Shortly after Phil Steele released his preseason All-Sun Belt Conference teams, he recently unveiled his All-America picks.
Texas State’s Brandon Smith again found his name on the list.
The now-junior wide receiver followed up his First-Team All-SBC selection by being chosen as a preseason Fourth-Team All-American. Smith was one of two SBC players to receive such a distinction from Steele as he joined Idaho’s Austin Rehkow.
Smith burst onto the scene in the Bobcats’ tilt versus UL Lafayette last season. The Prattville, Alabama native returned two kickoffs against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Smith scampered free for a 92-yard touchdown in the third quarter — and one-upped himself with a 100-yard return in the fourth quarter. With that, the junior became the 13th player in NCAA history to have two kick return scores in a single game.
Smith was a consistent threat in the return game during the 2013 season as he averaged 29.9 yards on 20 returns. That mark ranked fifth in the nation and second among SBC returners.
A punter last season for the Vandals, Rehkow led the nation with 47.8 yards per punt. In the Bobcats’ 37-21 victory over Idaho last season inside the Kibbie Dome, Rehkow tallied punts of 55, 62 and 65 yards. Rehkow was tabbed as a preseason Fourth-Team All-American by Steele.
Aside from Rehkow, Texas State will face Illinois’ V’Angelo Bentley this season. Bentley was chosen as a preseason Third-Team All-American kick returner by Steele. The junior defensive back had a 100-yard return versus Southern Illinois.
The Bobcats and Fighting Illini will meet for the first time Sept. 20 at Memorial Stadium in Champagne, Illinois. Texas State faces the Vandals Oct. 4 inside Bobcat Stadium.