A school-record 13 Lenoir-Rhyne football players were selected to the 2019 Preseason All-South Atlantic Conference team, as announced by the league Thursday morning. The Bears had six First Team All-Conference selections and seven more on the Second Team.
Leading the first-teamers was Second Team All-American and Jacobs Blocking Trophy award-winning offensive lineman Jason Poe. Poe played in 13 games for the Bears last season and helped L-R to top 10 national rankings in rushing yards per game and scoring offense.
Kyle Dugger , Honorable Mention All-American Return Specialist, earned first team accolades at both return specialist and defensive back a year ago. Dugger was one of the most explosive punt returners in the nation, finishing second in Division II in punt return yardage and punt return touchdowns.
Drake Starks was named a first team tight end after catching five touchdowns as a true freshman and being one of the best blocking tight ends in the region.
Along with Dugger on the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Dan Louba and linebacker Sherrod Williams were first team selections. Louba recorded 7.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position last year, while Williams led the conference in tackles (105) and led the nation with six forced fumbles.
The second team features a pair of running backs in Xzavion Huff and Ameen Stevens to go with offensive lineman Ronnie Clifton, who started all 14 games at left tackle for the Bears in 2018. As a true freshman, Stevens ran for 11 touchdowns, which ranked second in the conference, and led the Bears in carries and yards. Placekicker Chase Allbaugh set conference and program records with 114 points by a kicker in 2018, which earned him a spot on the second team.
Defensively, defensive end Jaquan Artis, who leads all returning players with 11 sacks, was picked to the second team and was joined by linebacker Clayton Horn and defensive back Eric Jackson. For Horn, it is his second straight selection to the preseason all-conference squad. Jackson was the team's Ronnie Lott Heavy Hitter of the Year recipient and led the league with six interceptions in 2018.
The Bears are coming off a 12-2 season that saw them go a perfect 7-0 in league play and clinch their eighth conference championship in program history. The previous record for most preseason all-conference selections was 11, which was done twice, most recently in 2013.