Jacksonville State University Gamecocks

The STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team was released on Monday and three Gamecocks found themselves on the first team.

Defensive End Darius Jackson, safety Marlon Bridges and offensive lineman Justin Lea each were each named First Team Preseason All-Americans by the organization that produces the FCS Media Poll every week.

Jackson and Bridges were named All-Americans by STATS last season, while Lea was on HERO Sports All-America Team at season's end. It marks the first major All-America Team release of the 2017 preseason. Only one other OVC player, Tennessee State kicker Lane Clark, was on the First Team released on Monday.

Jackson enters his senior season after earning OVC Defensive Player of the Year honors with high expectations. The Bessemer native was on every All-America Team in 2016, earning first-team honors from the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He leads a Gamecock defense that returns eight starters from a unit that ranked fourth nationally in total defense, fifth in rushing defense and seventh in scoring defense.

Jackson was one of the nation's top pass rushers in 2016, leading the OVC and ranking 16th nationally in sacks per game with 0.83. He ended the season with 10 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss, both tops in the league.

Through just three seasons in a Gamecock uniform, Jackson has already made his mark in the record books. He holds the school's career records for both sacks (20.5) and tackles for a loss (40.0) with one year of eligibility remaining.

Bridges is another key returnee on that Gamecock defense that earned all-America mentions a year ago. The sophomore from Lanett was a Freshman All-American by HERO Sports and was a third-team All-American by STATS after his impressive freshman campaign that saw him named the OVC's Freshman of the Year.

He led the Gamecocks with 87 tackles in his first year of collegiate action, starting every game at safety and earning first-team All-OVC honors at seasons end. He was one of the top players in the nation in terms of forcing turnovers in 2016. Bridges led the nation with five forced fumbles and was third among all freshmen with four interceptions. His nine takeaways led the OVC.

Lea, a senior from Henagar, earned first-team All-OVC and third-team All-America honors from HERO Sports after his junior season. Not only was Lea an All-American on the field, but he was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team for his 3.92 GPA as an emergency management and geography major, which he earned his degree in December.

He started in each of JSU's 12 games in 2016, helping lead an offensive line that paved the way for the top offense and rushing offense in the OVC. Jax State rolled up 434 yards per game, 250.6 per game on the ground. Lea has started all 38 games of his JSU career.

2017 STATS FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB - Jeremiah Briscoe, senior, 6-3, 220, Sam Houston State

RB - Chase Edmonds, senior, 5-9, 210, Fordham

RB - Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, junior, 5-9, 199, Albany

FB - Joe Protheroe, senior, 6-0, 225, Cal Poly

WR - Justin Watson, senior, 6-3, 210, Penn

WR - Jake Wieneke, senior, 6-4, 215, South Dakota State

TE - Dallas Goedert, senior, 6-5, 250, South Dakota State

OL - Justin Lea, senior, 6-4, 290, Jacksonville State

OL - Jacob Ohnesorge, senior, 6-3, 285, South Dakota State

OL - Brandon Parker, senior, 6-7, 299, North Carolina A&T

OL - Timon Parris, senior, 6-5, 310, Stony Brook

OL - Aaron Stinnie, senior, 6-5, 290, James Madison

DEFENSE

DL - Pat Afriyie, senior, 6-2, 235, Colgate

DL - Anthony Ellis, senior, 6-1, 245, Charleston Southern

DL - P.J. Hall, senior, 6-1, 280, Sam Houston State

DL - Darius Jackson, senior, 6-3, 237, Jacksonville State

LB - Nick DeLuca, senior, 6-3, 248, North Dakota State

LB - Darius Leonard, senior, 6-3, 220, South Carolina State

LB - Christian Rozeboom, sophomore, 6-2, 220, South Dakota State

LB - Brett Taylor, senior, 6-2, 230, Western Illinois

DB - Mike Basile, senior, 6-1, 200, Monmouth

DB - Marlon Bridges, sophomore, 6-1, 210, Jacksonville State

DB - Cole Reyes, senior, 6-2, 215, North Dakota

DB - Rob Rolle, senior, 6-0, 190, Villanova

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK - Lane Clark, senior, 5-11, 170, Tennessee State

P - Ian Berryman, junior, 6-0, 205, Western Carolina

LS - James Fisher, senior, 6-2, 216, North Dakota State

KR - John Santiago, junior, 5-9, 180, North Dakota

PR - Khris Gardin, senior, 5-7, 165, North Carolina A&T

AP - John Lovett, senior, 6-3, 225, Princeton

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB - Gage Gubrud, junior, 6-2, 195, Eastern Washington

