Willie Jefferson is one of 10 'Jacks to earn preseason All-SLC honors.
July 17, 2012
FRISCO, Texas -
The Stephen F. Austin football team had 10 players garner 2012 Preseason All-Southland Conference recognition announced league officials Tuesday morning, including four first-team selections. Senior defensive end Willie Jefferson was the lone first-team selection on defense, while receivers Cordell Roberson and Gralyn Crawford each landed first-team honors. Crawford also received first-team honors as a return specialist. The second team consisted of quarterback Brady Attaway, H-Back Mike Brooks, offensive lineman John Steel, defensive end Malcolm Mattox, linebacker Ryan Epperson and corner Josh Aubrey.
The duo of Crawford and Roberson will leave SFA as the most potent 1-2 punch in school history, and one of the most productive receiver combinations in SLC history. Crawford has hauled in 197 passes for 2,546 yards and 19 touchdowns during his career, and is already the school's all-time leader in receptions. A former All-America selection, Roberson enters his final year of eligibility with 144 catches for 2,185 yards and 29 touchdowns. He is currently second all-time in school history with his 29 TD grabs.
Crawford has also been one of the nation's top return men over the course of the past two seasons. A two-time return specialist All-American, Crawford has returned four kicks and a punt for touchdowns during his career. Crawford has averaged better than 24 yards per kick, and 13 yards per punt during his time in the purple and white uniform.
Jefferson made a huge impact in the Lumberjack lineup last season earning 2011 SLC Newcomer of the Year honors. The Baylor transfer led the team in sacks and tackles for losses last season with 15. He finished tied for fourth in the nation with 1.36 sacks per game average, and helped SFA's defense lead the nation in both statistical categories.
Attaway garnered honorable mention all-conference honors after his first season as a starter. He finished the year completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,181 yards and 27 touchdowns. He was among the nation's top 10 in total offense averaging nearly 287 yards per game. Attaway was protected center John Steel, who also garnered honorable mention All-SLC honors in 2011. One of the most underrated players in the nation last season, Steel anchored a line the led the nation in pass protection despite the fact SFA threw ball nearly 550 times.
The younger brother of Duane Brooks, the school's second all-time leader in receptions, Mike Brooks is making his first appearance on the preseason all-conference squad. Also used on special teams, Brooks has caught 33 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown during his career.
After two years of backing up former All-American, and NFL Draftee Jabara Williams, Epperson finally got his shot in the starting lineup in 2011 and didn't disappoint. Epperson picked up where Williams left off leading the conference, and finishing among the nation's leaders with 113 tackles. He also posted three sacks and six tackles for losses on his way to earning 2011 second-team all-conference honors.
Mattox was another key factor in the 'Jacks strong defense in the second half of the season. After three huge losses at the position in the past two seasons due to attrition, and a key injury prior to the 2011 campaign, Mattox stepped up to be a leader on the defensive front. He garnered all-conference recognition after a season that saw him record 35 tackles, including 11 for losses and seven sacks. Mattox finished second in the league, to teammate Jefferson, in sacks and was among the league's top 10 in tackles for losses.
A three-time All-SLC selection, Aubrey has been one the nation's top corners since arriving in Nacogdoches. He has recorded nearly 200 tackles, including 11.5 for losses and picked off five passes during his career in Nacogdoches. He has also been credited for 22 pass break ups during that time. During is junior season, Aubrey recorded 55 tackles, including 34 solo stops, and 4.5 for losses. He also picked off a pass that he returned for 49 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble, which he returned 22 yards.
The Lumberjacks will open the 2012 campaign Thursday, Aug. 30th against Southwestern Oklahoma. The game against SWOU is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. from Homer Bryce Stadium.