December 13, 2017

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Nunez Named Southland’s Top Newcomer; 10 Lions Earn All-Conference Honors

HAMMOND, La. – After helping the Southeastern Louisiana football team finish with its fourth winning season in the past six years, 10 Lions were among the student-athletes recognized on the 2017 All-Southland Conference Football Teams, which were announced by the league office on Tuesday.

 

Sophomore quarterback Lorenzo Nunez became the first SLU player to earn Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year honors since Southeastern became an official football-playing member of the league prior to the 2005 season. Also highlighting the Lion contingent was a trio of first team all-conference selections in senior linebacker Sione Teuhema, senior defensive back Max Lyons and junior offensive lineman Maea Teuhema.

 

Lyons was also named to the second team at punt returner, while Southeastern sophomore kick returner Juwan Petit-Frere also earned second team honors. Junior offensive lineman Jermaine Jones, freshman running back Marcus Cooper, senior defensive back Mayori Ellison, senior linebacker Jake Jiannoni and senior placekicker Dillon Burkhard all represented the Lions as honorable mention selections.

 

Nunez was a dynamic playmaker for Southeastern in his first season as a Lion after transferring from South Carolina prior to spring practice. The Kennesaw, Georgia native battled injuries all season and still accounted for 1,464 yards and 16 touchdowns.

 

With Nunez at the helm of the Lion offense, SLU finished the regular season ranked third nationally in rushing offense (283.1 ypg) and 18th in the FCS in scoring offense (34.8 ppg). Nunez, who is ninth nationally with 14.7 yards per completion, helped Southeastern post per-game averages of 459.9 total yards, 302.3 rushing yards and 39.3 points in the nine games he started.

 

Nunez is the second quarterback in program history to be honored by the Southland. Former Lion signal caller Bryan Bennett was twice named first team All-Southland, earning Player of the Year honors in 2013 and Offensive Player of the Year accolades in 2014.

 

The Lion offensive attack was buoyed by a dominant offensive line and one of the standouts of the group was Maea Teuhema, who transferred to Southeastern from LSU at the beginning of fall camp. The Keller, Texas native stepped right in and started at left tackle, as he and fellow All-Southland performer Jones, who started at left guard after receiving a medical redshirt in 2016, provided SLU with a dominant left side of the offensive line.

 

Maea Teuhema is the latest SLU offensive lineman to earn first team All-Southland Conference honors. He joins former Lions Donald Usry (2006), Marshall Paris (2013), Gasten Gabriel (2013), Jonathan Braddock (2014) and Taylor Gadbois (2016).

 

Maea Teuhema wasn’t the only member of his family on the first team, as Sione Teuhema received what likely will be the first of many postseason accolades. After earning second team All-Southland honors in an injury-riddled 2016, Teuhema, a Buck Buchanan Award and Butkus Award candidate, showed what he was capable of at full speed.

 

The Keller, Texas product finished the season with 80 tackles, nine sacks and 19.0 tackles for loss. His tackle for loss total tied a single-season school record and currently ranks him sixth in the FCS.

 

Sione Teuhema wasn’t the only Lion linebacker to be rewarded after shaking off an injury-marred junior campaign, as Jiannoni was a major part of the SLU defensive effort in 2017. The Palm Springs, California native started every game at middle linebacker, finishing his senior campaign with 70 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.

 

Sione Teuhema is the fourth linebacker in school history to earn first team All-Southland honors. He joins Mark Newbill (2009), Cqulin Hubert (2013) and Isiah Corbett (2014).

 

Like Sione Teuhema, Lyons was a repeat All-Southland selection after earning honorable mention accolades a season ago. The ball-hawking safety from Los Angeles, California finished the regular season third in the Southland with 100 tackles to go with his three interceptions, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

 

Lyons is the first player since Newbill in 2010 to reach 100 tackles in a season. He and Ellison were the standouts in a senior-laden Southeastern secondary. After earning one of the starting cornerback jobs, Ellison, a native of Hayward, California, led the Lions and was among the league leaders with four interceptions and nine pass breakups.

 

Lyons joins a prestigious group of Southeastern first team All-Southland defensive backs. He adds his name to a list that includes Southeastern Athletics Hall of Famer Tommy Connors (2008, 2010), Re’Keem Wilson (2009), current Atlanta Falcon Robert Alford (2012) and current Arizona Cardinal Harlan Miller (2013, 2014, 2015).

