McKINNEY – Texas A&M University-Commerce took top honors at the annual Lone Star Conference Football Media Day on Monday, as the Lions were chosen as the favorites in the preseason poll, and Miklo Smalls and Dominique Ramsey earned Preseason Player of the Year honors.
A&M-Commerce went 11-3 in its first season under head coach David Bailiff in 2019, advancing to the NCAA Division II Super Region Finals. After a year away from competition during the COVID pandemic in 2020-21, the Lions are aiming for a sixth consecutive playoff appearance and their 24th LSC title.
The Lions collected 15 of the 23 first place votes for 175 points in the preseason poll, 23 points ahead of Angelo State. A&M-Commerce’s last appearance at the top of the preseason poll was in 2018, and the Lions’ last LSC title came in 2016. A&M-Commerce is 41-5 in the LSC in the last six seasons and has not lost more than one conference game in a season since 2013.
2021 LSC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL
|3.||West Texas A&M||1||125|
|4.||UT Permian Basin||5||112|
|6.||Eastern New Mexico||60|
|8.||Western New Mexico||33|
Smalls (Plano – East) was selected as the league’s preseason offensive player of the year after a phenomenal 2019 season at the quarterback position. He was named second team all-Lone Star Conference and won LSC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times in 2019. Smalls completed 244-of-376 passes for 3,010 yards with 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions, while also carrying the ball 124 times for 488 yards and three touchdowns. He had six games with multiple touchdown passes, including five against Midwestern State. In the playoff wins over Tarleton and Colorado School of Mines, he had over 100 yards rushing and over 150 yards passing in each contest.
Ramsey (Converse – Judson) was selected as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year, adding to a lengthy tally of honors in his career. The redshirt senior earned three All-American honors in 2019 and has four postseason All-American awards in his career. He was named First Team All-American as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press and Second Team All-American as both a return specialist and safety by the Division II Conference Commissioners’ Association (D2CCA). The Cliff Harris Award nominee was also named to the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas small college team, and earned First Team All-Super Region Four honors from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association as both a safety and return specialist.
In 2019 he had 39 tackles (27 solo), two tackles for loss, three interceptions and five passes defended. He also cemented himself as one of the game’s top return men with 17 kick returns for 550 yards and a touchdown, and 21 punt returns for 264 yards and a touchdown.
He was named a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America and the National Football Foundation Gridiron Club of Dallas Scholar-Athlete in 2021, as he graduated with his bachelor of science in industrial engineering in May.
Lion Football opens the season on Thursday, September 2, at Colorado State-Pueblo, then plays at Globe Life Field in Arlington against Midwestern State on Saturday, September 11, with tickets available at LionAthletics.com/GLP with the promo code “LIONS”. The West Florida game on Saturday, September 18, is the first of six home games. Season tickets are available at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling (903) 468-8756.