FRISCO, Texas — Nine Central Arkansas football players were named to the preseason all-conference team by the Southland Conference.
Thirty-five of the 52 Southland Conference football players who earned all-conference honors after the 2011 season return for the 2012 season and garner spots on the preseason all-conference teams, the league office announced Tuesday in advance of next week’s media day at L’Auberge du Lac Resort in Lake Charles, La.
UCA has three first-team honorees — running back Jackie Hinton, offensive lineman Dominique Allen and linebacker Seth Allison.
In 11 games last season for the Bears, Hinton led the team in rushing with 673 yards on 145 attempts while scoring four touchdowns. Hinton averaged 61.2 yards per contest on the ground to help UCA reach the postseason at the Division I level for the first time in school history. Allison was the leader on the defensive side for the Bears, recording 110 tackles, including 65 solo, while tallying 4.0 sacks on the year.
Allen was a first-team All-SLC selection last fall as a sophomore.
The Bears placed six members on the second team, including wide receivers Jesse Grandy and Dominique Croom, offensive lineman Corey Howard, kicker Eddie Camara, defensive lineman Matt Hornbuckle and defensive back Jestin Love.
Grandy and Croom were UCA’s Nos. 1-2 receivers last season, with Grandy catching 49 passes for 788 yards and nine touchdowns and Croom getting 38 for 518 and seven TDs.
Love had a team-high five interceptions and was a second-team All-SLC selection last fall. Camara was UCA’s leading scorer last season, making 14 of 19 field goals and 49 of 51 extra points to earn second-team all-conference honors. Hornbuckle had 41 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss for the Bears. Howard is a two-year starter in the offensive line and will be expected to lead a young group at that position this season.
Four Southland institutions have at least six athletes named to the preseason all-conference teams. Sam Houston State, which put together an undefeated regular season en route to winning the 2011 conference title, leads all universities with 19 selections, including a conference-best 11 first-team honorees. Stephen F. Austin and Central Arkansas each have nine all-conference selections. The Lumberjacks have four first-team members with the Bears next with three players on the first team. McNeese State is next with six all-conference picks, followed by Northwestern State and Nicholls State.
with four each. Southeastern Louisiana completes the preseason all-conference teams with one selection.
The Bears were 9-4 last season, losing to Montana in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.