 

Lyons, who was also named second team punt returner on the all-conference team, added himself to another list. He joins Miller (2015) and Xavier Roberson (2013, 2014) as the only players to earn multiple spots on the All-Southland team in the same season. Lyons averaged 8.2 yards per punt return and was named Southland Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown in the opener at UL Lafayette.

 

Lyons was one of three members of the Southeastern special team units to receive all-conference recognition. Petit-Frere earned second team notice after leading the nation with a 34.6 kickoff return average. The Orlando, Florida native also had two touchdowns and sat atop the FCS national rankings in kickoff return average from the opening week of the season to present day.

 

In the history of the Southland Conference, only Roberson’s 2013 kickoff return average of 35.2 narrowly eclipsed the nation’s best average of Petit-Frere in his debut season in Hammond. That season, Roberson was not only named first team All-Southland, but was a consensus All-American.

 

Rounding out the Southeastern All-Southland contingent was Burkhard, who earned the starting placekicker spot prior to the season. The Dodge City, Kansas native was 9-for-13 on field goals with all of his misses coming from beyond 42 yards. He was also a perfect 50-for-50 on PAT and finished fourth in the Southland in scoring among kickers with 77 points.

 

League champion Central Arkansas racked up the individual awards, as the Bears saw head coach Steve Campbell (Coach of the Year), senior quarterback Hayden Hildebrand (Player of the Year), senior defensive back George Odum (Defensive Player of the Year), freshman running back Kierre Crossley (Freshman of the Year) and junior offensive lineman John Austin Cook (Offensive Lineman of the Year) recognized among the league’s best.

 

Nunez and Sam Houston State junior wide receiver Davion Davis (Offensive Player of the Year) helped prevent a UCA clean sweep of the individual honors. The league’s head coaches and sports information directors selected the All-Southland Conference teams. Coaches and SID’s were not allowed to vote for their institution’s student-athletes.

 

The 2018 Lions will open next season with a Sept. 1 contest at FBS opponent ULM.

 

2017 All-Southland Conference Football Teams

 

Individual Superlative Winners

Coach of the Year: Steve Campbell, Central Arkansas

Player of the Year: Hayden Hildebrand, QB, Central Arkansas

Offensive Player of the Year: Davion Davis, WR, Sam Houston State

Defensive Player of the Year: George Odum, DB, Central Arkansas

Freshman of the Year: Kierre Crossley, RB, Central Arkansas

Newcomer of the Year: Lorenzo Nunez, QB, Southeastern Louisiana

Offensive Lineman of the Year: John Cook, Central Arkansas

 

First Team Offense

Pos. – Name – School – Class – Hometown

QB – Hayden Hildebrand – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Bossier City, La.

RB – Corey Avery – Sam Houston State – Sr. – Dallas, Texas

RB – David Hamm – McNeese – Jr. – Klein, Texas

TE/HB – Lawayne Ross – McNeese – So. – Richwood, Texas

WR – Davion Davis – Sam Houston State – Jr. – Hutto, Texas

WR – Nathan Stewart – Sam Houston State – So. – Dallas, Texas

WR – Brandon Cox – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Conway, Ark.

OL – Maea Teuhema – Southeastern Louisiana – Jr. – Keller, Texas

OL – John Cook – Central Arkansas – Jr. – Grenada, Miss.

OL – Gilberto Garcia – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Morrilton, Ark.

OL – Mitchell Watanabe – Sam Houston State – Jr. – San Antonio, Texas

OL – Cade Camp – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Allen, Texas

AP – Davion Davis – Sam Houston State – Jr. – Hutto, Texas

PK – Gunner Raborn – McNeese – Jr. – Lafayette, La.

P – Joe Zema – UIW – Gr. – Melbourne, Australia

 

First Team Defense

Pos. – Name – School – Class — Hometown

DL – P.J. Hall – Sam Houston State – Sr. – Seguin, Texas

DL – Chris Chambers – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Pearl, Miss.

DL – Chris Terrell – Central Arkansas – So. – Pensacola, Fla.

DL – Eric Jackson – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Apopka, Fla.

LB – Sione Teuhema – Southeastern Louisiana – Sr. – Keller, Texas

LB – Garrett Dolan – Houston Baptist – Sr. – Mont Belvieu, Texas

LB – Justin Johnson – Sam Houston State – Sr. – Converse, Texas

DB – Max Lyons – Southeastern Louisiana – Sr. – Los Angeles, Calif.

DB – Tremon Smith – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Anniston, Ala.

DB – George Odum – Central Arkansas – Sr. – Millington, Tenn.

DB – Dominique Hill – McNeese – Sr. – Mansfield, La.

