FRISCO, Texas — The University of Central Arkansas Bears placed 11 players on the preseason All-Southland Conference football teams, released Thursday by the league office, the second-highest total in the league.
UCA, the defending conference champion, had four first-team selections and seven more second-team picks on the heels of last season's perfect 9-0 run through the league slate.
The first-team selections for the Bears include: senior defensive tackle Eric Jackson of Apopka, Florida; junior defensive end Chris Terrell of Pensacola, Florida; junior safety Juan Jackson of Gardendale, Alabama, and junior running back Carlos Blackman of Gosnell, Arkansas.
Eric Jackson and Terrell combined to total 38.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks for the No. 2 total and scoring defense in the SLC a year ago.
Jackson finished with 11 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. Terrell had 11 sacks and a league-leading 20.0 tackles for loss.
Terrell was also fourth in the league in forced fumbles with three.
Juan Jackson was UCA's second-leading tackler with 82 stops and was second on the team (10th in the SLC) with three interceptions.
Blackman was UCA's second-leading rusher with 770 yards on 173 carries (4.5 per carry) and scored a team-high 10 touchdowns to finish fourth in the league in that category.
The second-team selections for the Bears include: senior kick returner Cedric Battle of Wichita Falls, Texas; senior linebacker Raphael Garner of Thomasville, Alabama; senior defensive end Cardell Best of Little Elm, Texas; sophomore defensive end Nathan Grant of Carrollton, Texas, junior offensive lineman Hunter Watts of San Antonio, Texas; sophomore offensive lineman Adrian Harris of Tyler, Texas, and sophomore tight end Josh Nix of Tuscumbia, Alabama.
Battle finished fourth in the SLC in kickoff returns, averaging 23.5 yards per return.
He also led UCA in all-purpose yards (third in the SLC) with 220 rushing, 340 receiving, 39 on punt returns and 610 on kick returns for a average of 100.8 yards per game.
Garner was UCA's seventh-leading tackler and fourth-leading returning tackler. He totaled 47 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks and a 38-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in UCA's 38-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
Grant finished with 22 tackles as a backup last season, including 6.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, and also blocked a kick.
Best, coming off injury that put him out all of last season, was a second-team All-SLC selection in 2016 after recording 73 tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss as a junior.
Harris is the lone returning starter on the offensive line for the Bears, who had the No. 2 rushing, passing, scoring and total offense in the SLC a year ago.
Watts was a key contributor in that offensive line rotation, playing in all 12 games as a sophomore.
Nix caught three passes for 19 yards and played in 11 games for the Bears in 2017. UCA opens the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at Tulsa.
The first home game of the season for the Bears on "The Stripes" is Saturday, Sept. 8 against Murray State.
UCA's first-year head coach Nathan Brown, along with Terrell and Blackman, will represent the Bears at Southland Conference Media Day on July 19 in Houston, Texas.