HUNTSVILLE – Five Sam Houston State Bearkats earned preseason all-America honors as announced by STATS FCS officials on Monday.
Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe and defensive lineman P.J. Hall were each named to the first team, while running back Corey Avery earned a second team nod. Additionally, wide receiver Yediah Louis and offensive lineman Tyler Tezeno were each placed on the third team.
For Briscoe and Hall, the honors are just the latest in in their plethora of awards in the last year. Briscoe enters his senior season and second year at the helm of the Bearkat offense on the heels of a record-setting season that saw him claim the Walter Payton Award as the top individual offensive player in the FCS.
The Houston native and Southland Conference Player of the Year threw for 4,602 yards and an FCS record 57 touchdowns as a junior, spreading those 57 scores among a dozen different receivers. He threw for at least 300 yards in 11 of 13 games and a minimum of three scores in each of the first 12 games, twice setting a new school record with seven touchdown throws.
Hall, meanwhile, is on the preseason STATS FCS all-America team for the second consecutive and is coming off a year that saw him finish second in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, an honor given out to the top defensive player in the FCS.
Hall added 13 sacks to his career total along with a league-best 24.5 tackles for a loss in 2016. He now has 36 for his career, a mark tied with Andre Finely for the top mark in school history and just two shy of Lamar’s Walter Johnson for the Southland Conference record. He has racked up double-digit sacks totals in each of his first three seasons as a Bearkat, and no less than 19 tackles for loss.
Three more members of the Bearkat offense received preseason recognition, including running back Corey Avery who was named to the second team. Avery enters his third year with the Kats ranking 10th all-time at SHSU with 2,238 rushing yards and sixth with 25 rushing touchdowns for his career.
Last season he rushed for 755 yards and an SLC-best 10 touchdowns on his way to earning a first team all-SLC nod. His biggest game of the year came at UIW when he cashed in on 17 carries with 212 yards and four scores, a game which was just the 15th 200-yard rushing game in Bearkat history.
Louis and Tezeno each took spots on the third team, giving the Bearkats four total nods on the offensive side of the ball. In his three years at Sam Houston, Louis has been a steady and prudent weapon for Bearkat signal callers. He put together a career year in 2016, hauling in 76 passes for 1,152 yards and 14 scores.
Much of that work came in the final four games of the season where he had 31 catches for 468 yards and eight touchdowns, putting up three straight games in that stretch with at least 125 yards and a score. He will enter 2016 needing just 51 yards to become the third receiver in SLC hits to total 3,000 career receiving yards.
For Tezeno, he was a key cog to an offensive line that paved the way and set the stage for the nation’s most explosive offense. He started all 13 games in 2016 after starting the final six games of 2015, and earned first team all-SLC honors. Behind Tezeno and the Bearkat front five, the Sam Houston offense lead the nation with an average of 49.5 points and 547.3 yards per game.
Sam Houston kicked off fall practice on July 27, exactly one month prior to its season opener on August 27 against Richmond. That game is set for a 6:00 p.m. start against the Spiders and will be aired nationally on ESPNU.