DB – Raphael Lewis – Houston Baptist – Jr. – Elk Grove, Calif.

KR – Desmond Hite – UIW – So. – Cypress, Texas

PR – Davion Davis – Sam Houston State – Jr. – Hutto, Texas

 

Second Team Offense

Pos. – Name – School – Class – Hometown

QB – Jeremiah Briscoe – Sam Houston State – Sr. – Houston, Texas

RB – Carlos Blackman – Central Arkansas – So. – Gosnell, Ark.

RB – Kyran Irvin – Nicholls – So. – Darrow, La.

TE/HB – Ragan Henderson – Sam Houston State – Sr. – Rice, Texas

WR – Yedidiah Louis – Sam Houston State – Sr. – New Orleans, La.

WR – Damion Jeanpiere – Nicholls – Jr. – Kenner, La.

WR – Tamrick Pace – Stephen F. Austin – So. – Brownsboro, Texas

OL – Ryan Hanley – Nicholls – Jr. – Metairie, La.

OL – Chris Zirkle – Northwestern State – Jr. – League City, Texas

OL – Chandler Arceneaux – Nicholls – Jr. – Bourg, La.

OL – Andy Dodd – McNeese – Gr. – Lindale, Ga.

OL – Eric David – Sam Houston State – So. – Richmond, Texas

AP – Desmond Hite – UIW – So. – Cypress, Texas

PK – Lorran Fonseca – Nicholls – Jr. – Hercules, Calif.

P – Christian Guzman – Houston Baptist – Sr. – Brookshire, Texas

 

Second Team Defense

Pos. – Name – School – Class – Hometown

DL – Sully Laiche – Nicholls – So. – Gramercy, La.

DL – John Franklin – Stephen F. Austin – Sr. – Greenville, Texas

DL – Kenny Dotson – Nicholls – Jr. – Plaquemine, La.

DL – Chris Stewart – Sam Houston State – Jr. – Petal, Miss.

LB – Sam Denmark – Abilene Christian – Sr. – Las Cruces, N.M.

LB – Ashari Goins – McNeese – Sr. – Monroe, La.

LB – Allen Pittman – Nicholls – So. – St. Rose, La.

DB – Nate Jones – Lamar – Jr. – Mansfield, Texas

DB – Alize Ward – Stephen F. Austin – So. – San Diego, Calif.

DB – Corey Abraham – Nicholls – Jr. – Breaux Bridge, La.

DB – Juan Jackson – Central Arkansas – So. – Gardendale, Ala.

DB – Ahmani Martin – Nicholls – Jr. – Reserve, La.

KR – Juwan Petit-Frere – Southeastern Louisiana – So. – Orlando, Fla.

PR – Max Lyons – Southeastern Louisiana – Sr. – Los Angeles, Calif.

 

Honorable Mention: RB – Marcus Cooper, Southeastern Louisiana; Kierre Crossley, Central Arkansas; Derrick Mitchell, UIW; Justin Pratt, McNeese; Chris Jones, Northwestern State. TE/HB – Trevor Crain, Abilene Christian; Case Robinson, Lamar. WR – Troy Grant, Abilene Christian; Roman Gordon, Central Arkansas; Kent Shelby, McNeese. OL – Jermaine Jones, Southeastern Louisiana; Micah Parten, Central Arkansas; Terence Hickman II, UIW; Matt Oubre, Lamar; Eddie Houston, Nicholls; Tyler Tezeno, Sam Houston State; Devonte Jones, Stephen F. Austin. AP – Cedric Battle, Central Arkansas.PK – Dillon Burkhard, Southeastern Louisiana; Matt Cummins, Central Arkansas. P – Patrick Ponder, Central Arkansas. DL – Tyler Helaire, Houston Baptist; Manasseh Miles, Lamar; Jammerio Gross-Whitaker, McNeese; Obinna Iheoma, Northwestern State; Lyn Clark, Northwestern State; Lamont Alexander, Stephen F. Austin. LB – Jake Jiannoni, Southeastern Louisiana; James Graves, Central Arkansas; Cody Moncure, Houston Baptist; Mar’kel Cooks, UIW; B.J. Blunt, McNeese; Tevin Lawson, Nicholls. DB – Mayori Ellison, Southeastern Louisiana; Brandon Richmond, Abilene Christian; Jaylon Lofton, Central Arkansas; Andre Fuller, McNeese; Isaac Warren, Northwestern State; Adrian Contreras, Sam Houston State; Jaylen Thomas, Sam Houston State.

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach