LSU’s Clark takes state’s top defensive honor on 2021 All-Louisiana team

PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU senior linebacker Damone Clark was selected the Defensive Player of the Year on the 2021 All-Louisiana college football team that was announced Saturday night by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Clark was joined for top honors on the team by Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Cole Kelley (Offensive Player of Year), and former UL-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier (Coach of Year).

A panel of LSWA and sports media relations personnel voted on nominations submitted by the schools at each of the positions through the regular season. School media relations members could not vote for their own players. Southeastern Louisiana’s Nolan Givan (Newcomer of Year) while Nicholls State’s Collin Guggenheim and former UL-Lafayette running back Montrell Johnson (tie for Freshman of Year) were also honored. LSU’s Jack Bech was also a finalist for the Freshman of Year award.

Clark was named a second team All-American and led the Southeastern Conference and was ranked No. 2 in the nation in tackles with 135. That number is also No. 4 in LSU history. He posted 15.5 tackles for loss which is the highest total for a linebacker ever at LSU. Among his seven 10+ tackle games was a career-best 19 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a sack versus Ole Miss.

Joining Clark on the first team were LSU’s offensive guard Ed Ingram, running back Ty Davis-Price, defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr., defensive back Jay Ward and placekicker Cade York.

Kelley helped Southeastern earn a spot in the FCS playoffs and advance to the second round before being eliminated. He was the Southland Conference POY and finalist for the Walter Payton Award. He completed 74.2 percent of his passes (339-457) for 4,382 yards and 38 touchdowns with a 179.54 efficiency rating.

The Lafayette native totals were second best in FCS history in passing yards and third in total offense.

Napier led the Ragin’ Cajuns to their first outright Sun Belt Conference title and a fourth consecutive SBC West Division title with a 12-1 record and a perfect 8-0 mark in the league. The team won the New Orleans Bowl and has the long streak in program history of 13 straight wins after an opening loss. The Cajuns finished No. 16 in the AP Top 25.

Both Guggenheim and Johnson are running backs, tying for freshman honors. Guggenheim took over as feature back for the Colonels on Oct. 26 after Nicholls lost three players to season-ending injuries. He rushed for 930 yards and 10 TDs and led the Southland with 103.3 yards per game. The Kenner native rushed for the third-most yards in a game in the FCS this season with 266 in a win over Southeastern.

Johnson was the SBC FOY with 730 yards and 11 TDs on the season, third best in the conference. Had a 99-yard score against Arkansas State, setting a conference mark and tying the NCAA record for the longest rushing score. His four touchdowns against Ohio made him one of just 23 players in the nation to tally four or more scores in a single game this past season.

The rest of the offense joining Givan, Gugenheim and Kelley included linemen P. J. Burkhalter and Jair Joseph of Nicholls, Rendon Miles-Character of Southeastern and UL’s Max Mitchell. Austin Mitchell of Southeastern and Dai’Jean Dixon of Nicolls were the wide receivers.

Linemen on the first team defense were Isaiah Chambers of McNeese, Zi’Yon Hill of Louisiana and Mason Kinsey of McNeese. With Clark at linebacker were Chancy Manac of UL and LA Tech’s Tyler Grubbs. The defensive backs were Macon Clark of Tulane, Zy Alexander of Southeastern and Percy Butler of UL.

Tulane’s Ryan Wright the punter and Gage Larvadain of Southeastern the return specialist.

LSWA All-LOUISIANA 2021 COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

Pos/Name, School/Class/Hometown/Notes

OL/P.J. Burkhalter, Nicholls/Sr./Franklinton, La./3-time SLC Off. Lineman of Year

OL/Max Mitchell, UL/Jr./Monroe, La./Walter Camp 2nd team A-A

OL/Rendon Miles-Character, Southeastern/Sr./New Orleans, La./First Team All-SLC

OL/Ed Ingram, LSU/Sr./DeSoto, Texas/Second Team All-SEC

OL/Jair Joseph, Nicholls/Sr./Belle Rose, La./2-time First Team All-SLC

TE/Nolan Givan, Southeastern/Sr./Berkeley, Mich./First Team All-SLC, 5 TDs

WR/Austin Mitchell, Southeastern/Sr./Plaquemine, La./First Team All-SLC, 9 TDs, 4th FCS Yards (1,035)

WR/Dai’Jean Dixon, Nicholls/Sr./New Orleans, La./FCS Walter Payton Finalist, 8 TDs, 1,002 Yards

RB/Ty Davis-Price, LSU/Jr./Baton Rouge, La./1,003 yds, 4 100-yard games

RB/Collin Gugenheim, Nicholls/Fr./Kenner, La./FCS Jerry Rice Finalist, 10 TD, 930 yds

QB/Cole Kelley, Southeastern/Sr./Lafayette, La./SLC POY, FCS Walter Payton Finalist, 4,382 yds, 38 TD

