Season-high 27 Sun Belt alumni appear in NFL week 5, defensive players combine for 42 tackles

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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A season-high 27 Sun Belt alumni appeared in Week 5 of the National Football League (NFL) season, with 11 earning starts for their respective teams.

Louisiana product and Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III tallied a season-high nine tackles, with a tackle for loss and a pass defended, to pace a group of 13 Sun Belt alumni that combined for 42 tackles, four quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, two passes defended and a sack. Arkansas State alum Demario Davis—a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints—contributed eight tackles, three quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and a sack, while Coastal Carolina alumnus and San Francisco 49ers defensive back Josh Norman recorded a season-high six tackles and a pass defended.

Akeem Davis-Gaither (App State, Cincinnati Bengals), Shemar Jean-Charles (App State, Green Bay Packers), Forrest Merrill (Arkansas State, San Diego Chargers), Anthony Chesley (Coastal Carolina, Indianapolis Colts), Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina, Philadelphia Eagles), Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Chicago Bears), Chandon Sullivan (Georgia State, Green Bay Packers), David Mayo (Texas State, Washington Football Team), Mario Addison (Troy, Buffalo Bills) and Steve McLendon (Troy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) contributed to the Sun Belt defensive stat sheet.

Louisiana alumnus and San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell led the way offensively with 43 rushing yards on nine attempts and 19 receiving yards on two receptions. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Penny Hart out of Georgia State also hauled in a pair of receptions for 19 yards.

Running backs J.D. McKissic out of Arkansas State (2 Rushes, -1 Yards, 1 Reception, 8 Yards) and Jerick McKinnon out of Georgia Southern (1 Rush, 2 Yards, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards) got touches on the ground and through the air for the Washington Football Team and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.

Georgia Southern’s kicking tandem combined for another perfect outing with Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass and Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo combining for a 3-for-3 week on field goals and an 8-for-8 week on extra points. Bass connected on his lone field goal attempt from 30 yard out, while Koo converted a 31-yarder and a 52-yarder. Koo also added a tackle on kickoff duty.

Sam Martin, an App State alumnus and the punter for the Denver Broncos, accumulated 176 yards on four punts.

Colby Gossett (App State, Atlanta Falcons), Kendall Lamm (App State, Tennessee Titans), Raymond Johnson III (Georgia Southern, New York Giants), Albert Wilson (Georgia State, Miami Dolphins), Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, Pittsburgh Steelers), Robert Hunt (Louisiana, Miami Dolphins) and Nick Ralston (Louisiana, Dallas Cowboys) also saw the field during Week 6.

Through five games, Louisiana alumnus offensive lineman Robert Hunt has appeared on every offensive snap for the Miami Dolphins.

Forty-nine Sun Belt alumni—representing all 10 football programs—earned NFL roster spots entering the 2021 season, with 30 on active rosters, 12 on 16-man practice squads and five on injured reserve lists during Week 5.

Sun Belt football alumni dot 24-of-32 NFL rosters.

App State
* Ronald Blair – DL, New York Jets
Akeem Davis-Gaither – LB, Cincinnati Bengals (1 G, 3 Tackles)
^ Darrynton Evans – RB, Tennessee Titans
Colby Gossett – OL, Atlanta Falcons (1 G)
Shemar Jean-Charles – DB, Green Bay Packers (1 G, 1 Tackle)
Kendall Lamm – OL, Tennessee Titans (1 G)
Sam Martin – P, Denver Broncos (1 G, 1 GS, 4 Punts, 176 Yards)
* Ryan Neuzil – OL, Atlanta Falcons
* Josh Thomas – S, Buffalo Bills

Arkansas State
Demario Davis – LB, New Orleans Saints (1 G, 1 GS, 8 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1.0 Sacks, 3 Quarterback Hits)
* Aaron Donkor – LB, Seattle Seahawks
J.D. McKissic – RB, Washington Football Team (1 G, 2 Rushes, -1 Yards, 1 Reception, 8 Yards)
Forrest Merrill – DL, Los Angeles Chargers (1 G, 2 Tackle)
* Kirk Merritt – WR, Miami Dolphins

Coastal Carolina 
Anthony Chesley – DB, Indianapolis Colts (1 G, 2 Tackles)
Tarron Jackson – DL, Philadelphia Eagles (1 G, 1 Tackle)
Josh Norman – DB, San Francisco 49ers (1 G, 1 GS, 6 Tackles, 1 Pass Defended)

Georgia Southern
Tyler Bass – K, Buffalo Bills (1 G, 1 GS, 1-for-1 FG, 5-for-5 XP)
Matt Breida – RB, Buffalo Bills (N/A)
Raymond Johnson III – DL, New York Giants (1 G)
Younghoe Koo – K, Atlanta Falcons (1 G, 1 GS, 2-for-2 FG, 3-for-3 XP, 1 Tackle)
Jerick McKinnon – RB, Kansas City Chiefs (1 G, 1 Rush, 2 Yards, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards)
Kindle Vildor – DB, Chicago Bears (1 G, 1 GS, 4 Tackles)

Georgia State 
Penny Hart – WR, Seattle Seahawks (1 G, 2 Receptions, 19 Yards)
^ Wil Lutz – K, New Orleans Saints
Chandon Sullivan – DB, Green Bay Packers (1 G, 1 GS, 3 Tackles)
Albert Wilson – WR, Miami Dolphins (1 G)

* Ja’Marcus Bradley – WR, Cleveland Browns
Kevin Dotson – OL, Pittsburgh Steelers (1 G, 1 GS)
Justin Hamilton – DL, Dallas Cowboys (N/A)
Robert Hunt – OL, Miami Dolphins (1 G, 1 GS)
* Michael Jacquet – DB, Philadelphia Eagles
^ Elijah McGuire – RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Elijah Mitchell – RB, San Francisco 49ers (1 G, 1 GS, 9 Rushes, 43 Yards, 2 Receptions, 19 Yards)
* Trey Ragas – RB, Las Vegas Raiders
Nick Ralston – FB, Dallas Cowboys (1 G)
Tracy Walker III – S, Detroit Lions (1 G, 1 GS, 9 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Pass Defended)

* Josh Johnson – RB, Seattle Seahawks

South Alabama
* Kawaan Baker – WR, New Orleans Saints
^ Gerald Everett – TE, Seattle Seahawks
* Jeremy Reaves – DB, Washington Football Team

Texas State
^ Aaron Brewer – OL, Tennessee Titans
David Mayo – LB, Washington Football Team (1 G, 1 Tackle)
Ty Nsekhe – OL, Dallas Cowboys (N/A)

Mario Addison – DL, Buffalo Bills (1 G, 2 Tackles)
Steve McLendon – DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 G, 1 Quarterback Hit)
* Damion Willis – WR, Washington Football Team

* Practice Squad
^ Injured Reserve

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