Sam Houston State's Flanders, Taylor take home Southland honors

For the second straight season, Sam Houston State running back Timothy Flanders and safety Darnell Taylor captured the Southland Conference's player and defensive player of the year awards, respectively, Tuesday.

Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers was named the offensive player of the year.

Flanders, a scoring machine, has rushed for 1,151 yards and 17 touchdowns on 187 carries for an average of 6.2 yards per carry and 104 yards per contest. The junior leads the Southland in scoring, accounting for 9.8 points per game.

In a loss at Texas A&M, Flanders scored his 52nd career rushing touchdown, tying Charles McDanial (1974) for the all-time conference record. His 55 total touchdowns is just four off the all-time mark. He also become the first SHSU player to repeat as the conference player of the year.

Taylor, like his teammate Flanders, became just the fifth player in Southland history to win defensive player of the year honors in back-to-back years. In 11 games, he's totaled 79 tackles, 54 solo, two tackles for loss, five pass breakups and seven passes defended. He is the school's all-time leading tackler with 219.

Smothers joined some familiar company as the conference's offensive player of the year because his current quarterback coach, Nathan Brown, is the only other Central Arkansas player to win the award in 2007. Smothers has been extremely accurate this season, completing 67 percent of his passes for 2,852 yards and 31 touchdowns versus nine interceptions. In the last two games of the regular season, he threw for four touchdowns in each contest. He's added 370 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

All three players earned All-Southland first-team selections.

Other Southland honors went to UCA's Clint Conque for coach of the year, UCA's Jonathan Woodward for freshman of the year, UCA's Corey Howard for offensive lineman of the year and Lamar's Kevin Johnson, who was tabbed as the newcomer of the year.

The two teams which shared the Southland Conference title this season, Sam Houston State and UCA, accounted for 29 of the 58 all-conference spots. The Bearkats led with 16 selections and the Bears followed with 13.

All-Southland Conference First Team (as voted on by the head coaches)


QB - Wynrick Smothers, Central Arkansas

RB - Timothy Flanders, Sam Houston State

RB - Gus Johnson, Stephen F. Austin

TE/HB - T.J. Jones, Sam Houston State

WR - Cordell Roberson, Stephen F. Austin

WR - Jesse Grandy, Central Arkansas

WR - Dominique Croom, Central Arkansas

OL - Corey Howard, Central Arkansas

OL - Kaleb Hopson, Sam Houston State

OL - John Steel, Stephen F. Austin

OL - Arinze Agada, McNeese State

OL - Chris Rogers, Sam Houston State

AP - Richard Sincere, Sam Houston State

PK - Eddie Camara, Central Arkansas


DL - Willie Jefferson, Stephen F. Austin

DL - J.T. Cleveland, Sam Houston State

DL - Jonathan Woodard, Central Arkansas

DL - Darren Robinson, Stephen F. Austin

LB - Darius Taylor, Sam Houston State

LB - Seth Allison, Central Arkansas

LB - Derek Rose, Northwestern State

DB - Darnell Taylor, Sam Houston State

DB - Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana

DB - Dax Swanson, Sam Houston State

DB - Josh Aubrey, Stephen F. Austin

DB - Jestin Love, Central Arkansas

P - Matt Foster, Sam Houston State

KR - Jesse Grandy, Central Arkansas

PR - Jesse Grandy, Central Arkansas