BRENTWOOD, Tenn — The Ohio Valley Conference released its 2020 Preseason All-OVC Football Team on Monday and six Gamecocks were included.
Jacksonville State had three players named on offense and three on defense. The team was selected by the league's head coaches and sports information directors and was set to be released during Monday's annual Media Day, which was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Quarterback Zerrick Cooper, tight end Trae Barry and offensive lineman Michael Shaddix were the three offensive players featured for JSU, while defensive end DJ Coleman, linebacker Zack Woodard and cornerback Yul Gowdy were among the defensive honorees.
Cooper, a senior from Jonesboro, Ga., earned his second-straight All-OVC honor in 2019 after being named a first-team selection in 2018, extending JSU's streak of consecutive seasons with a quarterback on the All-OVC teams to seven. In 2019, Cooper finished the regular season ranked eighth nationally in total offense with 310.3 yards per game, eighth in passing yards with 3,404 yards, ninth in points responsible for with 204 and 11th in passing touchdowns with 28. In just two years at JSU, Cooper has the top two single-season passing marks and ranks third in school history for career passing yards (6,820). He also has the top two single-season passing touchdown marks and ranks seventh in OVC history and second in JSU history with 60 career passing touchdowns, just one away from Ed Lett's school record of 61 from 1979-82.
Barry, a senior from Summerdale, Ala., was voted to the 2020 Preseason All-OVC squad despite playing in just five games before an injury forced him to miss the remainder of the 2019 season. Despite the injury, he is JSU's leading returning receiver with 25 catches for 330 yards and a touchdown a year ago. He joined Cooper on HERO Sports Sophomore All-America Team in 2018 after catching 32 passes for 503 yards and a score to grab First-Team All-OVC honors that year. Barry enters his senior campaign with 67 career catches for 1,076 yards and five touchdowns.
Shaddix, a junior from Fort Payne, Ala., finds his name on the Preseason All-OVC squad after earning All-OVC honors as a sophomore in 2019. In earning his first All-OVC honor a year ago, he helped the JSU offensive line pave the way for the second-best offense in the OVC. Shaddix and his teammates up front cleared a path for 5,033 yards of total offense and 296 passing yards per game – 13th-most in the nation.
A junior from Atlanta, Coleman grabbed his first All-OVC honor in 2019 as one of the OVC's top pass rushers. He created havoc for opposing quarterbacks in his second season in Jacksonville, leading JSU with five sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss. His five sacks tallied a total loss of 31 yards, while he also picked up a team-best 28 quarterback hurries, broke up a pair of passes and forced a fumble. He totaled 59 tackles, tied with All-American Marlon Bridges for fourth on the team.
Woodard, a junior from Thomasville, Ala., had a breakout season in his first season starting in the middle for JSU in 2019. He led the Gamecocks and was in the top five in the OVC in tackles with 96, while also tallying seven tackles for a loss and assisting on a sack. He recorded an interception, broke up four passes and recovered a fumble for the Gamecocks to earning All-OVC honors in 2019.
Gowdy, a junior from Birmingham, earned the Preseason All-OVC recognition by the league's coaches after recording 36 stops, four for a loss, an interception and six passes broken up in 2019. Gowdy was a Freshman All-American and OVC All-Newcomer pick in 2017 after notching 41 tackles with an interception and 10 break-ups.
The Gamecocks are scheduled to open the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, at Florida International in Miami, Fla. JSU is then set to play at North Alabama on Sept. 12 before its home opener against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 19. Tickets are currently on sale at www.JSUGamecockSports.com or by calling the ticket office at (256) 782-8499.