Georgia Southern’s Fritz Captures Conference Coach of the Year

Georgia Southern Eagles Fly into Spring Practice (Image 1)


Fritz Voted 2014 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
Eleven Eagle student-athletes earn honors in first year in FBS and league

NEW ORLEANS – Georgia Southern’s Willie Fritz was voted the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year by his coaching peers and members of the media as the Eagle Football team claimed the 2014 conference crown, going a perfect 8-0 in its first year of membership in the league. The Sun Belt Conference announced the selections today for its all-conference team with 11 Eagle student-athletes recognized for honors following this historic inaugural year.

Sophomore running back Matt Breida, seniors Manrey Saint-Amour and Garrett Frye, both offensive linemen, and senior linebacker Edwin Jackson, were chosen for first-team All-Sun Belt Conference accolades. Sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison and junior safety Matt Dobson were placed on the second team.

Added to the Sun Belt All-Newcomer team was Georgia Southern redshirt-freshman running back L.A. Ramsby. Four more Eagles, senior offensive lineman Logan Daves, sophomore defensive lineman Jay Ellison, senior safety Deion Stanley and junior linebacker Antwione Williams earned honorable mention recognition.

“Everyone contributed to our success in this championship season and these honors today represent what we accomplished as team,” said Eagle Head Coach Willie Fritz. “I couldn’t be prouder of our players and our coaching staff for their commitment and effort as we started our journey this year.”

For Fritz, it is his second conference Coach of the Year honor after his 2011 Sam Houston State team went undefeated in Southland Conference play with a 7-0 record and advanced to the national championship game. With the nine wins against only three losses in 2014, his career record improves to 185-70 for a winning percentage of 72.5.

The Sun Belt Conference’s coaches and a member of the media representing each team voted on the list of candidates for the teams with points assigned for rankings for each position. The first and second teams are compromised of 12 offensive players (1 QB, 3 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, 5 OL), 12 defensive players (4 DL, 3 LB, 4 DB, 1 at large selection) and 4 special team players (K, P, Return Specialist and All Purpose).

A Doak Walker Award semifinalist, Breida led both the nation and Sun Belt in rushing yards per carry at 8.7 and ranked at the top of the Sun Belt rushing chart at 123.8 yards.  per game. He had more rushing touchdowns of 50-yards or more than anyone in the nation (7) and had the second-highest rushing touchdowns in the league with 17. Paving the way for the nation’s most potent rushing offense, Georgia Southern’s offensive line, with 12-game starters Frye and Saint-Amour, helped the Eagles rack up 381.1 yards per game and two of the top four single-game rushing totals in FBS in 2014. Georgia Southern also set a Sun Belt Conference record for rushing TDs with 55 and added 1,409 yards to the league’s previous single-season rushing record with 4,573 in 2014. The Eagles’ leading tackler for the second-straight year, Jackson totaled 100 on the year and had his first first career interception at South Alabama, returning it for 48 yards to the USA 12 to set up Eagles’ final score in their first-ever conference win.

Two of the toughest Eagles landed on All-Sun Belt Conference second teams with Kevin Ellison the pick for quarterback and Matt Dobson at the defensive back position. Ellison, twice named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week, crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark with 1,096 yards to go along with 1,001 passing yards on the season. He had one of his best games vs. non-conference foe Georgia Tech, directing the Eagles to 28 unanswered points and accounting for 212 yards of total offense. Dobson helped the Eagles preserve the win with a pass break up inside the one-yard line the final seconds against ULM. He also had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, one of his two such on the year, to set a Sun Belt Conference mark for longest return.

L.A. Ramsby earned a spot on the All-Newcomer team, scoring 12 touchdowns in his first campaign in 2014 and finishing third in rushing behind Breida and Ellison with 691 yards. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and added 100 receiving yards on six catches.

Logan Daves, senior offensive lineman, and three Eagle defenders, sophomore defensive lineman Jay Ellison, senior safety Deion Stanley, and junior linebacker Antwione Williams earned honorable mention recognition. Daves started in games in each of his four years as a key contributor to the Eagles’ offense. A four-year starter, Stanley was among the conference leaders with three interceptions this season and finishes his career with seven and 209 total tackles. The leading tackler on the defensive line with 36, two-year starter Jay Ellison also had two sacks and four tackles for loss this season. Antwione Williams, back after missing the 2013 season, had 66 tackles for the second and a team-best eight tackles for loss.

The complete list of All-Sun Belt Conference honors is below:

Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year

Elijah McGuire (UL Lafayette, So., RB)

Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year

Elijah McGuire (UL Lafayette, So., RB)

Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year

David Mayo (Texas State, Senior, LB)

Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year

Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State, Fr., QB)

Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year

Willie Fritz, Georgia Southern

All-Sun Belt Conference First Team Offense

Fredi Knighten (Arkansas State, Jr., QB)

Matt Breida (Georgia Southern, So., RB)

Elijah McGuire (UL Lafayette, So., RB)

Donovan Harden (Georgia State, Jr., WR)

Joshua McCain (Idaho, Sr., WR)

Rashon Ceaser (UL Monroe, Jr., WR)

Brad Miller (Texas State, Sr., TE)

Kendall Lamm (Appalachian State, Sr., OL)

Garrett Frye (Georgia Southern, Sr., OL)

Manrey Saint-Amour (Georgia Southern, Sr., OL)

Daniel Quave (UL Lafayette, Sr., OL)

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke (New Mexico State, Sr., OL)

All- Sun Belt Conference First Team Defense

Justin Hamilton (UL Lafayette, Sr., DL)

Christian Ringo (UL Lafayette, Sr., DL)

