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TAMUC – Sports

Lions are LSC football preseason favorites; Smalls, Ramsey named Preseason Players of the Year.

Texas A&M University-Commerce took top honors at the annual Lone Star Conference Football Media Day on Monday. They chose the Lions as the favorites in the preseason poll, and Miklo Smalls and Dominique Ramsey earned Preseason Player of the Year honors.

In its first season, A&M-Commerce went 11-3 under head coach David Bailiff in 2019, advancing to the NCAA Division II Super Region Finals. After a year away from competition during the COVID pandemic in 2020-21, the Lions aim for a sixth consecutive playoff appearance and their 24th LSC title.

In its first season, A&M-Commerce went 11-3 under head coach David Bailiff in 2019, advancing to the NCAA Division II Super Region Finals. After a year away from competition during the COVID pandemic in 2020-21, the Lions aim for a sixth consecutive playoff appearance and their 24th LSC title.

The Lions collected 15 of the 23 first-place votes for 175 points in the preseason poll, 23 points ahead of Angelo State. A&M-Commerce’s last appearance at the top of the preseason poll was in 2018, and the Lions’ last LSC title came in 2016. A&M-Commerce is 41-5 in the LSC in the previous six seasons and has not lost more than one conference game in a season since 2013.

2021 LSC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL

Rank Team 1st Total
1. A&M-COMMERCE 15 175
2. Angelo State 2 152
3. West Texas A&M 1 125
4. UT Permian Basin 5 112
Midwestern State 112
6. Eastern New Mexico 60
7. Texas A&M-Kingsville 59
8. Western New Mexico 33

They selected Smalls (Plano – East) as the league’s preseason offensive player of the year after a phenomenal 2019 season at the quarterback position. He was named second-team all-Lone Star Conference and won LSC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times in 2019. Smalls completed 244-of-376 passes for 3,010 yards with 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions while also carrying the ball 124 times for 488 yards and three touchdowns. He had six games with multiple touchdowns passes, including five against Midwestern State. In the playoff wins over Tarleton and Colorado School of Mines, he had over 100 yards rushing and over 150 yards passing in each contest.

They selected Ramsey (Converse – Judson) as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year, adding to a lengthy tally of honors in his career. The redshirt senior earned three All-American honors in 2019 and has four postseason All-American awards in his career. In addition, he was named First Team All-American as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press and Second Team All-American as both a return specialist and safety by the Division II Conference Commissioners’ Association (D2CCA). Also named the Cliff Harris Award nominee was Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas, the small college team. And as both safety and a return specialist, they earned First Team All-Super Region Four honors from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association.

In 2019 he had 39 tackles (27-solo), two tackles for loss, three interceptions, and five passes defended. He also cemented himself as one of the game’s top return men with 17 kick returns for 550 yards and a touchdown and 21 punt returns for 264 yards and a touchdown.

He was named a CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-America and the National Football Foundation Gridiron Club of Dallas Scholar-Athlete in 2021. He graduated with his bachelor of science in industrial engineering in May.

Lion Football opens the season on Thursday, September 2, at Colorado State-Pueblo, then plays at Globe Life Field in Arlington against Midwestern State on Saturday, September 11, with tickets available at LionAthletics.com/GLP with the promo code “LIONS”. The West Florida game on Saturday, September 18, is the first of six home games. Season tickets are available at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling (903) 468-8756.