NEW ORLEANS — Appalachian State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz has plenty of recognized talent to work with as he enters his first season being in charge of the Mountaineers — at least according to an early all-conference poll.
Appalachian State quarterback Zach Thomas and running back Darrynton Evans were named to the Athlon Sports first-team All-Sun Belt Conference team, which was released May 28. Appalachian State had 15 players overall. Eight players were named to the first team and two to the second team. Three were named to the fourth-team and two were special team selections.
Receiver Corey Sutton, center Noah Hannon and offensive tackle Victor Johnson were also named to the first-team all-Sun Belt team on offense. Defensively, linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither and safeties Desmond Franklin and Josh Thomas were also named first team.
Appalachian State linebacker Jordan Fehr and tight end Collin Reed were named second team. Offensive guard Ryan Neuzil, running back Marcus Williams and defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor were named to the fourth team.
Evans was named third-team kick returner and Thomas Hennigan was named third-team punt returner by the publication.
Thomas, despite an injury suffered against Georgia Southern, had a breakout season replacing four-year starter Taylor Lamb by completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,039 yards and 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Thomas also ran for 504 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
Thomas also led the Mountaineers to a Sun Belt Conference championship highlighted by a 30-19 win over visiting Louisiana in the first Sun Belt Conference championship game. The Mountaineers followed with a 45-13 win over Middle Tennessee in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Mountaineers ended the season with a six-game winning streak.
A first-team All-Sun Belt selection, Evans led the Mountaineers in rushing with 1,187 yards and seven touchdowns on 179 carries. He was also the Sun Belt championship game Most Valuable Player.
Corey Sutton finished with 44 catches for 773 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a 90-yarder in App State’s win over Charlotte. Hannon goes into the season as a three-year starter, while Johnson is a four-year starter on the App State offensive line.
Defensively, Davis-Gaither, Franklin and Thomas anchor a defense that gave up just 15.5 points and 288.0 yards per game.
Moore put on Reserve/Non-Football Injury List
NEW YORK — The New York Jets placed former Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List.
Moore was one of 15 undrafted players to sign with the Jets. Moore, who is 5-foot-10 and weighs 212 pounds, had an ankle injury in his senior season with the Mountaineers, but finished his college career with 2,439 yards and 22 touchdowns.