FRISCO – The Sam Houston State Bearkats landed a dozen players onto the all-Southland Conference postseason teams, including junior defensive lineman Trace Mascorro being named the league’s Newcomer of the Year, per a release from league officials on Tuesday morning.
The Kats put five players on the first team and four on the second team, while three more found their way onto the third team.
Mascorro was joined on the all-SLC first team defense by senior linebacker Royce See, while tight end Woody Brandom, offensive lineman Colby Thomas and punter Matt McRobert were all named to the first team offense.
Second team Bearkats include running back Donovan Williams, defensive lineman Joseph Wallace, linebacker Hunter Brown and cornerback Zyon McCollum. The Kats also landed senior Tyler Edwards on the third team offense, along with freshman defensive lineman Jevon Leon and junior cornerback Jaylen Thomas on the defensive side.
For Mascorro, in his first season as a Bearkat after transferring from UTEP, he is the first Bearkat to grab the honor as the league’s top newcomer since Chris Chaloupka in 1999. He is also the first defensive player to get the honor from any school since UIW’s Myke Tavarres in 2015.
He started all 12 games for the Kats on the defensive line, racking up 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and forcing a pair of fumbles for a Bearkat defense that led all of the FCS in tackles for loss.
Meanwhile, See also played a big role for the Bearkat defense and was one of seven members of that side of the ball to earn all-league honors. He was twice named the league’s defensive player of the week during the season, and was even named the STATS FCS national defensive player of the week for his efforts against Stephen F. Austin when he had a pair of interceptions, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble.
He finished with 62 tackles on the season, but showed to be a true playmaker on that side of the ball as well. See racked up a dozen tackles for loss from his linebacker spot, including four sacks, picked off a pair of passes as well as forcing and recovering three fumbles each.
SHSU also landed three players on the offensive first team, including tight end Woody Brandom. He was a preseason all-SLC choice and started all 12 games this year and all 23 in his two-year Bearkat career. This season he hauled in 24 grabs for 314 yards, turning in his biggest day of the year with seven catches for 80 yards and a score against HBU on Senior Day. He has already accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he will play at the Rose Bowl for pro scouts on January 18.
Junior offensive lineman Colby Thomas earned his first postseason honors of his career with a first-team nod. The only underclassman on a Bearkat offensive lineman that started the same five players for each of the first 10 games, Thomas opened up the season at guard before shifting over to play center for the second half of the season. He wasn’t the only offensive lineman to earn an all-league nod as senior guard Tyler Edwards got his first career postseason honors, landing on the third team after starting all 12 games at left guard.
The Kats also snagged first team punter honors with Australia native Matt McRobert taking that spot. He finished the regular season with an average of 44.3 yards per punt, a mark that ranked tops in the SLC and sixth in all of the FCS. He had 20 punts on the year that traveled over 50 yards, including a 74-yarder against HBU that tied his own school record set last year. He punted 85 times for the year, but only had three touchbacks, pinning the opposition inside the red zone 29 times.
Williams received his first all-league honors as well, landing on the second team as a running back. His breakout sophomore campaign saw him put up five 100-yard games and finish the regular season ranked second in the SLC with 925 total rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. Much of that came in league play where he rushed for 100+ yards in five of nine games played, including a season high of 161 yards on the ground against Central Arkansas.
Three of those second teamers stemmed from the defensive side of the ball, including Wallace who made a huge impact in his first year after transferring from Texas Tech. The junior defensive tackle tied for the league lead with three forced fumbles while also having 11.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks in starting all 12 games on the defensive line.
Brown capped off his Bearkat career with a second-team nod after being an honorable mention choice last year. He was second on the team with 64 stops, while adding 4.5 tackles for loss and finishing with nearly 300 career tackles.
McCollum also received his second straight postseason honor by landing on the second team. The Galveston native was a first team choice last year and a preseason all-American entering 2019 at cornerback, but was hampered by injuries throughout the year, including one which forced him to miss the final three games of the season. Still, the junior finished the season ranked fifth in the league in passes defended, getting three interceptions to his credit.
Sam Houston also landed two more spots on the third team defense in Thomas and Leon. Thomas was an honorable mention choice as a freshman in 2017 and turned another impact season as a junior in 2019. The cornerback from Houston picked off three passes and broke up another eight, while also racking up seven tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
Meanwhile, Leon was one of the top freshmen in the entire nation in 2019, working his way into a starting role late in the season on the Bearkat defensive line. He finished the season with 38 total tackles, but also had 16.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Each of those marks led the team and ranked near the top of the SLC leaders, but was also the top mark among all freshmen in the FCS.