State Colleges

The five best football players at every position this season in the KCAC

Kansas Wesleyan senior Shaq Bradford is the nation’s top defensive linemen at the NAIA level. He recorded a nation-best 35 tackles for loss and 22 sacks last season for the Coyotes.
Kansas Wesleyan senior Shaq Bradford is the nation’s top defensive linemen at the NAIA level. He recorded a nation-best 35 tackles for loss and 22 sacks last season for the Coyotes. Courtesy

The majority of the football teams in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference start their season next Saturday.

In preparation for the 2019 season, the Eagle has studied the conference and come up with the five best players at each position in the KCAC. Here are the picks:

Quarterbacks

1. Johnny Feauto, Kansas Wesleyan senior (6-0, 186)

Powered one of the nation’s top offenses, completing 63% of passes, throwing for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns to six interceptions, while also adding 466 rushing yards and six more touchdowns.

2. Cedrick Phillips, Sterling senior (6-0, 200)

Injured in the 2017 season opener and didn’t play last season, but was a second-team NAIA All-American in 2016 after throwing for 3,406 yards on 66% accuracy, 37 touchdowns to nine interceptions and also rushing for 1,009 yards and 11 touchdowns.

3. Connor Kaegi, Ottawa senior (6-7)

Threw for 1,956 yards on 60% accuracy and 25 touchdowns to nine interceptions, while also adding 295 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

4. Ed Crouch, McPherson senior (6-3, 206)

A dual threat, as he threw for 2,122 yards and rushed for 567 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Completed 56% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

5. John Jacobs III, Avila sophomore (6-1, 215)

Played the first seven games before an injury ended his freshman season. Threw for 1,310 yards on 51% accuracy with 16 touchdowns to five interceptions, while also leading the team in rushing with 454 yards (5.3 average) and 11 touchdowns.

Running backs

1. Demarco Prewitt, Kansas Wesleyan senior (5-10, 213)

Earned first-team NAIA All-American status after leading the nation with 2,371 rushing yards (5.5 average) and 38 touchdowns. Also a threat catching out of the backfield, as he added 34 catches for 417 yards (12.3 average) and three more touchdowns.

2. Keyshawn Wyatt, Southwestern junior (5-5, 165)

The diminutive back had a breakout season, rushing for 1,313 yards on a 6.7 average with 14 touchdowns and also added 11 catches for 105 receiving yards. Earned first-team all-KCAC honors and honorable mention NAIA All-American status.

3. Camryn Harrison, Bethel junior (5-9, 170)

Primed for a big season in the second year in the flexbone after averaging 9.9 yards per touch last season. He rushed for 566 yards with four touchdowns, then added six catches for 78 yards through the air.

4. Demontrel Wilson, Saint Mary sophomore (5-10, 250)

The bowling ball in the backfield went for 632 yards on a 4.4 average and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. Also added 11 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown receiving.

5. Cevon Mitchell-Ford, Sterling senior (5-9, 190)

Averaged better than six yards per carry, rushing for 565 yards and scoring four touchdowns on the ground.

Receivers

1. Charlie Simmons, Kansas Wesleyan junior (6-1, 200)

First-team all-KCAC pick at tight end after catching 57 catches for a team-best 1,037 yards (18.2 average) and 13 touchdowns.

2. Trenton Poe-Evans, Kansas Wesleyan senior (6-2, 203)

Another first-team all-KCAC pick from Wesleyan’s receiving corps, as he caught a team-best 59 balls for 955 yards (16.2 average) and team-high 14 touchdowns.

3. Edrick Gonzales, Southwestern senior (5-7, 165)

The team’s top receiving target after hauling in 43 passes for 709 yards (16.5 average) and nine touchdowns.

4. Eric Butler, Sterling senior (5-9, 185)

A top athlete who will transition to wide receiver after being Sterling’s quarterback last season when he threw for 1,264 yards and rushed for 704 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.

5. Tanner Galliart, Bethel senior (6-3, 210)

A physical wide out who became quarterback Zach Esau’s favorite target last season, turning 27 catches into 535 yards (19.8 average) and six touchdowns.

