CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - Ten Charleston Southern players were recognized on the 2018 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference teams, announced Tuesday at the Big South Football Media Day.
Senior defensive linemen Johnny Robinson and Solomon Brown, senior defensive back Shadarius Hopkins, senior punt returner Taz Lindsey, and juniors Kameron Brown (wide receiver), J.D. Sosebee (linebacker), and Kyle Reighard (punter) were all recognized on the Big South All-Conference team.
Robinson came into his own this season as the rising senior defensive tackle dominated the middle of the line of scrimmage for CSU in 2017. The Apopka, Fla. native finished third in the Big South with 6.5 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss. He recorded 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss over five conference games. Among his conference highlights includes 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the win over Gardner-Webb, as well as sacks against Monmouth and Liberty.
Solomon Brown transitioned from linebacker to defensive end in 2017 but kept up his All-Conference ways in earning Big South recognition. He was second among Big South defensive linemen with 5.8 tackles per game and finished eighth in the conference in sacks (3.5) and eighth in tackles for loss (8.0). Brown was at his best against the best with a season-high 11 tackles and a tackle for loss against Indiana, as well as a pair of 10 tackle games against both Gardner-Webb and Kennesaw State.
Hopkins backed up the preseason hype by finishing second in the Big South with 14 passes defensed in the 2017 season. A 5-10 cover corner, the Winnsboro, S.C. native had two interceptions and 12 breakups on the year. He closed out the regular season with an interception and a career-high five breakups against Liberty. Hopkins will be transitioning to free safety this season to provide a strong tandem on the back end with fellow senior Brandon Rowland.
Lindsey took over the primary kick return duties midway through the season and continued the strong history of CSU return men on his way to earning All-Conference recognition. The rising senior finished second in the Big South in punt return average with 10.0 yards per attempt. He returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown in CSU's win over Mississippi Valley State and paced the conference in yards per return in Big South-only games.
Kameron Brown led the Big South in yards per catch and was in the top 10 in the NCAA FCS individual rankings for the second consecutive season after averaging 22.1 yards per reception in 2017. The rising redshirt junior receiver posted four 100-plus yard receiving games including a career-high 123 yards on five receptions against Monmouth. He added an 87-yard touchdown reception in CSU's win over Mississippi Valley State.
Sosebee was a tackling machine on the CSU defense, finishing fourth in the Big South with 81 tackles on the season. The Gainesville, Ga. native recorded three double-digit tackling efforts this season and returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown against Point. The rising redshirt junior dominated conference competition averaging 8.6 tackles per game in conference play and led the Big South linebackers in tackles by nearly one full tackle per game.
Reighard led a dominant CSU punt unit that paced the conference and is currently sixth in the FCS in net punting with 39.09. He led the Big South with 20 punts inside the opponent 20-yard line and connected on a Big South-leading 11 punts over 50 yards on the year. He led the conference with an average of 41.4 yards per attempt. Reighard also finished second overall in the conference voting for Special Teams Player of the Year.
Rowland parlayed a strong redshirt junior season into earning conference honorable mention honors. The rising senior strong safety finished 10th overall in the Big South in tackles per game and fourth among defensive backs. He finished the season with nine games with at least five tackles. The Irmo, S.C. native capped the season by blocking a PAT against Liberty in the season finale that ended up being the difference in CSU's 20-19 win.
Tekac earned conference Honorable Mention honors heading into the 2018 season. The senior placekicker connected on a pair of game-winning field goals in the closing seconds against both Gardner-Webb and Liberty to secure CSU wins in 2017. Five of his seven field goals came from 40-plus yards, including converting a conference-best 49-yard attempt against Point.
Ray stepped onto the field as a redshirt freshman and made sure the CSU special teams unit did not skip a beat after replacing two-time All-American Joseph Smith. He was directly responsible for all special teams snaps, including the punt unit that finished the season sixth in FCS in net punting, as well as the field goal unit that converted last season attempts in wins over Gardner-Webb and Liberty. He didn't miss a snap all season and finished the year with a trio of tackles.