Frisco, TX (KPLC) – McNeese defensive lineman Chris Livings is the 2019 Southland Conference Football Student-Athlete of the Year and the Cowboys’ lone selection to the all-academic team, announced by the league Friday. Southland yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.
All 11 programs were represented on the squad, led by five picks for Abilene Christian. Houston Baptist, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana each placed three on the team. Lamar and Nicholls earned a pair of spots, and Central Arkansas, UIW, McNeese and Stephen F. Austin garnered one selection each.
A first-time all-academic honoree, Livings boasts a 3.50 GPA as a graduate student majoring in criminal justice. He was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year after tallying team highs in sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (12). With 30 career sacks, Livings finished his tenure ranked ninth on the conference’s all-time list.
The Lake Charles native and Barbe High School product was previously named to the STATS All-America Third Team as well as garnering first team All-Louisiana honors.
He recently wrapped up action at the College Gridiron Showcase where he competed in individual and team drills as well as interviews with more than 150 professional scouts.
Nine student-athletes are returning all-academic selections, led by four-time honoree Ryan Reed of Northwestern State. ACU quarterback Luke Anthony, Nicholls running back Dontrell Taylor, NSU offensive lineman Chris Zirkle and HBU defensive lineman Andre Walker all landed on the all-academic team for a third time.
Three individuals posted perfect 4.00 grade point averages – Zirkle and linebackers Hunter Brown (SHSU) and Jack Gibbens (ACU). Another 10 student-athletes came in with GPAs of 3.75 or higher, and the average GPA of the squad is 3.63.
Southland Conference All-Academic Teams are voted upon by the head coach, sports information director and an academic/compliance staff member from each school. Student-Athletes of the Year are voted upon by an awards committee which consists of one administrator from each member school. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted.
To be eligible for all-academic distinction, an athlete must hold a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA through the semester prior to the sport’s championship, completed at least one full academic year at the nominating school prior to the current season, and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s competitions during the most recently completed season.
Student-Athlete of the Year nominees must have at least a 3.20 GPA and have completed at least two years of athletic competition at the nominating school, including the current season.