The APSU football team continues to garner high praise for their individual talent on the field during the shortened fall season, as Craig Haley of Stats Perform has included four Governors players on his Preseason FCS All-America Team.
The Govs four selections rank first in the Ohio Valley Conference, with the remainder of the teams in the OVC having a combined three student-athletes make the team. Northern Iowa had the most individual players selected in the Football Championship Subdivision with six.
Among the included players for APSU were wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson, defensive back Kordell Jackson, offensive lineman Blake Mitchell and defensive tackle Josephus Smith. Wilson and Jackson were tabbed as first-team selections by Haley, while Mitchell and Smith were picked to represent the subdivision’s third-team.
Out of the four chosen, only two took the field last Saturday in Montgomery, Ala. against Central Arkansas. While Jackson and Mitchell played up to their potential during the game, Wilson and Smith did not travel with the team.
Jackson continued his success from a year ago against the Sugar Bears, recording seven total tackles to go alongside half a sack, one and a half tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Jackson’s play in 2019 – 47 tackles and seven interceptions – earned the defensive back the title of a 2019 NCAA consensus All-American.
Mitchell, who has already been named a William V. Campbell trophy nominee, was part of a Governors offensive front that allowed Jeremiah Oatsvall and company to gain over 300 yards in their season opener.
Although Wilson and Smith were unavailable against Central Arkansas, the duo’s impact will be greatly felt in the weeks to come: last season, Wilson amassed the third 1,500 receiving yard season in school history. The senior was additionally tabbed as the Preseason OVC Offensive Player of the Year back in July.
As for Smith, the 2019 All-OVC first-team defense selection looks to build upon previous successes before the Govs turn towards spring competition. The defensive lineman produced 19.5 tackles for loss a year ago to pair with 7.5 sacks.
The Governors will hope to utilize all four of their All-American athletes heading into a Sept. 12 contest at the University of Pittsburgh. The game serves as the season opener for the Panthers, who finished last year 8-5.
“Really proud of the kids last week and how we kind of handled it,” head coach Marquase Lovings said on the preparation for the upcoming game. “Just to talk about Pitt, coach [Pat] Narduzzi’s team, a really, really talented football team that we’re facing this week…really, really good, defensive football team, I think that’s where coach Narduzzi kind of hangs his hat on the defensive side of the ball. We’ve got to be ready to attack those guys on Saturday at 4 o’clock.
“We’ve just got to be sound with what we’re trying to do and make sure that we try to stop the run as much as we can and kind of make them one dimensional…They’re a really sound football team, a really good football team, a team that went to a bowl game last year and won their bowl game. We are ready to see where the chips fall where they may this week and ready to get after it.”