the Red Wolves tied Appalachian State for the most honorees on the first team.

All-Sun Belt First Team  


Kaleb Barker, Troy (Sr., QB, Decatur, Ala.)

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (Jr., RB, Oak Hill, Fla.)

Tra Barnett, Georgia State (Sr., RB, Elberton, Ga.)

Omar Bayless, Arkansas State (RSr., WR, Laurel, Miss.)

Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State (Sr., WR, Destrehan, La.)

Kaylon Geiger, Troy (Jr., WR, Fort Worth, Texas)

Josh Pederson, ULM (Jr., TE, Morristown, N.J.)

Noah Hannon, Appalachian State (Jr., OL, Greer, S.C.)

Victor Johnson, Appalachian State (Sr., OL, North Augusta, S.C.)

Hunter Atkinson, Georgia State (Sr., OL, Flowery Branch, Ga.)

Kevin Dotson, Louisiana (Sr., OL, Plaquemine, La.)

Robert Hunt, Louisiana (Sr., OL, Burkeville, Texas)


Demetrius Taylor, Appalachian State (Jr., DL, Miami, Fla.)

William Bradley-King, Arkansas State (Jr., DL, Kansas City, Mo.)

Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Jr., DL, Aiken, S.C.)

Raymond Johnson III, Georgia Southern (Jr., DL, Sumter, S.C.)

Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State (Sr., LB, Thomasville, N.C.)

Bryan London II, Texas State (Sr., LB, Converse, Texas)

Carlton Martial, Troy (So., LB, Mobile, Ala.)

Shaun Jolly, Appalachian State (So., DB, Stone Mountain, Ga.)

Darreon Jackson, Arkansas State (Sr., DB, Derby, Kan.)

Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern (Sr., DB, College Park, Ga.)

Corey Straughter, ULM (Jr., DB, Monroe, La.)

Will Sunderland, Troy (Sr., DB, Midwest City, Okla.)

Special Teams

Blake Grupe, Arkansas State (So., PK, Sedalia, Mo.)

Cody Grace, Arkansas State (Sr., P, Perth, Western Australia)

Raymond Calais, Louisiana (Sr., RS, Breaux Bridge, La.)

Tra Minter, South Alabama (Sr., AP, Ellaville, Ga.)

All-Sun Belt Second Team  


Dan Ellington, Georgia State (Sr., QB, Olive Branch, Miss.)

Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Jr., RB, Erath, La.)

Josh Johnson, ULM (Jr., RB, Opelika, Ala.)

Thomas Hennigan, Appalachian State (Jr., WR, Greensboro, N.C.)

Corey Sutton, Appalachian State (Jr., WR, Cornelius, N.C.)

Ja'Marcus Bradley, Louisiana (Sr., WR, Ackerman, Miss.)

Aubry Payne, Georgia State (Jr., TE, Locust Grove, Ga.)

Cooper Hodges, Appalachian State (Fr., OL, Glen St. Mary, Fla.)

Baer Hunter, Appalachian State (Jr., OL, Clemmons, N.C.)

Bobby Reynolds, ULM (Sr., OL, Keller, Texas)

Aaron Brewer, Texas State (Sr., OT, Dallas, Texas)

J.l. Gaston, Troy (Sr., OL, Monroeville, Ala.)


Kevin Thurmon, Arkansas State (Sr., DL, Chicago, Ill.)

Zi'Yon Hill, Louisiana (So., DL, New Iberia, La.)

Jeffery Whatley, South Alabama (Sr., DL, Midland City, Ala.)

Will Choloh, Troy (So., DL, Lawrenceville, Ga.)

Jordan Fehr, Appalachian State (Sr., LB, Charlotte, N.C.)

Rashad Byrd, Georgia Southern (Jr., LB, North Augusta, S.C.)

Joe Dillon, Louisiana (Jr., LB, Tylertown, Miss.)

Cortez Sisco, ULM (Sr., LB, Memphis, Tenn.)

Josh Thomas, Appalachian State (Sr., DB, Montgomery, Ala.)

B.J. Edmonds, Arkansas State (Sr., DB, Mobile, Ala.)

Chandler Kryst, Coastal Carolina (Sr., DB, Tega Cay, S.C.)

Michael Jacquet III, Louisiana (Sr., DB, Beaumont, Texas)

Special Teams

Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern (Sr., PK, Irmo, S.C.)

Rhys Byrns, Louisiana (So., P, Melbourne, Australia)

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (Jr., AP, Oak Hill, Fla.)

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (Jr., RS, Oak Hill, Fla.)

All-Sun Belt Third Team  


Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (RJr., QB, Trussville, Ala.)

Raymond Calais, Louisiana (Sr., RB, Breaux Bridge, La.)

Trey Ragas, Louisiana (Jr., RB, New Orleans, La.)

Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State (Jr., WR, Jonesboro, Ark.)

Cornelius McCoy, Georgia State (So., WR, Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

Reggie Todd, Troy (Jr., WR, Mobile, Ala.)

Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina (So., TE, Maiden, Mass.)

Jarrett Horst, Arkansas State (So., OL, Middleton, Wis.)

Jacob Still, Arkansas State (Jr., OL, Collierville, Tenn.)

Trey Carter, Coastal Carolina (Jr., OL, Monroeville, Ala.)

