Small College All-Texas Team: RB Markeith Miller, DL Markus Jones lead standout group of playmakers

By Russell Wilburn

The 2018 season was another tremendous year for Texas small college football teams.

A Texas small college team claimed a national championship for the third straight season after UMHB claimed their second national title in the three years. Incarnate Word had an incredible first season under head coach Eric Morris, as it claimed a share of the Southland Conference and earned a playoff trip for the first time in program history. 

Lamar finished its season on a six-game winning streak and earned an at-large berth to the FCS playoffs. Tarleton State won a school record 12 games, finished top five and hosted .a playoff games. 

With the season over for all of the Texas teams, we decided to name the first ever All-Texas Small College Football Team. Difficult decisions were made at every position on this list.

Without further ado, here is the first All-Texas Small College Football Team. 

Midwestern State quarterback Layton Rabb by MSU athletics

All-Texas Small College Team: Offense

QB: Layton Rabb, MSU Texas

Rabb lived up to the high expectations entering his senior season after being a Harlon Hill nominee as a junior. Rabb had six games with over 300 yards passing on his way to 3,114 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and only six interceptions on the season. Rabb had a remarkable game against Angelo State as he completed 24-of-38 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns.

RB: Xavier Turner, Tarleton State

Turner’s season started slow as he gained 141 yards in the team’s first four games. Turner then began his record setting run as he reeled off seven straight games with over 100 yards rushing, including five games with over 150 yards rushing and two games with over 200 yards rushing. Turner finished with 1,469 rushing yards and a school record 22 touchdowns on the season.

RB: Markeith Miller, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Miller had 1,864 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns while racking up nine games with over 100 yards rushing. Miller was named the D3football.com South Region Player of the Year and earned first team D3football.com and AP All-American honors as a key member of a senior class that leaves UMHB with the first two national championships in school history.

WR: Juwan Johnson, MSU Texas

Johnson had an incredible sophomore season leading the Mustangs receiving corps. Johnson caught 67 passes for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Johnson’s best game came after the Mustangs’ first loss of the season as he torched Texas A&M-Kingsville with nine receptions for 202 yards and four touchdowns.

WR: T.J. Josey, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Team captain and Stagg Bowl XLVI Most Outstanding Player, Josey was always willing to play any position necessary to win. Josey played mostly wide receiver this season and recorded 48 receptions for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cru. Josey also took over as wildcat quarterback in the national championship game due to injury and was key in leading the Cru in their comeback win over Mount Union.

TE: Vincent Hobbs, Texas A&M-Commerce

Hobbs was one of the most difficult players to tackle this season for the Lions. Hobbs recorded 35 receptions for 343 yards and four touchdowns while also providing outstanding run blocking for a team that averaged 135 yards rushing per game. Hobbs was named to the first team D2CCA All-Super Region Four team.

OL: A.J. Roland, MSU Texas

Roland was the anchor of the Mustangs offensive line that averaged 180 yards rushing per game and 506.6 total yards per game. Roland was a first team All-Lone Star Conference selection for the second straight year and earned first team D2CCA All-Super Region Four honors.

OL: Deon Sheppard, Tarleton State

Sheppard earned first team D2CCA All-American honors this year after anchoring the Texans offensive line from the left tackle position. Sheppard was key in leading an offensive line that only allowed 18 sacks this season, while averaging 45 points per game and 516 total yards per game.

OL: Colton Hall, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Hall earned first team AP All-American honors this season as he anchored an offensive line that averaged 443 total yards per game. Hall was also named first team D3football.com All-South Region. Hall was the anchor of an offensive line that averaged 238 rushing yards per game and scored 58 rushing touchdowns this season.

OL: Garrett Bowery, Lamar

Bowery was a key player on an overhauled Lamar offensive line that averaged 241 rushing yards per game and led the Cardinals to their first NCAA FCS playoff appearance in program history. Bowery was named first team AP All-American, third team STATS FCS All-American, Southland Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year, and first team All-Southland Conference.

OL: Brandon Floores, Incarnate Word

A junior from La Vernia High School, Floores was a key member of an offensive line that averaged 483 total yards per game and helped Incarnate Word to their first Southland Conference title and first appearance in the NCAA FCS playoffs in program history. Floores earned first team All-Southland Conference honors for his play this season.

PK: Kristov Martinez, Texas A&M-Commerce

The senior place kicker was near automatic this season as he made 21-of-26 field goal attempts. Martinez also made four field goals over 50 yards including a career long 55-yard field goal. Martinez was amazing in his final game as he made 5-of-5 field goal attempts with two field goals over 50 yards in the second round of the NCAA DII playoffs. Martinez earned first team AP All-American honors and was named to the Google Cloud Academic DII All-American team.