Offensive Linemen

1. Dustin Rivera, Southwestern senior (6-0, 270)

Earned first-team NAIA All-American status at the center position after being the anchor of Southwestern’s offensive line that helped pave the way for Wyatt to rush for more than 1,300 yards on the ground.

2. Eli Smith, Kansas Wesleyan senior (6-7, 306)

Smith is one of the top returning tackles in the nation, as he protects Feauto’s blind side at left tackle and returns after earning first-team all-KCAC status last season.

3. Darrius Brown, Kansas Wesleyan junior (5-11, 319)

Another big body up front for Kansas Wesleyan, as he is the top guard returning in the conference after becoming a first-team all-KCAC pick.

4. Layne Becker, Sterling junior (6-2, 225)

The former Mulvane standout became one of the conference’s top lineman last season and returns as a second-team all-KCAC pick.

5. Chijioke Eguzo, Avila senior (6-2, 260)

Eguzo is back to anchor Avila’s line after earning second-team all-KCAC honors.

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Defensive Linemen

1. Shaq Bradford, Kansas Wesleyan senior (5-10, 223)

The most dominant defensive linemen last season from his end position, earning first-team NAIA All-American status after 35 of his 56 tackles went for losses and he finished with 22 sacks.

2. Jacob Garcia, Ottawa junior (6-0)

Exploded onto the scene during his sophomore season after recording eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 56 tackles at his end position. Was also an honorable mention NAIA All-American pick.

3. Josh Lauese, Tabor senior (6-0, 245)

Converted linebacker who was a first-team all-KCAC pick despite playing in only seven games last season, recording nine tackles for loss, two and a half sacks and 24 tackles.

4. Robby Garcia, Friends junior (5-11, 210)

The Bishop Carroll product is quickly becoming one of the conference’s top linemen. He recorded 50 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three sacks last season.

5. Josh West, Avila senior

Was an honorable mention all-KCAC pick last season after finishing with 21 tackles, four and a half tackles for loss and four sacks.

Linebackers

1. Grant Torgerson, Southwestern junior (5-10, 220)

Came away with honorable mention NAIA All-American status following a breakout sophomore season where he recorded a team-best 111 tackles to go along with 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception.

2. Colby Johnson, Ottawa junior (5-10)

Led the team in tackles with 90 on top of five and a half tackles for loss and two and a half sacks to earn first-team all-KCAC honors.

3. Jamad Thomas, Avila senior (5-10, 225)

Only played in three games before an injury took him out, but still recorded 32 tackles and earned the preseason first-team nod from coaches.

4. Jasper Chavez, Kansas Wesleyan senior (5-10, 225)

An experienced big hitter in the middle for Wesleyan’s defense, as Chavez earned first-team all-KCAC last season after posting 71 tackles and two tackles for loss.

5. Josh Seabolt, Bethel sophomore (5-9, 210)

Became a monster in the middle right away for Bethel during his freshman season where he led the team in tackles with 93, including seven and a half tackles for loss and two sacks.

Defensive Backs

1. Kwame Sexton, Sterling junior (6-0, 185)

The free safety was everywhere for Sterling last season, recording 101 tackles, four tackles for loss and six interceptions en route to honorable mention NAIA All-American status.

2. Ryon Holmes, Avila senior (6-2, 190)

Another honorable mention NAIA All-American, he came through with 53 tackles, including two for a loss and one sack, to go along with four interceptions and 12 passes broken up.

3. Nick Holmes, Saint Mary junior (5-11, 207)

Came away with two games with three interceptions and three multi-interception games en route to a season that saw Holmes pick off a conference-best 11 passes. He also recorded 61 tackles at safety.

4. Caleb Devine, Tabor junior (6-2, 185)

The top cornerback on the team recorded five interceptions to go along with 43 tackles, as he earned second-team all-KCAC honors.

5. Deauntre Roberts, Bethany senior (5-9, 175)

A bright spot for Bethany last season after he earned second-team all-KCAC status when he recorded 22 tackles and four interceptions at cornerback.

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