Shamarious Gilmore, Georgia State (Jr., OL, Riverdale, Ga.)

Kirk Kelley, Troy (Sr., OL, Marrero, La.)


E.J. Scott, Appalachian State (Sr., DL, Farmville, N.C.)

C.J. Brewer, Coastal Carolina (Jr., DL, Bowdon, Ga.)

Sterling Johnson, Coastal Carolina (Sr., DL, Clayton, N.C.)

Donald Louis, ULM (Sr., DL, Monroe, La.)

Marcus Webb, Troy (Sr., DL, Decatur, Ala.)

Tajhea Chambers, Arkansas State (Jr., LB, Gordon, Ga.)

Teddy Gallagher, Coastal Carolina (Jr., LB, Los Angeles, Calif.)

Nikolas Daniels, Texas State (Sr., LB, League City, Texas)

Desmond Franklin, Appalachian State (Sr., DB, Inverness, Fla.)

Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern (Sr., DB, Atlanta, Ga.)

Kenderick Duncan Jr., Georgia Southern (So., DB, Stockbridge, Ga.)

Travis Reed, South Alabama (Sr., DB, Meridian, Miss.)

Special Teams

Stevie Artigue, Louisiana (Sr., PK, Lafayette, La.)

Tyler Sumpter, Troy (Jr., P, Hoover, Ala.)

Reggie Todd, Troy (Jr., RS, Mobile, Ala.)

Raymond Calais, Louisiana (Sr., AP, Breaux Bridge, La.)

All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention  

Noel Cook, Appalachian State (Sr., LB, Reidsville, N.C.)

Ryan Neuzil, Appalachian State (Jr., OL, Bradenton, Fla.)

Marcus Williams Jr., Appalachian State (Jr., RB, Rocky Mount, N.C.)

Malik Williams, Appalachian State (Jr., WR, Chester, S.C.)

Caleb Bonner, Arkansas State (Jr., LB, Reform, Ala.)

Andre Harris Jr., Arkansas State (So., OL, Oklahoma City, Okla.)

Marcel Murray, Arkansas State (So., RB, Hiram, Ga.)

Ivory Scott, Arkansas State (Jr., OL, Kenner, La.)

Shadell Bell, Coastal Carolina (RSr., TE, Decatur, Ga.)

Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Carolina (So., WR, Venice, Fla.)

Ethan Howard, Coastal Carolina (RSr., OL, Brookwood, Ala.)

CJ Marable, Coastal Carolina (Jr., RB, Decatur, Ga.)

Shai Werts, Georgia Southern (RJr., QB, Clinton, S.C.)

Wesley Kennedy III, Georgia Southern (Jr., RB, Savannah, Ga.)

J.D. King, Georgia Southern (Jr., RB, Fitzgerald, Ga.)

Reynard Ellis, Georgia Southern (RSo., LB, Birmingham, Ala.)

Roger Carter, Georgia State (Jr., TE, Columbia, S.C.)

Malik Sumter, Georgia State (RSo., C, Irmo, S.C.)

Hardrick Willis, Georgia State (RSo., DE, Jonesboro, Ga.)

Dontae Wilson, Georgia State (Jr., NG, Jefferson, Ga.)

Jacques Boudreaux, Louisiana (Sr., LB, New Orleans, La.)

Jarrod Jackson, Louisiana (RSr., WR, Reserve, La.)

Chauncey Manac, Louisiana (RJr., LB, Homerville, Ga.)

Nick Ralston, Louisiana (Gr., TE, Argyle, Texas)

Caleb Evans, ULM (Sr., QB, Mansfield, Texas)

Markis McCray, ULM (RSr., WR, Euless, Texas)

Larance Shaw, ULM (Sr., DL, Fort Worth, Texas)

Eastwood Thomas, ULM (RSr., OL, Jackson, Ala.)

Kawaan Baker, South Alabama (Jr., WR, Atlanta, Ga.)

Sean Brown, South Alabama (Sr., DL, Pleasant Grove, Ala.)

Riley Cole, South Alabama (Jr., LB, Oneonta, Ala.)

Jacob Shoemaker, South Alabama (Jr., OL, Gulfport, Miss.)

Jarron Morris, Texas State (So., CB, Orange, Texas)

Caeveon Patton, Texas State (Jr., DT, Cuero, Texas)

Hutch White, Texas State (Sr., WR, Kerrville, Texas)

Khambrail Winters, Texas State (Fr., CB, Houston, Texas)

Dylan Bradshaw, Troy (Jr., OL, Enterprise, Ala.)

Khalil McClain, Troy (Jr., WR, Fairburn, Ga.)

Dell Pettus, Troy (Fr., DB, Harvest, Ala.)

Austin Stidham, Troy (RSo., OL, Russellville, Ala.)

Player of the Year  

Omar Bayless, Arkansas State (RSr., WR, Laurel, Miss.)

Offensive Player of the Year  

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (Jr., RB, Oak Hill, Fla.)

Defensive Player of the Year  

Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State (Sr., LB, Thomasville, N.C.)

Freshman of the Year  

Layne Hatcher, Arkansas State (RFr., QB, Little Rock, Ark.)

Newcomer of the Year  

Kaylon Geiger, Troy (Jr., WR, Fort Worth, Texas)

Coach of the Year  

Billy Napier, Louisiana