BOONE, N.C. — Three App State players have received All-America recognition from Phil Steele, with cornerback Steven Jones Jr. being named a first-team All-American.
Inside linebacker D’Marco Jackson was named a fourth-team All-American, and center Baer Hunter made the All-American Honorable Mention list.
Jones, Jackson and Hunter were three of nine App State players with first-team All-Sun Belt recognition from Phil Steele, who had Mountaineers occupying 21 spots on his four teams.
Jones tied for the FBS lead with five interceptions during the regular season and leads the country with three pick-six interception returns for touchdowns. He is in the top 20 nationally with 13 passes defended (counting eight breakups), and he finished the season with 51 tackles.
He has also been named a first-team All-American by the FWAA and Pro Football Network.
With a monster 2021 season, Jackson became the only FBS player in the 2000s with single-season totals including at least 120 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, six sacks and six passes defended. His tackle total ranks No. 4 among FBS players on teams successful enough to post double-digit victories.
Hunter, who moved from guard to center before his final season, was the leader of an offensive line that allowed only 17 sacks (tied for No. 11 nationally at 1.2 per game) and averaged 34.5 points a game (23rd-best nationally). PFF College assigned him a run-blocking grade of 82.6 that ranks No. 2 among Group of Five centers, and his 972 snaps rank No. 7 among FBS centers.
PFN named Jackson a second-team All-American earlier this month, and he earned honorable mention from PFF College.
In addition to Jackson and Hunter, App State’s other first-team All-Sun Belt selections were Demetrius Taylor (DE), Nick Hampton (LB), Steven Jones Jr. (CB), Cooper Hodges (OT), Corey Sutton (WR), Nate Noel (RB) and Chandler Staton (K).
App State’s second-team All-Sun Belt choices were Thomas Hennigan (WR), Malik Williams (WR), Camerun Peoples (RB), Anderson Hardy (OT), Trey Cobb (LB), Shaun Jolly (CB), Jalen Virgil (KR) and Christian Johnstone (LS).
Chase Brice (QB), Kaiden Smith (S) and Jordon Earle (DT) made the third team, while T.D. Roof (LB) and Williams (PR) were included on the fourth team.