National attention for Ross

Cowboys TE named preseason second-team all-America

<p>McNeese State Cowboys tight end Lawayne Ross (40) pushes his way past the reach of Incarnate Word Cardinals linebacker Mar’kel Cooks (34) during the 1st half of Southland Conference game at McNeese State University, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. </p>RickHickmanPhotographer

<p class="p1">McNeese State junior tight end Lawayne Ross continued to rack up the preseason accolades Tuesday when he was named to the STATS All-America offensive second team. 

<p class="p3">Ross turned heads after switching from running back to tight end last season, grabbing 42 passes for 570 yards and showing surprising agility despite his wide 6-foot, 264-pound frame. 

<p class="p3">That tally was enough to earn the No. 2 spot in school history for most receptions by a tight end. 

<p class="p3">“He’s got a lot of intangibles,” McNeese head coach Lance Guidry said of Ross. “He’s a big kid and he’s very mobile and agile. His background is at running back, so we know he can run with the ball in his hands.”

<p class="p3">Guidry added that Ross’ size and agility is especially helpful in the secondary as he gets to maximize his momentum as he goes head to head with smaller defenders. 

<p class="p3">“I think he’ll have an even better year this year,” Guidry said. “Now he’s familiar with the position. … I’m very happy for him, and hopefully he can live up to the hype.”

<p class="p3">Ross accounted for one of the Southland Conference’s 10 athletes on the list of three teams. The league had six first-team All-Americans, four of which made it as a special teams member. 

<p class="p3">Nicholls State senior placekicker Lorran Fonseca, Stephen F. Austin graduate student long snapper Chris Wilkerson, Southeastern Louisiana junior kick returner Juwan Petit-Frere and Sam Houston State senior all-purpose athlete Davion Davis all earned spots in the first-team special teams squad. 

<p class="p3">They were joined on the first team by SHSU junior wide receiver Nathan Stewart and Central Arkansas junior defensive lineman Chris Terrell. 

<p class="p3">Along with Ross on the second-team offense was SHSU senior offensive lineman Mitchell Watanabe.

<p class="p3">The Southland also had a pair of representatives on the third team in Nicholls offensive lineman Chandler Arceneaux and SHSU senior defensive lineman Chris Stewart. 

<p class="p4"><strong>Southland extends agreement with Burnett</strong>

<p class="p3">The SLC announced in a news release Tuesday that the league’s presidential board of directors has extended its agreement with Commissioner Tom Burnett through June 30, 2022. 

<p class="p3">Burnett is the longest-tenured commissioner in the league’s 55-year history as he took the position in 2002. 

<p class="p3">Since then he has facilitated a number of initiatives, most notably the expansion of the conference to include Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Texas A&amp;M-Corpus Christi and New Orleans.

<p class="p3">He also played a major roll in moving the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game to Frisco, Texas, where the SLC has served as the host conference at Toyota Stadium since 2011.