Chants Sweep Preseason Sun Belt Awards; Picked to Finish Second in the East

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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NEW ORLEANS – Coastal Carolina football swept the 2022 Sun Belt All-Conference Preseason Awards, it was announced by the Sun Belt Conference office on Monday, as Grayson McCall was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Josaiah Stewart was tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

On top of their preseason player of the year honors, McCall and Stewart were both named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team. The duo was joined on the first team by offensive lineman Willie Lampkin and defensive back D’Jordan Strong.

Earning a spot on the preseason All-Sun Belt second team was nose tackle Jerrod Clark.

In the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Football Preseason Coaches Poll, the Chants were picked to finish second in the East Division behind defending Sun Belt Champions Appalachian State.

The Chanticleers garnered two first-place votes and a total of 77 points to place ahead of Georgia State (68 points), Marshall (62), Georgia Southern (35), James Madison (31), and Old Dominion (25).

Louisiana (95) was picked to win the West Division, receiving 12 first-place votes.

Grayson McCall – Redshirt Junior

A two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year (2020 and 2021), McCall picks up Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and preseason All-Sun Belt first-team accolades for the second consecutive season.

Named to both the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and Maxwell Award preseason watch lists this season, the CCU signal-caller was also previously named a 2022 Preseason All-American by Athlon Sports and earned a spot on both the Athlon Sports and Phil Steele’s 2022 Preseason All-Sun Belt first teams earlier this offseason.  

McCall set a new NCAA Division I FBS record in passing efficiency rating at 207.6 last season in 2021, eclipsing the previous two records set by Alabama’s Mac Jones (203.1) in 2020 and LSU’s Joe Burrow (202.0) in 2019. He enters the 2022 season as the active career leader in all of NCAA Division I FBS in career passing efficiency at 196.09.  

The 2021 Blanchard-Rogers Trophy Winner, an award given out to the best player in the state of South Carolina, McCall ranked in the top 25 in all of NCAA Division I FBS in 2021 in several offensive categories including - passing efficiency (207.6), yards per pass attempt (11.92), completion percentage (73.0), passing yards per completion (16.32), points responsible for per game (17.6), passing touchdowns (27), passing yards per game (261.2), total offense per game (287.5), and points responsible for (194).  

Having gone 20-2 over the last two years as Coastal’s starting quarterback, McCall is also a two-time All-Sun Belt first-team selection and a two-time semifinalist for both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award (2020 and 2021). He was also a top-10 finalist for the 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award last season after being named a finalist for the Manning Award in 2020.

Josaiah Stewart - Sophomore

A 2021 Freshman All-American, earning a spot on the FWAA Freshman All-America team, ESPN’s 2021 College Football True Freshman All-American team, 247Sports True Freshman All-American, The Athletic’s 2021 College Football Freshman All-American team, and the 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) All-True Freshman team, Stewart was named the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the preseason All-Sun Belt first team.

A 2021 Phil Steele All-American honorable mention selection last year as a true freshman, Stewart was named the 2021 Pro Football Network (PFN) Best Interior Defensive Lineman, Sun Belt Defensive Lineman of the Year, and Sun Belt Defensive Rookie of the Year.

A 2021 All-Sun Belt first team, the Massachusetts native shattered the CCU single-season sacks record with 12.5 sacks in his first collegiate season in 2021. His 12.5 sacks led the Sun Belt and were just one shy of the Sun Belt single-season record of 13.5 sacks. They also ranked fifth nationally and were the most by a true freshman in all of FBS on the year. He finished the season with 15.5 tackles-for-loss, which was the second-most in a single season in Coastal history, the most by a true freshman nationally, and ranked sixth in the Sun Belt. His 12.0 tackles-for-loss and 9.0 sacks in Sun Belt Conference play led the league.

Stewart recorded 43 total tackles on the year and forced three fumbles. He registered 3.5 sacks in a win over Kansas (Sept. 10) to set CCU’s single-game sacks record before topping that with 4.0 sacks in the road win at Georgia Southern (Nov. 6). He also set a new CCU single-game tackles-for-loss record with 5.0 versus the Eagles.

Willie Lampkin - Junior

Named to the 2022 Rimington Trophy preseason watch list, Lampkin was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team.

Lampkin, who enters his junior year having started and played in all of CCU’s 25 games the last two seasons, is a two-time All-Sun Belt second-team selection and was a member of the 2020 Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), ESPN, 247Sports, and The Athletic All-Freshman teams in his first season as a Chant in 2020.   Tabbed a 2022 preseason all-conference first-team selection by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports this year, Lampkin was the top-graded offensive lineman in eight different games last year for the Chanticleers. He totaled 20 knockdown blocks on the season and was the best offensive lineman in the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl win over Northern Illinois (Dec. 17), grading out at a team-high 98 percent with two knockdown blocks over 58 offensive snaps.

