Hampton Named to “Freaks List”; PFF Preseason Honors Recognize Mountaineers

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August 15, 2022
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August 15, 2022
Hampton Named to “Freaks List”; PFF Preseason Honors Recognize Mountaineers

BOONE, N.C. — For the sixth straight year, an App State Football standout has made the “Freaks List” produced by Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

Outside linebacker Nick Hampton comes in at No. 84, making him the highest-ranked Sun Belt Conference defender on the list. Listed at 200 pounds as a freshman, the 6-foot-3 Hampton is now at 240 pounds as he heads toward the start of the 2022 season with 19.5 career sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss to his credit.

Those totals rank first among returning Sun Belt defenders, and his 11.0 sacks in 2021 rank sixth among returning FBS defenders. Hampton was one of only five FBS players last season with more than 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 65 tackles.

Below is the write-up on Hampton from the “Freaks List” announcement:

He seems to live in the opponent’s backfield. Hampton has 19.5 career sacks and 30.5 TFLs and has really developed since coming to App State in 2018, when he weighed 200 pounds. Now, he’s an imposing 6-3, 240 pounds who incline-presses 365 pounds; sumo deadlifts 600; can broad-jump 10-6, vertical 39 inches and hits 21 mph on the GPS. His flying 10-yard sprint time is 1.20. “Nick’s strength levels are through the roof,” said App State strength coach Brad Bielaniec. “I have trouble putting exactly into words what he’s capable of in terms of power. His ability to produce exponential power at any point and time is what really separates him from the pack.”


PFF ALL-SUN BELT: PFF’s All-Sun Belt teams include seven representatives of App State Football.

Offensive tackle Cooper Hodges, running back Camerun Peoples, cornerback Steven Jones Jr. and Hampton made the preseason first team. Running back Nate Noel, quarterback Chase Brice and offensive guard Isaiah Helms are on the second team.

Eighteen players who started at least one game in 2021 return from an App State team that enjoyed a 10-win regular season and captured a division title during Shawn Clark’s second full season as head coach. The Mountaineers went 7-1 in league play.

Hodges has received All-Sun Belt recognition after each of the last three seasons, as he’s been App State’s starting right tackle for 39 consecutive games. He graded out at 86 percent and had a team-high 84 knockdown blocks in 2021.

Peoples, who received All-Sun Belt recognition in 2021 and 2020, rushed for 926 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns last season while playing in 12 of 14 games.

A second-team preseason All-American via the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Jones made four All-America teams last season, including first-team honors from three outlets. He increased his career total to seven interceptions with five during a breakout 2021 season that included three pick-six returns for touchdowns.

Brice set App State’s single-season record for passing yards with a league-leading 3,337 to go along with season totals of 27 touchdown passes and a 62.1 completion percentage. Noel led the Sun Belt with 1,126 rushing yards and 31 rushes of 10-plus yards.

Last season, Helms started at right guard in all 13 appearances and ranked second on the team with 61 knockdown blocks.

EARL CAMPBELL TYLER ROSE WATCH LIST: App State newcomer and Texas native Tyler Page, an accomplished receiver and punt returner, has been named to the watch list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.

The award, which calls for its candidates to have Texas ties, including being born in or having graduated from a high school in the state, recognizes the top FBS offensive player who exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell. Page is from Friendswood, Texas.

In 42 games at SMU from 2017-2020, he totaled 65 catches for 862 yards with four touchdowns while also returning 14 punts for 193 yards, returning eight kickoffs for 160 yards and completing four of eight pass attempts (with one touchdown) for 102 yards. In 2020, he ranked 11th nationally with 182 yards on punt returns and also caught 39 passes for 422 yards.

That season, he was honorable mention for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.