Bears Represented on All Southland Football Team

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FRISCO, TX – The University of Central Arkansas had four players named to the All-Southland Conference first team for football, and three more with second-team honors, along with five honorable mentions, the league announced Tuesday. The yearly SLC awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.

UCA’s first-teamers, all juniors, included running back Carlos Blackmon, offensive lineman Hunter Watts, defensive end Chris Terrell and safety Juan Jackson. The second-team selections were senior Cedric Battle, selected twice as a kick returner and all-purpose back, and senior defensive tackle Eric Jackson.

Honorable mention nods went to sophomore running back Kierre Crossley, senior wide receiver Jakari Dillard, senior linebacker Raphael Garner, sophomore safety Jackie Harvell and sophomore cornerback Robert Rochell.

Blackmon, a 6-foot-1, 228-pounder from Gosnell, Ark., led the Bears in rushing this season with 786 yards (5th in the SLC) and nine touchdowns (3rd), caught 16 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass. Blackman was a second-team All-SLC selection last season.

Watts, a 6-8, 330-pounder from San Antonio, Texas (John Marshall HS), helped the Bears average more than 400 yards of offense per game and 30.5 points per game, fourth-best in the conference, in his first season as a starter at UCA. 

Terrell, a 6-3, 270-pound junior from Pensacola, Fla. (J.M. Tate HS) was UCA’s most feared pass rusher, finishing the season with 8.5 sacks (fourth in the SLC) and 16 tackles for loss (4th) while forcing three fumbles and recovering one. He is a two-time first-team All-SLC selection. Terrell’s 46.5 career tackles for loss ranks sixth in school history, while his 21 sacks is tied for fifth.

Juan Jackson, a 5-11, 190-pound safety from Gardendale, Ala. (Gardendale HS), led the Bears in tackles this season with 91 total stops, which ranked ninth in the SLC. Jackson, a second-team selection a year ago as a sophomore, also forced a team-high five fumbles, broke up four passes and had an interception. He had four games with double-figure tackles this season, including a career-high 16 in the opener at FBS Tulsa.

Eric Jackson, a 6-1, 275-pounder from Apopka, Fla. (Apopka HS), closed out his UCA career with 34.5 tackles for loss (9.0 this season) and 18.5 sacks (3.0 this season), both Top 20 in school history. Smith added two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Battle, a 5-10, 180-pound running back/returner, finished the season with 953 all-purpose yards, including 196 rushing, 178 receiving and 579 on kickoff returns. His 22.3-yard kick return average ranked third in the SLC. 

Crossley, a 5-8, 173-pounder from Everman, Texas (Everman HS) who was the SLC Freshman of the Year in 2017, rushed for 600 yards this season and averaged 5.7 yards per carry while scoring two touchdowns. Crossley also caught seven passes for 102 yards out of the backfield.

Dillard, a 6-4, 210-pounder receiver from McKinney, Texas, led the Bears in receiving yards this season with 745 on 36 receptions and had a team-high seven touchdown receptions. He finished with four receptions longer than 50 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against Sam Houston State.

Garner, a 6-2, 235-pound linebacker from Thomasville, Ala. (Thomasville HS), was UCA’s fourth-leading tackler with 60 stops, including 32 solos, along with 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three forced fumbles. Garner had a season-high 10 tackles against Incarnate Word. Harvell, a 6-0, 205-pounder from Gurdon, Ark. (Gurdon HS), was a jack-of-all-trades for the Bears, finishing second in tackles (69), second in tackles for loss (11), tied for second in interceptions (2) and added two forced and two recovered fumbles.

Rochell, a 6-2, 176-pounder from Shreveport, La. (Fair Park HS), led the Bears with four interceptions, good for second in the Southland, and recorded 25 tackles and broke up six passes.

FRISCO, Texas – The University of Central Arkansas had four players named to the All-Southland Conference first team for football, and three more with second-team honors, along with five honorable mentions, the league announced Tuesday. The yearly SLC awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.

UCA’s first-teamers, all juniors, included running back Carlos Blackmon, offensive lineman Hunter Watts, defensive end Chris Terrell and safety Juan Jackson. The second-team selections were senior Cedric Battle, selected twice as a kick returner and all-purpose back, and senior defensive tackle Eric Jackson.

Honorable mention nods went to sophomore running back Kierre Crossley, senior wide receiver Jakari Dillard, senior linebacker Raphael Garner, sophomore safety Jackie Harvell and sophomore cornerback Robert Rochell.

Blackmon, a 6-foot-1, 228-pounder from Gosnell, Ark., led the Bears in rushing this season with 786 yards (5th in the SLC) and nine touchdowns (3rd), caught 16 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass. Blackman was a second-team All-SLC selection last season.

Watts, a 6-8, 330-pounder from San Antonio, Texas (John Marshall HS), helped the Bears average more than 400 yards of offense per game and 30.5 points per game, fourth-best in the conference, in his first season as a starter at UCA. 

Terrell, a 6-3, 270-pound junior from Pensacola, Fla. (J.M. Tate HS) was UCA’s most feared pass rusher, finishing the season with 8.5 sacks (fourth in the SLC) and 16 tackles for loss (4th) while forcing three fumbles and recovering one. He is a two-time first-team All-SLC selection. Terrell’s 46.5 career tackles for loss ranks sixth in school history, while his 21 sacks is tied for fifth.

Juan Jackson, a 5-11, 190-pound safety from Gardendale, Ala. (Gardendale HS), led the Bears in tackles this season with 91 total stops, which ranked ninth in the SLC. Jackson, a second-team selection a year ago as a sophomore, also forced a team-high five fumbles, broke up four passes and had an interception. He had four games with double-figure tackles this season, including a career-high 16 in the opener at FBS Tulsa.

Eric Jackson, a 6-1, 275-pounder from Apopka, Fla. (Apopka HS), closed out his UCA career with 34.5 tackles for loss (9.0 this season) and 18.5 sacks (3.0 this season), both Top 20 in school history. Smith added two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Battle, a 5-10, 180-pound running back/returner, finished the season with 953 all-purpose yards, including 196 rushing, 178 receiving and 579 on kickoff returns. His 22.3-yard kick return average ranked third in the SLC. 

Crossley, a 5-8, 173-pounder from Everman, Texas (Everman HS) who was the SLC Freshman of the Year in 2017, rushed for 600 yards this season and averaged 5.7 yards per carry while scoring two touchdowns. Crossley also caught seven passes for 102 yards out of the backfield.

Dillard, a 6-4, 210-pounder receiver from McKinney, Texas, led the Bears in receiving yards this season with 745 on 36 receptions and had a team-high seven touchdown receptions. He finished with four receptions longer than 50 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against Sam Houston State.

Garner, a 6-2, 235-pound linebacker from Thomasville, Ala. (Thomasville HS), was UCA’s fourth-leading tackler with 60 stops, including 32 solos, along with 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three forced fumbles. Garner had a season-high 10 tackles against Incarnate Word. Harvell, a 6-0, 205-pounder from Gurdon, Ark. (Gurdon HS), was a jack-of-all-trades for the Bears, finishing second in tackles (69), second in tackles for loss (11), tied for second in interceptions (2) and added two forced and two recovered fumbles.

Rochell, a 6-2, 176-pounder from Shreveport, La. (Fair Park HS), led the Bears with four interceptions, good for second in the Southland, and recorded 25 tackles and broke up six passes.

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