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

Pos/Name, School/Class/Hometown/Notes

DL/Isaiah Chambers, McNeese/Gr/Houston, Texas/2-time SLC Def. POY, 10.5 sacks, 59 tackles

DL/Neil Farrell, LSU/Sr./Mobile, Ala./45 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks

DL/Zi’Yon Hill, UL/Sr./New Iberia, La./2nd team All-SBC, 56 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks

DL/Mason Kinsey, McNeese/Jr./Mansfield, Texas/First Team All-SLC, 41 tackles, 6.5 sacks

LB/Damon Clark, LSU/Sr./Baton Rouge, La./2nd Team A-A, 2nd nation 135 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks

LB/Chauncy Manac, UL/Sr./Homerville, Ga./2nd team All-SBC, 55 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 10.5 sacks

LB/Tyler Grubbs, LA Tech/Fr./New Orleans, La./2nd team All-C-USA, 97 tackles, 10.0 TFL

DB/Macon Clark, Tulane/Jr./St. Rose, La./First Team All-AAC, 74 tackles, 4 interceptions

DB/Zy Alexander, Southeastern/Fr./Loreauville, La./First-Team All-SLC, 36 tackles, 6 interceptions

DB/Jay Ward, LSU/Jr./Moultrie, Ga./62 tackles, 2 interceptions

DB/Percy Butler, UL/Jr./Plaquemine, La./2nd team All-SBC, 60 tackles, 1 interception

FIRST TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS

Pos/Name, School/Class/Hometown/Notes

K/Cade York, LSU/Jr./McKinney, Texas/2nd team All-SEC, 15-18 FGs, 39 PATs, 5 FGs 50 or more

P/Ryan Wright, Tulane/Sr./San Ramon, California/AAC Punter of Year, 47.5 average, 7th nationally

RS/Gage Larvadain, Southeastern/Fr./New Orleans, La./SLC FOY, 29.4 KO Return, 1 TD

Coach of the Year – Billy Napier, UL-Lafayette

              Voting – Napier 19, Frank Scelfo (Southeastern) 3

Offensive Player of the Year – Cole Kelley, Southeastern

              Voting – Kelley 10, Lewis (UL-Lafayette) 1

Defensive Player of the Year – Damone Clark, LSU

              Voting – Clark 16, Chambers (McN) 3, Manac (UL-Lafayette) 1, Alexander (SE) 1, Grubbs (LA Tech) 1

Freshman of the Year – (TIE) – Montrell Johnson, UL; Collin Guggenheim, Nicholls

              Voting – Johnson 7, Guggenheim 7, Jack Bech (LSU) 5, Larvadain (SE) 3

Newcomer of the Year – Nolan Givan, Southeastern

              Voting – Givan 11, Marcus Williams (LA Tech) 8, Michael Jefferson (UL) 2, Jay Griffin IV (NW) 1

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE –

OL – O’Cyrus Torrence, UL – So., Greensburg, La.; Caron Coleman, McNeese – Jr., St. Louis, Mo; Austin Deculus, LSU – Sr., Grad; Johnathan Bishop, Southern – Sr., Birmingham, Ala.; Corey Dublin, Tulane – Sr., New Orleans, La.

TE – Tyrick James, Tulane – Jr. Waco, Texas

WR – Smoke Harris, LA Tech – So., St. Francisville, La.; Kayshon Boutte, LSU – So., New Iberia, La.

RB – Montrell Johnson, UL – Fr., New Orleans, La.; Chris Smith, UL – Jr., Louisville, Miss.; Tujae Spears – Tulane – Fr., Ponchatoula., La.

QB – Levi Lewis, UL – Sr, Baton Rouge, La.

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Andre Jones, UL – Sr., Varnado, La.; Sundiata Anderson, Grambling – So., College Park, Ga.; Perry Ganci, Nicholls – So., New Orleans, La; BJ Ojulari, LSU – So. Marietta, Ga.

LB – Kordell Williams, McNeese – Jr., Carencro, La.; Micah Baskerville, LSU – Sr., Shreveport, La.; Lorenzo McCaskill, UL – Sr., Detroit, Mich.

DB – Beejay Williamson, LA Tech – So., Dallas, Texas; Andre Sam, McNeese – Jr., Iowa, La.; Kevin Johnson, Nicholls – Sr., New Orleans, La.; Jarius Monroe, Nicholls – So., LaPlace, La.

SECOND TEAM SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Calum Suthlerland, ULM – Sr., Keller, Texas; P – Rhys Byrns, UL – Sr., Rye Australia; RS – Mason Pierce, McNeese – So., Pearland, Texas.

HONORABLE MENTION

DL –Darius Hodges, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.; Ty Shelby, ULM – Gr., Houston, Texas DB – Eric Garror, UL – Mobile, Ala. RS – Smoke Harris, LA Tech – So., St. Francisville, La.

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