BOONE, N.C. — Athlon Sports’ preseason All-Sun Belt football teams have 14 overall selections and four first-team picks from reigning conference champion Appalachian State.
Running back Jalin Moore, cornerback Clifton Duck, linebacker Anthony Flory and offensive lineman Victor Johnson were first-team choices by the publication.
Defensive lineman Myquon Stout, cornerback Tae Hayes and tight end Collin Reed represented App State on the second team.
The third team includes three sophomores in center Noah Hannon, quarterback Zac Thomas and receiver Thomas Hennigan, who was also a fourth-team selection as an all-purpose player.
The fourth team lists safety Desmond Franklin, running back Marcus Williams Jr. and punter Xavier Subotsch.
App State ranked second in the league with seven offensive selections and tied for third with five defensive selections.
Moore is one of six FBS players entering 2018 with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 rushing yards, and he’s the only active FBS back who’s rushed for at least 235 yards in four career games. With 26 straight starts at left tackle, Johnson was also a first-team All-Sun Belt pick last season after helping the Mountaineers rank No. 2 nationally with only eight sacks allowed and No. 22 nationally by rushing for 223.6 yards per game.
Duck led the league with six interceptions last season, and his 11 picks over the last two seasons are tied for first place nationally. An inside linebacker, Flory had 87 tackles last year for a group that ranked in the top 30 nationally (and top two in the Sun Belt) in scoring defense and total defense. He was the defensive MVP in the Dollar General Bowl shutout of Toledo.
Stout’s 41 tackles last season ranked third among Sun Belt interior linemen, Hayes’ four interceptions were among his 16 passes defended, a total that ranked second in the league, and Reed’s five touchdown catches ranked second among Sun Belt tight ends.
With 2017 senior Taylor Lamb at quarterback, Hannon had no bad snaps in 13 starts and 871 plays as a true freshman, while Hennigan’s seven touchdown catches ranked second nationally among the nation’s true freshman wide receivers. Thomas appeared in four games as the primary backup to Lamb as a redshirt freshman in 2017, when six of the league’s top eight passers were seniors.
On the fourth team, Franklin had 49 tackles (31 solo) and three interceptions as a free safety. Williams rushed for 500 yards with two 125-yard games in his three starts, and there were 22 fair catches on Subotsch’s 55 punts.
Appalachian State opens the 2018 season at Penn State on Sept. 1 and has a six-game home schedule that concludes with back-to-back visits from Georgia State and Troy in November.