RB - Corey Avery, senior, 5-10, 190, Sam Houston State

RB - Detrez Newsome, senior, 5-10, 210, Western Carolina

FB - Anthony Manzo-Lewis, senior, 6-2, 245, Albany

WR - Emmanuel Butler, senior, 6-3, 210, Northern Arizona

WR - Kamron Lewis, junior, 6-4, 195, Saint Francis

WR - Troy Pelletier, senior, 6-3, 205, Lehigh

TE - Andrew Vollert, senior, 6-5, 245, Weber State

OL - Daniel Cooney, junior, 6-8, 315, San Diego

OL - Ben Huss, senior, 6-2, 307, Duquesne

OL - Jacob Judd, senior, 6-3, 300, Western Illinois

OL - Stockton Mallet, senior, 6-3, 307, Central Arkansas

OL - Skyler Phillips, senior, 6-2, 322, Idaho State

DEFENSE

DL - Andrew Ankrah, senior, 6-4, 234, James Madison

DL - Miles Brown, junior, 6-1, 310, Wofford

DL - Kurt Holuba, senior, 6-4, 270, Princeton

DL - Greg Menard, senior, 6-2, 239, North Dakota State

DL - Ebenezer Ogundeko, senior, 6-3, 255, Tennessee State

LB - Solomon Brown, junior, 6-1, 220, Charleston Southern

LB - Garrett Dolan, senior, 6-2, 240, Houston Baptist

LB - Jared Farley, senior, 5-11, 221, Northern Iowa

LB - Shaheed Salmon, senior, 6-1, 226, Samford

DB - Tre Dempsey, senior, 5-10, 179, North Dakota State

DB - Kahlid Hagens, senior, 6-3, 200, UT Martin

DB - Davontae Harris, senior, 6-0, 200, Illinois State

DB - Tremon Smith, senior, 6-0, 186, Central Arkansas

DB - Kailik Williams, senior, 5-11, 185, The Citadel

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK - Griffin Trau, junior, 5-8, 180, Richmond

P - Keith Wrzuszczak, senior, 5-11, 202, Eastern Kentucky

LS - Hunter Winstead, senior, 6-0, 240, Liberty

KR - Shane Simpson, sophomore, 5-9, 185, Towson

PR - Londell Lee, senior, 6-2, 210, UT Martin

AP - Harold Cooper, senior, 5-9, 183, Rhode Island

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

QB - Taryn Christion, junior, 6-2, 215, South Dakota State

QB - Devlin Hodges, junior, 6-1, 213, Samford

RB - Dom Bragalone, junior, 5-11, 215, Lehigh

RB - Anthony Philyaw, senior, 6-1, 205, Howard

RB - Deontez Thompson, sophomore, 6-0, 200, Richmond

FB - Kane Louscher, senior, 6-2, 245, South Dakota State

WR - Yedidiah Louis, senior, 5-8, 187, Sam Houston State

WR - Patrick Smith, senior, 6-0, 190, Tennessee State

TE - Jonathan Kloosterman, senior, 6-3, 245, James Madison

OL - Frank Cirone, senior, 6-3, 280, Charleston Southern

OL - Jamil Demby, senior, 6-5, 310, Maine

OL - Chris Durant, senior, 6-4, 310, William & Mary

OL - Justin Spencer, senior, 6-5, 305, Youngstown State

OL - Tyler Tezeno, senior, 6-4, 317, Sam Houston State

DEFENSE

DL - Abdullah Anderson, senior, 6-4, 295, Bucknell

DL - Keontre Anderson, senior, 6-3, 240, Jackson State

DL - Jonathan Petersen, senior, 6-1, 230, San Diego

DL - Jay-Tee Tiuli, senior, 6-4, 315, Eastern Washington

DL - Juwan Wells, junior, 6-2, 255, Liberty

LB - Mac Bignell, senior, 6-1, 205, Montana State

LB - George Odum, senior, 6-2, 190, Central Arkansas

LB - Chad Meredith, senior, 6-4, 244, Southeast Missouri

LB - Dale Warren, junior, 6-0, 215, Chattanooga

DB - Raven Greene, senior, 6-0, 200, James Madison

DB - Robbie Grimsley, junior, 6-0, 183, North Dakota State

DB - Danny Johnson, senior, 5-10, 195, Southern

DB - Taron Johnson, senior, 6-0, 180, Weber State

DB - Omari Williams, senior, 6-1, 190, Samford

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK - Alex Probert, sophomore, 5-9, 170, Liberty

P - Jacob DeMaio, senior, 6-5, 205, Weber State

LS - Danny Garza, senior, 6-0, 230, Houston Baptist

KR - Deion Holliman, senior, 5-9, 188, Missouri State

PR - Terry Wallen, senior, 5-11, 182, Drake

AP - Justice Shelton-Mosley, junior, 5-10, 195, Harvard