D’Jordan Strong – Super Senior

A two-time All-Sun Belt first-team selection (2020 and 2021) and the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year, Strong also earned a spot on the preseason All-Sun Belt first team for the second consecutive year.

Named to the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 preseason list and both the 2022 Phil Steele and Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt second teams, Strong played and started in all 13 games for the Chanticleers in the defensive backfield last season. He led the team and was tied for second in the Sun Belt with 10 pass breakups on the year, while adding 26 tackles, including 19 solo stops on the season.

Strong recorded seven pass breakups in conference play, which ranked sixth in the Sun Belt, and anchored the “Black Swarm” defense that was second in the Sun Belt with the fewest passing yards allowed (190.3) and fewest points allowed per game (21.6). He registered a season-high four tackles and two pass breakups in the home win over UMass (Sept. 25) and also had four tackles in the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl win over Northern Illinois (Dec. 17).

Jerrod Clark – Redshirt Senior

Voted a team captain in the offseason, Clark was the lone Chant to be named to the preseason All-Sun Belt second team this year.

Named to the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 preseason list, Clark has also been named to the 2022 Phil Steele Preseason SBC All-Conference fourth team and the 2022 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt third team.

Last season, Clark played in all 13 games on the year, starting 11 contests on the defensive line. He totaled 33 tackles, including 4.0 tackles-for-loss, and 2.0 sacks, while adding two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry on the season.

Clark had a season-high seven tackles in the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl win over Northern Illinois (Dec. 17) and finished with four tackles, including three solo stops, in the road win at Buffalo (Sept. 18).

2022 Sun Belt Conference Football Media Days

Coastal Carolina will join the rest of the new-look Sun Belt Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26-27, at the 2022 Sun Belt Football Media Days, presented BuyB1.com, in New Orleans.   The event will also be broadcast nationwide on ESPN+.

Chadwell and the Chants will be on the main stage at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT on Tuesday, July 26, which will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

Teal Nation can follow the Chants all day long on Twitter (@CoastalFootball) and Instagram (@coastalfootball).

Coastal will kick off the 2022 football season at home on Saturday, Sept. 3, versus Army at 7 p.m. ET.

2022 SUN BELT CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON AWARDS

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Offense

QB – Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

RB – Rasheen Ali, Marshall

RB – Camerun Peoples, App State

OL – Willie Lampkin, Coastal Carolina

OL – Dalton Cooper, Texas State

OL – Austin Stidham, Troy

OL – Malik Sumter, Georgia State

OL – Cooper Hodges, App State

TE – Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion

WR – Ali Jennings, Old Dominion

WR – Kris Thornton, James Madison

WR – Tez Johnson, Troy

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Defense

DL – Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina

DL – Javon Solomon, Troy

DL – Zi’Yon Hill, Louisiana

DL – Will Choloh, Troy

LB – Carlton Martial, Troy

LB – Blake Carroll, Georgia State

LB – Kivon Bennett, Arkansas State

DB – Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama

DB – D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina

DB – Antavious Lane, Georgia State

DB – Eric Garror, Louisiana

DB – Keith Gallmon, South Alabama

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Special Teams

K – Seth Keller, Texas State

P – Rhys Byrns, Louisiana

RS – Johnnie Lang, Arkansas State

AP – Chris Smith, Louisiana

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Offense

QB – Chase Brice, App State

RB – Nate Noel, App State

RB – Tucker Gregg, Georgia State

OL – Travis Glover, Georgia State

OL – Kyle Hergel, Texas State

OL – Damion Daley, App State

OL – Pat Bartlett, Georgia State

OL – Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion

TE – Aubry Payne, Georgia State

WR – Te’Vailance Hunt, Arkansas State

WR – Jalen Wayne, South Alabama

WR – Boogie Knight, ULM

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Defense

DL – Richard Jubinor, Troy

DL – Thomas Gore, Georgia State

DL – Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina

DL – Justin Ellis, Georgia Southern

LB – Nick Hampton, App State

LB – Abraham Beauplan, Marshall

LB – Andre Jones, Louisiana

LB – Trey Cobb, App State

DB – Steven Jones Jr., App State

DB – Derrick Canteen, Georgia Southern

DB – Steven Gilmore, Marshall

DB – TJ Harris, Troy

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Special Teams

K – Calum Sutherland, ULM

P – Anthony Beck II, Georgia Southern

RS – Camron Harrell, Southern Miss

AP – Amare Jones, Georgia Southern

2022 SUN BELT CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL

East Division

1. App State – 94 Points (10)

2. Coastal Carolina – 77 Points (2)

3. Georgia State – 68 Points (1)

4. Marshall – 62 Points

5. Georgia Southern – 35 Points (1)

6. James Madison – 31 Points

7. Old Dominion – 25 Points

West Division

1. Louisiana – 95 Points (12)

2. South Alabama – 79 Points (2)

3. Troy – 76 Points

4. Texas State – 41 Points

5. Southern Miss – 40 Points

6. Arkansas State – 37 Points

7. ULM – 24 Points