NOTE: Since the OVC chose to not release an official preseason poll, the OVC re-released their preseason All-OVC team this week which was publicly released last July. This is a reprint of that release along with a full 2021 Spring schedule for the OVC here on College Sports Journal, as well as team pages for every team in the OVC, which includes a news feed, team schedule, current standings, and the latest in each team’s Twitter feed.
Austin Peay senior wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson and senior nickelback Kordell Jackson were named the 2020 OVC Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in a vote of by the league’s head football coaches and communications directors.
Austin Peay led the way with seven total selections, while Jacksonville State finished with six, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin had five apiece, Southeast Missouri had four, Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and Tennessee State had three each and Eastern Illinois had two. Returning players who were first-team All-OVC selections last year (seven in total) were automatic selections to the preseason team this year. The squad also included 15 players who were second-team picks in 2019. Of the 38 total selections, 20 were seniors, 16 were juniors and two were sophomores.
The offensive unit was led by Wilson, an All-American selection a year ago. In 2019 Wilson caught 89 passes (the ninth-most in OVC history) for 1,564 yards (first nationally and the second-most in OVC history) and 15 touchdowns (fifth-most in OVC history). Wilson had 100 or more receiving yards in eight games as the Governors advanced to the FCS Quarterfinals.
The offense also included four other wide receivers in Austin Peay senior Baniko Harley (53 catches, 839 yards, 7 TDs), Murray State junior LaMartez Brooks (47 catches, 819 yards, 7 TDs), Southeast Missouri junior Aaron Alston (51 catches, 687 yards, 4 TDs) and Eastern Illinois junior Isaiah Hill (56 catches, 560 yards, 4 TDs). The squad also had two quarterbacks in Jacksonville State senior Zerrick Cooper (260-of-439, 3404 yards, 28 TDs, 320 rushing yards, 6 rush TDs) and Tennessee Tech junior Bailey Fisher (231-of-375, 2643 yards, 21 TDs, 489 rushing yards, 11 rush TDs) and two running backs in UT Martin senior Peyton Logan (784 yards, 6 TDs) and Eastern Kentucky junior Alonzo Booth (673 yards, 14 TDs). The offense also included UT Martin sophomore fullback Davin Dyal (5 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD) and junior TE/WR Colton Dowell (38 catches, 765 yards, 4 TDs), Jacksonville State senior tight end Trae Barry (25 catches, 330 yards, 1 TD) and eight offensive linemen in Austin Peay senior Blake Mitchell, Eastern Kentucky juniors Tucker Schroeder and Graham Ashkettle, Jacksonville State junior Michael Shaddix, Tennessee State senior Cam Durley, Southeast Missouri senior JaChai Baker, Tennessee Tech senior Mike Rhoades and UT Martin senior Aries Davis.
The defensive unit was led by Jackson, who was named the FCS ADA National Defensive Back of the Year in 2019. Jackson was also an unanimous All-American selection, marking the first consensus All-American for the APSU program since 2002 after tallying seven interceptions, netting 47 tackles and forcing two fumbles. He scored three touchdowns (two interceptions, one fumble return) and was a key part of an Austin Peay unit that ranked 12th nationally in total defense (307.5 yards/game).
In addition to Jackson, the defensive back group included Tennessee State senior Nick Harper Jr. (57 tackles, 2 INT, 14 PBU), Jacksonville State junior Yul Gowdy (46 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1 INT, 6 PBU), UT Martin senior JaQuez Akins (92 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT, 6 PBU, 2 FF, 2 FR) and Southeast Missouri senior Bydarrius Knighten (75 tackles, 3 INT, 4 PBU). The defensive line included Austin Peay senior Josephus Smith (50 tackles, 18.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks) and junior John Wesley Whiteside (53 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 6 QBH), UT Martin senior Austin Pickett (38 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 7 QBH), Tennessee Tech senior Chris Tucker (56 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 3 FR) and Jacksonville State junior DJ Coleman (56 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 18 QBH) while the linebackers included Murray State senior Anthony Koclanakis (124 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FR), Eastern Illinois senior Dytarious Johnson (67 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 4 FF, 2 FR), Jacksonville State junior Zack Woodard (96 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU), Austin Peay junior Jack McDonald (116 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF) and Tennessee Tech junior Tai Carter (38 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 5 PBU, 1 FF, 2 FR).
The specialists included Southeast Missouri senior kicker Kendrick Tiller (16-of-22 FGs, Long of 55, 40-of-45 PATs, 88 points), Tennessee State junior punter Kaleb Mosley (42.2 yards/punt, Long of 64, 12 inside 20-yard line), Tennessee Tech sophomore kick return specialist Metrius Fleming (26.5 yards/return, 1 TD) and Murray State senior punt return specialist Malik Honeycutt (27.0 yards/return, 1 TD in 2018).
2020 Preseason All-OVC Football Team
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: DeAngelo Wilson (WR), Austin Peay
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kordell Jackson (NB), Austin Peay
QB – Zerrick Cooper, Jacksonville State
QB – Bailey Fisher, Tennessee Tech
RB – Peyton Logan, UT Martin
RB – Alonzo Booth, Eastern Kentucky
FB – Davin Dyal, UT Martin
WR – DeAngelo Wilson, Austin Peay
WR – Baniko Harley, Austin Peay
WR – LaMartez Brooks, Murray State
WR – Aaron Alston, Southeast Missouri
WR – Isaiah Hill, Eastern Illinois
TE/WR – Colton Dowell, UT Martin
TE – Trae Barry, Jacksonville State
OL – Blake Mitchell, Austin Peay
OL – Aries Davis, UT Martin
OL – Tucker Schroeder, Eastern Kentucky
OL – Mike Rhoades, Tennessee Tech
OL – Graham Ashkettle, Eastern Kentucky
OL – Michael Shaddix, Jacksonville State
OL – Cam Durley, Tennessee State
OL – JaChai Baker, Southeast Missouri
DE – Chris Tucker, Tennessee Tech
DT – Josephus Smith, Austin Peay
DT – John Wesley Whiteside, Austin Peay
DT – Austin Pickett, UT Martin
DE – DJ Coleman, Jacksonville State
OLB – Dytarious Johnson, Eastern Illinois
ILB – Anthony Koclanakis, Murray State
ILB – Zack Woodard, Jacksonville State
ILB – Jack McDonald, Austin Peay
OLB – Tai Carter, Tennessee Tech
CB – Nick Harper Jr., Tennessee State
CB – Yul Gowdy, Jacksonville State
S – JaQuez Akins, UT Martin
S – Bydarrius Knighten, Southeast Missouri
NB – Kordell Jackson, Austin Peay