Record 12 Texans named D2CCA All-Region, Manning named Offensive Player of Year

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STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton Football can add another school record to its 2019 season as a program-best 12 players were named D2CCA All-Region.

Harlon Hill finalist Zimari Manning was also named the Offensive Player of the Year out of Super Region 4 – the first to win the award in school history.

The first team award winners are QB Ben Holmes, RB Daniel McCants, WR Zimari Manning, DL B.J. Jefferson, LB Ronnell Wilson, and DB Prince Robinson. Second team winners for the Texans are a trio of offensive lineman: Cody Hayes, Noah Perez, and J.P. Pierre. Also, three defensive players: DL Jordan Wells and safeties Benjie Franklin and Jai Edwards.

It’s the first D2CCA all-region selection for five of the six players with Edwards claiming first team honors as a junior.

The Texans landed six players on the first team and six on the second team. The 12 all-region players are double of the second most by a team in the region (6, Colorado School of Mines) and four times the amount of anyone else in the Lone Star Conference (3, Texas A&M-Commerce). The Lone Star Conference landed the most all-region selections at 22, followed by the RMAC with 13.

Manning has enjoyed the most decorated offensive season in school history as he’s the first player in school history to be named a Harlon Hill Finalist and now the D2CCA Super Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year. He’s also been an AFCA first team All-American, the LSC Wide Receiver of the Year and first team All-LSC. Manning had the best season by a wide-out in the country as the senior led all of college football at any level in the regular season in yards and touchdowns. Manning finished with 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 68 receptions. Manning set the Tarleton record for single-season yards and touchdowns and has tied the LSC record for TDs in a season.

Holmes guided Tarleton to back-to-back undefeated Lone Star Conference Championships while having the single-best statistical season for a quarterback in program history. Holmes was named the Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a first team All-LSC quarterback. Holmes finished his career 23-2 as a starter in his two seasons as a Texan. As a senior, he threw for an LSC-leading 3,338 yards on just 196 completions and 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He completed 58 percent of his passes for a 175 passing efficiency, which ranked second in the nation. Homes set the Tarleton school record for touchdown passes in a season.

McCants ran for a career-high 1,489 yards on just 164 carries and 15 touchdowns en route to the Lone Star Conference Offensive Back of the Year and first team All-LSC honors. In the regular season, McCants ranked fifth in the nation in rushing yards and led the nation with 8.9 yards per carry while becoming the second player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Tarleton Hall of Famer Derrick Ross. McCants finished his four-year Texan career ranked second all-time in rushing with 3,216 yards.

On the defensive side of the first teamers, Jefferson had one of the top seasons by a defender in the country. Jefferson was the Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Year and runner up for the Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year award, becoming the first in school history to be a finalist for the award. The first team All-LSC defensive lineman and three-time LSC Defensive Player of the Week winner ranked No. 3 in the nation in tackles for loss with 25.5. Jefferson has also posted a team-leading 95 tackles, 8 sacks, 13 QB hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one recovery this season.

After being named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Back of the Year, Robinson can now add first team All-Region defensive back to his resume. The senior from Houston led the nation with three interception returns for scores and has four total interceptions this season. Robinson led the LSC with 17 passes defended and 13 pass breakups and added 57 total tackles for a pass defense that ranked No. 3 nationally in team passing efficiency on defense at 90.2.

Wilson, a first team All-LSC selection, ranked in the top 10 in LSC in tackles with 81 total tackles, 7 TFL, 2 interceptions. Wilson was a team leader on the Tarleton defense that ranked top five in the nation in team tackles for a loss (No. 2; 10.9/game), team passing efficiency defense (No. 3; 90.22/game), and guided the Tarleton defense that also ranked top 15 in the nation in sacks (No. 9; 3.36/game), scoring defense (No. 13; 15.9/game), and rushing defense (No. 13; 92.0/game).

The Tarleton offensive line trio of Hayes, Perez and Pierre helped the Texans become the No. 2 offense in the nation and the OL ranked eighth in the nation during the regular season with fewest sacks allowed. All three were named first team All-LSC selections as well, and it was the first time since 2016 that three OL were named first team all-conference in the same season. The Texan lineman helped the offense account for 45 points per game and 531.7 yards per game, including 3,207 total rushing yards. The Texan offense amassed 600 yards of offense three times in a game this season, which was a school record.

Wells was already named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year and now he’s an all-region award winner too. A first team All-LSC selection, Wells ranked in the top 5 in the LSC and top 15 in nation in tackles for loss with 19. The junior was the team leader in QB hurries (17) to go with 50 tackles, 19 TFL, and 6.0 sacks along with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Edwards, a two-time all-American as a junior, was also a first team All-LSC selection in his senior year. One of the hardest-hitting safeties in the country, Edwards totaled 76 tackles, including 43 solo, 8.5 TFL, 1.0 sack, three QB hurries and four passes defended. Edwards was also the Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season. Edwards helped control the Texan secondary that ranked in the top 15 in scoring defense and pass efficiency.

In his first season with the Texans, Franklin has been automatic as an all-conference safety and now all-region selection. Franklin stepped into a role as a ball-hawking safety on one of the elite pass-defense units in the country. Franklin tied for the team lead with four interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown. He was top 10 in LSC in interceptions per game (0.4) and passes defended (1.0/game). Franklin totaled 38 tackles, 11 passes defended, and seven breakups on the year.


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1 Comment

  1. As a proud TEXAN and Tarleton alum, I think every THE TEXAN player is Totally Awesome!!!!
    Ain’t football 🏈 great.

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