joe wallace

The Southland Conference unveiled its preseason all-conference teams Wednesday morning, with several Sam Houston State Bearkats receiving honors.

Junior running back Donovan Williams, senior offensive lineman Colby Thomas, senior punter Matt McRobert and senior defensive linemen Trace Mascorro and Joe Wallace represented the Bearkats on the first team, while sophomore defensive lineman Jevon Leon, junior offensive lineman Eleasah Anderson and senior cornerbacks Zyon McCollum and Jaylen Thomas made the second team.

Here are a few takeaways from Sam Houston State’s preseason honors:

SHSU STILL VIEWED IN TOP TIER OF SLC

Back-to-back missed postseason appearances haven't eliminated the Bearkats’ standing as one of the premier programs in the Southland. The nine selections for Sam Houston State — the second-winningest FCS program of the past decade — were the second-most in the league, behind only Central Arkansas. These two teams are poised to be the Southland’s top playoff contenders, with both returning the majority of last year’s key contributors.

FEELS LIKE ZYON GOT SNUBBED

With all of last year's first-team all-conference defensive backs returning, Zyon McCollum — one of the top NFL draft prospects in the conference — was left off the first team by default. McCollum is arguably the most imposing defensive back in the conference, standing 6-foot-4 with a level of athleticism that is rare for the Southland. He enters 2020 with nine career interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, to go along with four forced fumbles and 39 pass breakups.

5 MORE KATS TO WATCH

Junior QB Eric Schmid: Injuries might have hindered Schmid’s 2019 season, but the flashes of potential were obvious — most notably when he torched Incarnate Word for 531 passing yards and five touchdowns en route to a 45-6 victory in last year’s conference opener. If he stays healthy, Schmid could be a dark horse candidate to make a run at postseason accolades at the conference and national level.

Senior TE Isaac Schley: The departure of Woody Brandom leaves a hole for the Bearkats to fill at tight end, but Schley should step into the role and make an immediate impact. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound graduate transfer earned all-Patriot league honors at Georgetown last season.

Senior WR Jequez Ezzard: Not only is Ezzard SHSU’s most high-profile transfer, he is one of the most intriguing in the entire FCS. Ezzard — who made the all-MEAC first team twice at Howard and was an all-American in 2018 — missed last year with an injury, but amassed 1,959 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns over the course of the previous two seasons.

Sophomore WR Dee Bowens: After racking up 755 receiving yards and six touchdowns over the course of the final four games of 2018 and first four of last year, Bowens appeared poised for a breakout 2019 season. Injuries prevented that from happening, but if the 2020 season is played, Bowens will play a key part in what has the potential to be a prolific passing attack.

Junior LB Trevor Williams: With the graduation of senior leaders Hunter Brown and Royce See, Williams will be leaned on heavily to fill the void at linebacker. The A&M Consolidated alum recorded 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and 58 total tackles — including a single-game team-high 15 against Lamar — as a sophomore last year.