'Jacks Land 15 on College Sports Madness Preseason All-SLC team
July 25, 2013
The official start to the football season began Wednesday in Lake Charles, La., with the Southland Conference Football Media Days. Stephen F. Austin head coach J.C. Harper and players Darren Robinson and Gus Johnson, along with coaches and players from all Southland schools met with the media for a preview of the upcoming season. Less than 24 hours later both Johnson and Robinson, in addition to 13 other Lumberjack players were named to the 2013 College Sports Madness Preseason All-Southland Conference.
The Lumberjacks had three first-team selections, four second-team selections and eight named to the third team. The first-team selections are D.J. Ward (receiver), Andrew Ratliff (offensive line) and Darren Robinson (defensive end). The second-team selections are Johnson (running back), Michael Brooks (receiver), Ryne Chambers (offensive Line) and Jordan Wiggs (kicker). Eight 'Jacks were named to the third team including Brady Attaway (quarterback), Aaron Thomas (receiver), Malcolm Mattox (defensive end), Ishmiah Miles (defensive end), Collin Garrett (linebacker), Caleb Nelson (defensive back) and Nick Bruno (punter), while Brooks also received third-team recognition as a punt returner.
Already named as a preseason conference defensive player of the year in other publications, Robinson returns as one of the nation's top defensive ends. A 2012 first-team All-Southland selection, Robinson started all 11 games last season finishing among the league's elite in tackles for losses (11.5) and sacks (7.5). He also finished the season with 31 tackles.
Ward was an unexpected bright spot during the 2012 season. Ward battled his way through an already talent-loaded group of veteran receivers to earn a starting role and became one of the conference's top receivers. A 2012 second-team All-SLC selection, Ward finished second in the league with 62 receptions for 762 yards and four touchdowns. He closed out the year being recognized as one of the nation's top rookies.
Ratliff has been a key figure on one of the nation's top offensive lines each of the past three years. An aggressive player up front, Ratliff helped SFA finish among the nation's top 20 in pass protection for a fourth consecutive season, a hefty accomplishment considering the 'Jacks finished the season ranked among the national leaders in passes attempted.
The Lumberjacks open the 2013 season Saturday, Aug. 31 at Weber State. The home opener is two weeks later against McMurry.