Phil Steele’s 2021 College Football Preview magazine announced its Preseason All-Conference USA teams and Louisiana Tech earned nine selections on the preseason list.
Four Bulldogs earned first team honors in senior linebacker Trey Baldwin, sophomore defensive back BeeJay Williamson, sophomore punt returner Smoke Harris and junior deep snapper Reeves Blankenship.
Baldwin was named second team all-C-USA and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA third team in 2020. The Orange, Texas, native finished the season second on the team with 85 total tackles, including a team-best 53 solo tackles.
Williamson was named first team all-Conference USA by both the league and Phil Steele in 2020. The native of Dallas, Texas, was third on the team with 56 total tackles, including 32 solo, while also registering 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, three interceptions, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.
Harris was named second team all-C-USA and Phil Steele All-Conference USA First Team as a punt returner in 2020. During the campaign, he averaged 21.50 yards per punt return after returning six punts for 129 total yards.
Blankenship appeared in nine games as Louisiana Tech’s starting deep snapper in the 2020 season and earned all-conference second team honors by both Conference USA and Phil Steele.
Freshman linebacker Tyler Grubbs was Tech’s lone second team selection while graduate transfer running back Marcus Williams Jr. was named to the third team.
Grubbs was a FWAA, ESPN and 247Sports.com Freshman All-American. He was named first team all-Conference USA by both the league and Phil Steele while also earning a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman team.
Williams transferred to Louisiana Tech from App State where he appeared in 42 games and made six starts.
LA Tech had three Bulldogs named to the fourth team in junior offensive lineman Joshua Mote, senior defensive lineman Willie Baker and Barnes.
Mote was an all-Conference USA honorable mention in 2020 and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA Fourth Team.
Baker was named an all-Conference USA honorable mention and all-Louisiana honorable mention in 2019 and was a member of ESPN’s all-Bowl team in 2018.
Barnes was a Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Semifinalist, named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, was an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA Fourth Team.
PHOTO: by Tom Morris.