KR: Reggie Kincade, Texas A&M-Commerce

Kincade had an incredible senior season returning kicks as he averaged 31.8 yards per return this season. Kincade returned two kickoffs for touchdowns including a 100-yard kickoff return against Tarleton State. Kincade earned first team D2CCA All-Super Region Four honors and first team All-LSC honors this season.

Angelo State DL Markus Jones by Angelo State athletics

All-Texas Small College Team: Defense

DL: Markus Jones, Angelo State

Jones entered the season with high expectations as he was named Lone Star Conference preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Jones exceeded those expectations as he registered 84 total tackles including an incredible 36.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. Jones also forced four fumbles and had 17 quarterback hurries this season. Jones finished sixth in the Harlon Hill Trophy voting given to the NCAA DII Player of the Year. Jones earned AFCA, AP, and D2CCA first team All-American honors while also being named the D2CCA Defensive Player of the Year.

DL: Joey Longoria, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Longoria was a force at defensive tackle this season for the Cru. The junior Cliff Harris Award finalist for best small college defensive player in the nation recorded 67 total tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks this season. Longoria also earned second team AP and D3football.com All-American honors.

DL: Derick Roberson, Sam Houston State

Roberson had an incredible senior season as he led the Southland Conference with 15 sacks. Roberson also registered 68 total tackles, including 20.5 tackles for loss this season. Roberson was named first team AP and STATS FCS All-American and first team All-Southland Conference. Roberson was also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for the most outstanding defensive player in the NCAA FCS.

DL: Michael Onuoha, Texas A&M-Commerce

Onuoha had a stellar senior season despite being double-teamed on almost every snap. Onuoha recorded 47 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks on the season. Onuoha also intercepted a pass and defended two passes. Onuoha was name second team D2CCA All-Super Region Four and earned first team All-LSC honors.

LB: Jeremiah Chambers, Abilene Christian

A junior team captain, Chambers enjoyed an outstanding season as he recorded 113 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Chambers had six games where he registered 10 or more tackles with a season high 16 tackles against McNeese. Chambers was named first team All-Southland Conference.

LB: Sean Jones, Texas Southern

Jones had an incredible senior season as he transitioned from defensive back to linebacker for the Tigers and registered 98 total tackles including 58 solo tackles, four tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks. Jones also forced two fumbles and recorded an interception. Jones earned second team All-SWAC honors.

LB: Brucks Saathoff, Texas A&M-Commerce

Saathoff was nominated for the Cliff Harris Award for the best small college defensive player for the second straight season. Saathoff registered 103 total tackles and 15 tackles for loss. Saathoff also recorded 2.5 sacks on the season. Saathoff was named to the second team D2CCA All-Super Region Four team and earned first team All-LSC honors.

DB: Jefferson Fritz, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Fritz had an incredible sophomore season as he intercepted 12 passes and recorded 40 total tackles this season. For his efforts, Fritz was a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award for the best small college defensive player in the nation. Fritz was also named first team AP and D3football.com All-American.

DB: Ju’Anthony Parker, Prairie View A&M

The junior from South Oak Cliff High School had another outstanding season as he intercepted three passes and defended 12 passes on the season. Parker also recorded 20 solo tackles this year. Parker was named second team AFCA FCS All-American and earned first team All-SWAC honors for the second straight season.

DB: Devin Hafford, Tarleton State

A finalist for the Cliff Harris Award for the best small college defensive player in the nation, Hafford had an incredible junior season for the Texans defense as he recorded 34 tackles, four interceptions, and 18 passes defended this season. Hafford also earned second team D2CCA All-American and second team AP All-American honors this year.

DB: Davon Jernigan, Lamar

Jernigan had an amazing senior season as he intercepted four passes and had 11 passes defended. Jernigan led the Cardinals defense as he recorded 111 total tackles including 78 solo tackles and a sack. Jernigan was named first team All-Southland Conference and third team AP and STATS FCS All-American.

P: Ron Reid, Tarleton State

The senior punter from Burleson had 11 punts this year that went over 50 yards, including a school record 84-yard punt in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Reid averaged 42.1 yards per punt this year and had 17 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Reid only had five punts that ended in a touchback. Reid was also the kickoff specialist for the Texans as he had touchbacks on 26-of-58 kickoffs.

PR: Aaron Sims, Mary Hardin-Baylor

A freshman from Cameron Yoe High School, Sims was instrumental on special teams for the Cru this season. Sims returned five punts for touchdowns including a 90-yard return for a touchdown in the national semifinals. Sims averaged 29.1 yards per return this season and earned first team D3football.com All-American honors for his efforts.

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