16 Sun Belt Football student athletes to compete in Hula, Tropical Bowls

Published 12:44 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

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Sixteen Sun Belt student-athletes, representing 9-of-10 Sun Belt football programs, will compete in collegiate all-star games Saturday.

The group includes 13 All-Sun Belt honorees from 2021, headlined by a trio of All-Sun Belt First Team performers in App State super senior offensive lineman Baer Hunter, App State super senior defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor and Coastal Carolina super senior linebacker Silas Kelly.

Eight alums will compete in the 76th-annual Hula Bowl at the UCF Bounce House in Orlando, Fla., at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 15. The game will be broadcast nationwide on CBS Sports Network. Paramount among the participants are Taylor, Kelly, All-Sun Belt Second Team return specialist Jalen Virgil out of App State, All-Sun Belt Second Team tight end Roger Carter out of Georgia State and All-Sun Belt Second Team quarterback Levi Lewis out of Louisiana.

Eight others will appear in the sixth-annual Tropical Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 15. The game will be streamed nationwide on Varsity Sports Network. App State’s Hunter—an All-Sun Belt First Team pick—and Mountaineer super senior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan—an All-Sun Belt Second Team honoree—highlight the Sun Belt’s participants in the showcase event.

Sun Belt standouts will also feature in the upcoming NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 29; the East-West Shrine Bowl on Thursday, Feb. 3; and the Senior Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 5. Complete rosters have yet to be announced for these events.

The Sun Belt has produced at least one selection in 14-straight NFL Drafts and has claimed multiple picks in 13 of the past 14. The Sun Belt tied a conference record with seven NFL Draft picks in 2020 and had four players selected in 2021.

Each of last year’s four draft picks appeared in multiple NFL games during the 2021-22 regular season, including Louisiana alumnus Elijah Mitchell, who established a new San Francisco 49ers franchise record for rookie rushing yards with 963 in 11 appearances this season.

Team Smith
Demetrius Taylor, App State (Super Sr., DL – Miami, Fla.)
Jalen Virgil, App State (Super Sr., WR/RS – Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr., LB – Mount Airy, Md.)
Teddy Gallagher, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr., LB – Los Angeles, Calif.)
Cameron Kaye, Troy (Sr., LS – Naples, Fla.)

Team Billick
Roger Carter, Georgia State (Sr., TE – Columbia, S.C.)
Levi Lewis, Louisiana (Sr., QB – Baton Rouge, La.)
Ty Shelby, ULM (Gr., DL – Houston, Texas)

National Team
Thomas Hennigan, App State (Super Sr., WR – Greensboro, N.C.)
Caleb Bonner, Arkansas State (Sr., LB – Reform, Ala.)
Aaron Dowdell, Georgia Southern (Super Sr., OL – Fairburn, Ga.)
Lawrence Edwards, Georgia Southern (Super Sr., OL – Port Orange, Fla.)
Caeveon Patton, Texas State (Sr., DL – Cuero, Texas)

America Team
Baer Hunter, App State (Super Sr., OL – Clemmons, N.C.)
Kameron Brown, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr., WR – Graniteville, S.C.)
Troy Lefeged Jr., Texas State (Gr., DB – Montgomery Village, Md.)

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