FRISCO, Texas – Following one of the greatest performances in McNeese Football history, senior linebacker B.J. Blunt has been named this year’s Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year as well as garnering first team all-conference defensive honors, the league office announced on Tuesday in conjunction with the release of the 2018 All-Conference postseason teams.
Blunt, a native of New Orleans, led the Cowboys and ranked fifth in the nation with 11 sacks on the season while ranked No. 3 in the FCS with 20 tackles for a loss.
The Buck Buchanan Award finalist and recent invitee to the East-West Shrine Game, recorded 102 tackles on the season and posted four games with 10 or more stops with a high of 20 tackles in a win over Abilene Christian. He also posted 17 tackles at Southeastern Louisiana and had 12 versus Stephen F. Austin and Incarnate Word.
He earned Southland Conference Player of the Week honors twice and once the national player of the week by STATS and College Sports Madness. He missed the last game of the season due to an injury.
Blunt is the seventh McNeese Cowboy to be named the league’s top defensive player and first since Wallace Scott in 2015.
Senior punter Alex Kjellsten earned first team All-Conference honors as did junior cornerback Colby Burton. Junior offensive lineman Grant Burguillos and junior defensive end Chris Livings were named to the All-SLC second team units while place kicker Gunnar Raborn, wide receiver Cyron Sutton and defensive end Cody Roscoe garnered honorable mention honors.
Kjellsten led the conference and ranked seventh in the nation with a 43.81 yards per punt average. That mark set a new single-season school record, breaking the old mark of 43.76 held by Don Stump and set in the 1979 season.
The Lake Charles native punted 78 times on the season with a long of 66 yards. A total of 26 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, 27 fair catches, nine touchbacks, and 21 that went for 51 yards or longer.
Earlier in the year, he set a new single-game punting mark with a 51.7 average on six punts against Central Arkansas, breaking Stump’s previous record of 51.6, and he compiled a record 42.09 career average, also breaking Stump’s previous mark of 41.49.
Burton tied for the team lead with two pass interceptions on the season and ranked second on the squad with eight pass breakups. In addition, he recorded 31 tackles and had 3.5 tackles for a loss.
The League City, Texas native picked off both his passes in the Cowboys’ win over Central Arkansas and was named the league’s defensive player of the week as well as STATS National Honorable Mention for his performance.
Livings finished second on the team and ninth in the Southland Conference with eight sacks on the season and was second on the squad and 15th in the league with 10.5 tackles for a loss, all that and still missing three games due to an injury.
The Lake Charles native tied a single-game school record with five quarterback sacks in a win over Abilene Christian and was named the Southland Conference and Louisiana Player of the Week as well as STATS honorable mention national player of the week.
Burguillos started all 11 games for the Cowboys on the offensive line and played a total of 686 of the team’s 736 snaps on the season.
The Mandeville native allowed just two sacks on the year.
Raborn connected on 16 of 22 field goals on the year, tying for the league lead in made attempts.
The Lafayette native earned conference player of the week honors after he scored 11 points in the win over Central Arkansas following a 3-for-3 game in field goals, and 2-for-2 in extra points.
His 16 field goals on the year gives him 35 in his career, ranking him No. 10 on the school’s all-time field goals list.
Roscoe ranked third on the team with eight total sacks to go along with 4.5 tackles for a loss and 33 total tackles. He finished second on the squad with six quarterback hurries.
A native of Houston, the sophomore got the season off with a bang with 4 ½ sacks through the first two games.
Sutton topped the Cowboys’ receivers with 41 catches for 609 yards and three touchdowns. He ranked 15th in the league in receiving yards, was 17th with a 55.4 yards per game average, and 19th with 3.7 receptions per game.
Four times this season the New Orleans native pulled in five catches or more in a game and recorded a career-high with 119 receiving yards on six catches against Northwestern State.
2018 Southland Conference Football Individual Superlative Winners
Coach of the Year: Eric Morris, Incarnate Word
Player of the Year: Chase Fourcade, Nicholls
Offensive Player of the Year: Jazz Ferguson, Northwestern State
Defensive Player of the Year: BJ Blunt, McNeese
Freshman of the Year: Jon Copeland, Incarnate Word
Co-Newcomer of the Year: Jordan Hoy, Lamar
Co-Newcomer of the Year: Billy McCrary, Abilene Christian
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Garrett Bowery, Lamar