JONESBORO (6/21/10) - Four Arkansas State football players have been named to Lindy's preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team, including junior linebacker Demario Davis (Brandon, Miss.), senior defensive lineman Bryan Hall (Paducah, Ky.), senior defensive back M.D. Jennings (Calhoun City, Miss.) and senior offensive lineman Derek Newton (Utica, Miss.).
Newton and Hall, both 2009 All-Sun Belt Conference choices, were named to the preseason football publication's first team, while Davis and Jennings were both second-team selections. Lindy's also singled out Newton in its "Honor Roll" section, naming him the league's "Best Pass Blocker".
Arkansas State was picked to finish third in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference race by the magazine, which placed the Red Wolves behind top-pick Middle Tennessee and Troy. Following ASU in order of Lindy's predicted order of finish were ULM, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida International, North Texas and Western Kentucky.
In addition to Lindy's, Hall and Newton have also been placed on preseason All-Sun Belt Conference teams by Blue Ribbon and Phil Steele's. Davis and Jennings also made Phil Steele's preseason all-conference squad. The four players are among 51 returning lettermen on the 2010 ASU team. The Red Wolves also return 15 offensive players and 10 defensive players that started at least one game during the 2009 season.
Hall was a Second Team All-SBC selection in 2009. He ranked second on the team in tackles for loss (9) and tackles among defensive linemen on ASU's defense ranked first in the SBC in yards allowed last season. He ranked among the top-15 players in the SBC in tackles for loss. Hall recorded a career-high five tackles against Iowa, and also had a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss against the Hawkeyes.
Newton was one of the most consistent players on ASU's offensive line and the only ASU offensive lineman to start every game in 2009. A Second Team All-Sun Belt selection last season, Newton helped lead the way for 21 rushing touchdowns that were the third most in the Sun Belt Conference. He paved the way for three different ASU players rushing for over 100 yards in at least one game and was part of ASU's line that helped the offense to its most yards of total offense (484) against an FBS opponent since the 2007 season.
Davis returns for his junior season as the leading tackler on the team after recording a career-high 80 stops last season. His 6.8 tackles per game was the 17th highest average in the Sun Belt Conference, while his eight tackles for loss were the 18th most in the league and his three sacks tied the 15th most. The standout linebacker, named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 26, 2009, posted double-figure tackles in three games that included a career-high 14 in the Red Wolves' season finale against Western Kentucky.
Jennings ranked second on the team and first among defensive backs in tackles (5.8 tpg), and was also ranked tied for 23rd in the Sun Belt Conference in tackles on ASU's defense ranked first in the league last year in yards allowed and scoring defense. His six pass break-ups were the second most on the team, and he also had one interception returned for 36 yards (fifth interception of his career). Jennings recovered a team-high three fumbles, which also tied the tops in the league. He recorded a season-high 11 tackles during the Louisville game and had at least eight tackles in five games.
A-State opens its 2010 season Sept. 4 at Auburn and will play Louisiana-Monroe Sept. 18 in its home opener. Season tickets are on sale and can be ordered by contacting the ASU Box Office at 870-972-ASU1 or 1-888-ASU-FANS or by visiting AStateRedWolves.com. For more information, contact the ASU Marketing Department at 870-972-3880