College Sports

Former metro-east football stars returned to the field as NCAA D-I starters

Miami wide receiver Jeff Thomas, left, makes a one-handed catch for a first down in front of LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, second from right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Miami wide receiver Jeff Thomas, left, makes a one-handed catch for a first down in front of LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, second from right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) AP

Several products of local high school football programs returned to action with the opening of the college football season last week. The BND will track weekly the performances of each that play at the NCAA Division I level.

Terry Beckner, DE, East St. Louis, Missouri

The 6-4, 305 pound lineman was relieved early in Mizzou’s 51-14 win over Tennessee-Martin. But he did get one solo tackle.

Jaylon Bester, WR, Miami-Ohio

The former Althoff speed-burner got limited touches in the RedHawks 35-28 disappointment to Marshall Saturday. Bester carried four times for one yard and had one reception for five yards.

CJ Coldon, CB, Althoff, Wyoming

A red-shirt freshman, Coldon earned his spot as starting quarterback in an impressive spring camp. Thorugh two games for the 1-1 Cowboys, who are coming off a hard loss to Washington State, Coldon has five tackles, three of them unassisted. He also had a pass breakup in a season opening win over New Mexico State.

Stephen Elmore, long snapper, Belleville East, Eastern Illinois

The true freshman made his NCAA debut Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Eastern lost 55-20, but the Elmore got in on two field goal attemps, two PATs and four punts.

AJ Epenesa, DE, Edwardsville, Iowa

Iowa defeated Northern Iowa 33-7 behind a dominating defensive performance. The 6-foot-5, 278-pound sophomore out of Edwardsville contributed a tackles, three assists and a quarterback sack.

Tanner Farmer, OL, Highland, Nebraska

The Cornhuskers’ scheduled opener against Akron was postponed due to severe weather Saturday. Farmer, a senior, is back on the top of Nebraska’s depth chart as starting right guard.

Stanley Green, DB, East St. Louis, Illinois

An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as a junior, Green had four tackles including a solo in the win over Kent State Saturday.

James Knight, DB, East St. Louis, Illinois

Now a sophomore, Knight had one tackle assist in the Illini’s win over Kent State Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Tucker McCann, K, O’Fallon, Missouri

The sophomore, who holds the IHSA record for longest field goal in an Illinois high school game, was perfect for Missouri Saturday against Tennessee-Martin. McCann booted a pair of field goals with a long 32 and made six point-after attempts.

Oliver McDowell, LB, East St. Louis, SIUC

The true freshman had there tackles, including two solo and a quarterback sack in the Salukis’ win over Murray State.

Riley Patterson, PK, Edwardsville, Memphis

The sophomore was called upon often in the Tigers’ 66-14 win over Mercer. Patterson, a converted soccer player, booted nine extra points and hit on a 21-yard field goal attempt.

Austin Seibert, PK-P, Belleville West, Oklahoma

Now a senior for the Sooners, Seibert is a candiate for both the Lou Groza award to college football’s top placekicker and the Ray Guy Award for its best punter. Seventh-ranked Oklahoma destroyed Florida Atlantic Saturday with some help from Seibert, who booted eight extra points and punted twice for a 38-yard average.

Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, OL, East St. Louis, Missouri

The 6-5, 330-pound junior got the start at right guard in the Tigers’ win over Tennessee-Martin Saturday.

Bryson Strong, LB, Althoff, Southern Illinois-Carbondale

A redshirt freshman, the former Crusader contributed three tackles, two of them solo, in a 49-10 SIU win over Murray State Saturday.

Nate Strong, RB, East St. Louis, Southern Illinois-Carbondale

The East Side junior carried seven times for 17 yards in a 49-10 Saluki win over Murray State.

Jeff Thomas, WR, East St. Louis, Miami

Thomas impressed with his athleticism as a freshman last season. He did so again Sunday despite the No. 8 Hurricane’s 33-17 upset loss at the hands of No. 25 LSU. Thomas led all receivers with five catches for 132 yards. Video of one-handed circus catch of a pass high and behind him has made the internet rounds.

  Comments