Troy represented on Phil Steele Preseason All-Sun Belt

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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A total of nine Troy Trojans made the annual Phil Steele Magazine Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, which was released on Tuesday.

After a slew of Trojans already appeared on the Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, Troy continues to add to the preseason honors. Defensive end TJ Jackson, bandit Richard Jibunor, bandit Javon Solomon, long snapper Quentin Skinner and cornerback Reddy Steward were all named to the First-Team, while safety Dell Pettus appeared on the Second-Team and offensive linemen Daniel King and Grant Betts were joined by running back Kimani Vidal on the Third-Team.

Of those appearing on the Preseason All-Sun Belt, Jackson, Solomon, Steward, Vidal and Jibunor all earned All-Sun Belt honors last season. Jackson was a menace to opposing offenses last season, tallying 14.5 tackles-for-loss and eight sacks to go along with 55 tackles a year ago.

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Solomon wrapped up 2022 with 44 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks as he earned All-Sun Belt Third-Team honors, while Jibunor earned 41 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss and 7.5 sacks. Steward finished the 2022 campaign with 65 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

Skinner handled a total of 117 snaps last season, starting 13-of-14 games at the position, and was perfect on all 117 of his snaps. He’s rated as one of the top long snappers in the country going into his senior season.

Vidal was among the Sun Belt’s top rushers in 2022, earning 1,132 yards and 10 touchdowns as he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Vidal also came within shouting distance of breaking the single-game rushing record and became just the second Trojan ever to record back-to-back 200-yard rushing games. Vidal goes into 2023 just 1,092 yards shy of breaking Troy’s career rushing record.

King and Betts are Troy’s lone returning starters on the offensive line. In King’s first year at Troy, he started all 14 games at right guard and was the Trojans’ top-rated pass blocker, allowing just two sacks and one quarterback in 467 pass situations. He was also penalized just one in 2022 and was rated as the No. 3 offenisve guard in the Sun Belt by ProFootballFocus (PFF). Meanwhile, Betts is a three-year starter at Troy having started 37 games over the past three seasons. Last year, he started all 14 games at right tackle and played 915 of Troy’s 917 offensive snaps during the season.

Pettus is a three-time All-Sun Belt defensive back and last season, he started all 14 games at strong safety for the Trojans. He tallied 66 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery on the season.