Here are five in-state FCS players you need to know
In Texas where football programs are treated like royalty with 12 FBS schools in the state, it is rare for players at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to gain recognition for the talent they possess.
But that’s changing.
Even though a large number of NFL draft picks are from bigger FBS schools, 19 FCS players were drafted in 2014. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does say that FCS talent is not completely flying under the radar.
There are definitely some gems hiding at the FCS level. Here are five names from in-state schools that might create some discussion in 2014.
RB Keshawn Hill, Sam Houston State- Another Southland team in a transition period gaining a new head coach and losing 15 starters, Sam Houston State won’t look the same in 2014. But look for Keshawn Hill to take on the challenge as the senior will be the leader for Sam Houston’s rushing attack, replacing the Southland Conference’s all-time leading rusher Tommy Flanders. Hill had the highest average per carry amongst the Kat’s top three rushers in 2013 with 6.6 ypc. The Bearkats will need Hill to run the ball well as there are question marks on who the new starting quarterback will be.
QB Jerry Lovelocke, Prarie View A&M- Leading the Southwestern Athletic Conference in scoring last season, this dual-threat quarterback will be deadly in 2014. Lovelocke is coming off a record-breaking season in 2013. He set marks for passing yards with 2,833 and completions with 285. Lovelocke has made this Panther offense something defensive coordinators will dread facing. Improving the defense is top priority for the Panthers, but don’t take this offense lightly, especially the guy who will be taking the snaps.
LB Collin Garrett, Stephen F. Austin- Ranking last in the Southland Conference in points and yards allowed, the Lumberjack defense needs big improvements heading into the 2014 season. Linebacker Collin Garrett returns for his senior year after recording 184 tackles in his last two seasons including 88 in 2013, making him second best on the team. Earning double digit tackles in six of his 10 games, Garrett has proved to be a valuable player for new defensive coordinator Matt Williamson, who will need his talent in this time of transition.
S Angel Lopez, Abilene Christian- The first season for Abilene Christian as an FCS team finished with a winning season but graduation is taking a toll on the roster. While the offense took the greater hit, ACU’s defense still stands relatively strong with seven starters, including returning safety Angel Lopez. Lopez led the team with an impressive 109 tackles in 2013, helping make the secondary one of the stronger areas looking forward to 2014. Limiting opponents to 206 yards per game, Lopez and his defense will help out the offense as it continues to rebuild.
S Kevin Johnson, Lamar- With a defense filled with question marks, one player that brings some certainty is Johnson. His 2013 season was full of impressive stats and awards. A dangerous and versatile weapon, Johnson was named the 2013 CFPA National Punt Returner of the Year with 1,057 return yards and was also tabbed second team All-Southland Conference. Johnson started the year at receiver before finishing the season in the secondary where he will more than likely stay, but he is a player that can effectively play multiple positions. As one of two defensive starters returning, Johnson will be a problem for offensive coordinators throughout 2014.
Jordan Ottaway is a special contributor to TexasFootball.com.
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