Conference Preview: Sun Belt

Conference Preview: Sun Belt

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

The Sun Belt is the runt of the litter in the FBS. It's generally considered the least-talented conference made up of the least-notable collection of teams. The silver lining, though, is that you can find some untapped potential in the Sun Belt for fantasy purposes. So who could be your diamond in the rough in 2019?

For each conference preview, we will have first-, second-, and third-team All-Fantasy teams as well as sleeper and bust selections. To the right of each player's name will be their overall positional ranking.

All-Sun Belt Fantasy Team

First Team

QB: Caleb Evans, Louisiana-Monroe (13)

RB: Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana-Lafayette (23)

RB: Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (24)

WR: Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State (43)

WR: Kawaan Baker, South Alabama (44)

TE: Javonis Isaac, Arkansas State (24)

Second Team

QB: Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (37)

RB: B.J. Smith, Troy (21)

RB: Trey Ragas, Louisiana-Lafayette (31)

WR: Justin McInnis, Arkansas State (NR)

WR: Corey Sutton, Appalachian State (93)

TE: Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina (42)

Third Team

QB: Dan Ellington, Georgia State (45)

RB: Marcel Murray, Arkansas State (55)

RB: Tra Minter, South Alabama (49)

WR: Ja'Marcus Bradley, Louisiana-Lafayette (70)

WR: Kawaan Baker, South Alabama (72)

TE: Collin Reed, Appalachian State (NR)


Logan Bonner, QB, Arkansas State

Justice Hansen was the man under center for the Red Wolves the last three years, with stellar results. Last season, he threw for 27 touchdowns, and the year prior he tossed a whopping 37. The question then becomes how much of this was because of Hansen's own talent, and how much of it was the offense. Bonner is taking over for Hansen, so the job is now his. If he can approach the numbers of his predecessor, he's going to make a lot of fantasy players quite happy.

Tra Barnett, RB, Georgia State

Barnett was the lead running back for the Panthers, but he didn't get as many carries, or yards, as quarterback Dan Ellington. However, when it came to getting bang for his buck, Barnett delivered on that front. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns on 109 carries. Barnett didn't have a single game with 20 touches. If he gets a bigger role as a senior, there is some clear upside left here.

Marcel Murray, RB, Arkansas State

Murray made his mark as a freshman, rushing for 860 yards and eight touchdowns. He also threw in 140 yards and two touchdowns receiving for good measure. While Murray led the team in carries, it was a pretty even load. Warren Wand and quarterback Justice Hansen both had over 130 carries as well. Now, both Wand and Hansen have graduated. In fact, third-string running back Armond Weh-Weh has also moved on. Murray could suddenly find himself as a workhorse back, and if he does he has the ceiling of being the top rusher in the Sun Belt.

Cornelius McCoy, WR, Georgia State

Penny Hart is more than just a fun name to say. Hart was the top receiver for Georgia State in 2018, racking up 49 catches for 669 yards. The only other Panther who did much of anything was McCoy, who had 35 catches for 495 yards. He was only a freshman, which meant he was brought into the lineup slowly. As the year went on, his number got more stable. With Hart no longer on the team, McCoy finds himself clearly atop the depth chart. The only question is how many times he makes it into the end zone, as he only managed one touchdown in 2018.

Seth Caillouet, TE, Texas State

The Sun Belt is not a conference friendly to tight ends. For basically every team in the conference, the tight end was an afterthought. That was not the case down at Texas State, though. Tight end Keenen Brown was the clear top receiver for the Bobcats, notching 51 receptions for 577 yards and five touchdowns. However, Brown has graduated, and so has backup Elijah Rogers. Caillouet is only a freshman, but he currently is listed as the top tight end on the depth chart. If the Bobcats still feature the tight end, Caillouet could be a nice surprise at the position.


Shai Werts, QB, Georgia Southern

Werts was quite efficient throwing the ball last year, as he tossed 10 touchdowns against zero interceptions. Of course, Georgia Southern is an old-school, triple-option style offense, so Werts did most of his damage on the ground. As a sophomore, he rushed for 908 yards and 15 touchdowns. There's some reason for concern, though. Werts has been suspended after being charged with speeding and cocaine possession. Even if he plays in week one, Georgia Southern is facing LSU to start the season. An offense built around running the ball is also a bit risky, given how much damage teams can do throwing the ball these days.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

In a conference like the Sun Belt, true busts are hard to come by. Mitchell is the highest-ranked of the running backs in the conference, but I have questions. They are mostly related to the timeshare in the Ragin' Cajuns backfield. Trey Ragas had over 50 more carries than Mitchell last season, and had more yards as well. The place that Mitchell had the advantage in is touchdowns, where he had 13 to Ragas' eight. Touchdowns can be inconsistent from year to year, though. Unless Mitchell can score like that again, which is a question, his numbers will likely drop in 2019.

B.J. Smith, RB, Troy

Smith finally got the chance to shoulder the load for the Trojans last year, and he was up to the task. He got 219 carries and took them for 1,186 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, he also had Neal Brown as his head coach. Brown was considered one of the most-promising coaches in college football, and now he's finally gotten his first big gig, as Brown is now at the helm of West Virginia. Chip Lindsey has taken over as Troy's new coach. What will that mean for Smith? It's a question that lends itself to skepticism.

Markis McCray, WR, Louisiana-Monroe

Caleb Evans is the top-ranked quarterback in the Sun Belt, and so you might be intrigued by the guy atop the receiving depth chart. McCray has that position at the moment, since Marcus Green and R.J. Turner have both graduated. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised to see somebody else overtake McCray on the depth chart. The senior has yet to catch a touchdown in his college career. Last year was his best season yet, and he only had 27 catches for 304 yards. It feels like McCray is the number-one receiver for the Warhawks at the moment by default.

Tray Eafford, WR, Troy

There is a double whammy of skepticism looming over Eafford's head. The top three receivers for the Trojans last year have all moved on, but is Eafford ready to jump that far up the depth chart? Plus, to go back to the well from the Smith entry, what will the team look like without Neal Brown as the head coach? It feels like a wait-and-see approach is the best course of action for Eafford. It's a big jump from 24 receptions as a sophomore to suddenly being the top receiver on the depth chart.

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Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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