NEW ORLEANS — Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida and Darien Foreman were named to the first-team All-Sun Belt football team, while Kevin Ellison, Jay Ellison, Matt Dobson and Derek Keaton earned second-team honors in the league’s preseason coaches vote, which was announced Monday.
A 2015 Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award candidate, 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 in 2014.
He had more rushing touchdowns of 50 yards or more than anyone in the nation (seven) and had the second-highest rushing touchdowns in the league with 17. He finished with 1,485 yards en route to earning first-team All-Sun Belt accolades.
Foreman started all 12 games on the offensive line and helped pave the way for the nation’s most-potent rushing offense, which racked up 381.1 yards per game and two of the top four single-game rushing totals in the Football Bowl Subdivision 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.
A second-team All-Sun Belt selection a season ago, quarterback Kevin Ellison twice named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week, registered 1,096 rushing yards to go along with 1,001 passing yards. Keaton has been named to the preseason All-Sun Belt Team as a kick returner by multiple publications and averaged 27.81 yards a return a season ago.
A preseason candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy and the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Dobson, a safety, finished his junior campaign with 62 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups to earn second-team All-Sun Belt honors.
He helped the Eagles preserve the victory and win the Sun Belt title with a pass breakup inside the 1-yard line in the final seconds against Louisiana-Monroe in last year’s season finale.
He also had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown at Texas State, one of two pick-sixes on the year, to set a Sun Belt Conference mark for longest return and tie the record for the longest play in Georgia Southern history.
Jay Ellison led the Eagles’ defensive line with 36 tackles (24 solo) in 12 games, including four tackles for loss and two sacks, to earn All-Sun Belt honorable mention honors.
According to sunbeltsports.org, the league’s coaches picked Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elijah McGuire as the 2015 preseason offensive player of the year and Texas State’s David Mims as defensive player of the year.