Gerrand Johnson (UL Monroe, Jr., DL)

Michael Odiari (Texas State, Sr., DL)

Qushaun Lee (Arkansas State, Sr., LB)

Edwin Jackson (Georgia Southern, Sr., LB)

David Mayo (Texas State, Sr., LB)

Doug Middleton (Appalachian State, Jr., DB)

Artez Brown (Arkansas State, Sr., DB)

Mitch Lane (UL Monroe, Jr., DB)

Montres Kitchens (Troy, Jr., DB)

David Mims (Texas State, Jr., DB)

All- Sun Belt Conference First Team Special Teams

Justin Manton (UL Monroe, Sr., PK)

Austin Rehkow (Idaho, So., P)

Chandler Worthy (Troy, Sr., RS)

Elijah McGuire (UL Lafayette, So., All Purpose)

All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team Offense

Kevin Ellison (Georgia Southern, So., QB)

Marcus Cox (Appalachian State, So., RB)

Michael Gordon (Arkansas State, Jr. RB)

Ajalen Holley (UL Monroe, So., WR)

Teldrick Morgan (New Mexico State, So., WR)

Shavarez Smith (South Alabama, Sr., WR)

Joel Ruiz (Georgia State, Jr., TE)

Mike Marboe (Idaho, Sr., OL)

Mykhael Quave (UL Lafayette, Jr., OL)

Ucambre Williams (South Alabama, Sr., OL)

Terrence Jones (Troy, Sr., OL)

Adrian Bellard (Texas State, Jr., OL)

All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team Defense

Ronald Blair (Appalachian State, Jr., DL)

Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (Arkansas State, Fr., DL)

Jerome McClain (South Alabama, Sr., DL)

Theo Rich (South Alabama, Sr., DL)

John Law (Appalachian State, So., LB)

Joseph Peterson (Georgia State, Jr., LB)

Hunter Kissinger (UL Monroe, Jr., LB)

Maleki Harris (South Alabama, Sr., LB)

Matt Dobson (Georgia Southern, JR., DB)

Corey Trim (UL Lafayette, Sr., DB)

Terrell Brigham (South Alabama, Sr., DB)

Craig Mager (Texas State, SR., DB)

All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team Special Teams

Hunter Stover (UL Lafayette, Sr., PK)

Justin Manton (UL Monroe, Sr., P)

Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State, Fr., RS)

Chandler Worthy (Troy, Sr., All Purpose)

All-Sun Belt Conference Honorable Mention

Drew Bailey (Appalachian State, Sr., TE)

Parker Collins (Appalachian State, So., OL)

Kennan Gilchrist (Appalachian State, So., LB)

Joel Ross (Appalachian State, Sr., DB)

Tres Houston (Arkansas State, Jr., WR)

Chris Stone (Arkansas State, Jr., DL)

Andrew Tryon (Arkansas State, Sr., DB)

Xavier Woodson (Arkansas State, So., LB)

Logan Daves (Georgia Southern, Sr., OL)
Deion Stanley (Georgia Southern Sr., S)
Jay Ellison (Georgia Southern, So., DL)
Antwione Williams (Georgia Southern, Jr., LB)

Nick Arbuckle (Georgia State, Jr., QB)

Tim Wynn (Georgia State, Sr., OL)

LynQuez Blair (Georgia State, Sr., WR)

Robert Davis (Georgia State, So., WR)

Marc Millan (Idaho, Jr., LB)

Quinton Bradley (Idaho, Jr., DE)

Matt Linehan (Idaho, Fr., QB)

Elijhaa Penny (Idaho, Jr., RB)

Dominique Tovell (UL Lafayette, Jr., LB)

Larry Pettis (UL Lafayette, Sr., TE)

Terrance Broadway(UL Lafayette, Sr., QB)

Terry Johnson (UL Lafayette, Jr., OL)

Trey Caldwell (UL Monroe, Jr., DB)

Kenzee Jackson (UL Monroe, Sr., WR)

Michael Johnson (UL Monroe, Sr., LB)

Ray Stovall (UL Monroe, Grad., LB)

Rodney Butler (New Mexico State, So., LB)

Winston Rose (New Mexico State, Sr., DB)

Larry Rose III (New Mexico State, Fr., RB)

Derek Ibekwe (New Mexico State, Fr., LB)

Chris May (South Alabama, Jr., OL)

Melvin Meggs (South Alabama, Sr., OL)

Jesse Kelley (South Alabama, Sr., DL)

Montell Garner (South Alabama, Sr., DB)

Will Johnson (Texas State, Sr., P)

Tyler Jones (Texas State, So., QB)

Robert Lowe (Texas State, Jr., RB)

Ryan Melton (Texas State, So., OL )

Dalton Bennett (Troy, Jr., OL)

Brandon Burks (Troy, Jr., RB)

Tyler Roberts (Troy, Jr., DL)

Bryan Holmes (Troy, Jr., WR)

Sun Belt Conference Newcomer Team          

Beau Nunn (Appalachian State, Fr., OL)

Dijon Paschal (Arkansas State, Fr., WR)

Nick Arbuckle (Georgia State, Jr., QB)

L.A. Ramsby (Georgia Southern, Fr., RB)

Jordan Rose (Idaho, Fr., OL)

Tracy Walker (UL Lafayette, Fr., DB)

Pete Thomas (UL Monroe, Grad, QB)

Larry Rose III (New Mexico State, Fr., RB)

Braedon Bowman (South Alabama, Jr., TE)

CJ Best (Texas State, Jr., WR)

Brandon Silvers (Troy, Fr., QB)

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