A total of seven University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff football players earned 2019 All Southwestern Athletic Conference honors as the all-league teams were announced Wednesday.
A total of five players earned first-team honors: RB Taeyler Porter, OL Mark Evans II and Atondre Smith, DE Jalen Steward, and RS Tyrin Ralph. A pair of players – WR Harry Ballard III and DB Shawn Steele – earned second-team honors.
It is the second consecutive first-team honor for Porter (5-10, 202; Sr, Immokalee, Fla.), who became just the third player in program history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Porter rushed for 1,027 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns in only 10 games in leading the Golden Lions to their first winning season since 2012. He posted four 100-yard rushing games, highlighted by a season-best 197-yard, two-touchdown game in the 45-13 win in the season finale against Texas Southern to clinch the winning season. Porter had a school-record 98-yard touchdown run against Lane that proved to be the game-winner in UAPB’s 45-38 victory over Lane, the first homecoming win for the program since 2012.
Porter’s efforts were anchored on the offensive line by left tackle Evans (6-4, 295; Soph., Houston, Texas) and left guard Smith (6-3, 320; Jr., DeSoto, Texas), who helped the offense to post seven 30+ point scoring games, including back-to-back 50-point games vs. Alabama A&M (52-34) and Langston (53-9). The offense also had eight games of at least 400 yards total offense, including three 500+ yard games (519 at Tennessee St., 532 vs. Lane, 541 vs. Texas Southern), and one 600+ yard game (645 at Alabama A&M) while allowing the second-fewest sacks in the conference (18).
Steward (6-4, 245; Sr., Memphis, Tenn.) joined Porter in earning first-team All-SWAC honors for the second straight year. In posting 61 tackles, he tied for the team lead and was tied for ninth in the SWAC with 5.0 sacks and led the league with 16.5 tackles for loss. Steward had six games with at least 2.0 tackles for loss, and made at least six tackles in a game six times.
Ralph (5-8, 170; Jr., New Orleans, La.) was the most dynamic returner in the league this season, as he led the SWAC in punt returns averaging 10.5 yards on 14 attempts while averaging nearly 28 yards on nine kickoff returns. Ralph had four punt returns of at least 20 yards, and seven kickoff returns of at least 20 yards. He also caught 27 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for 35 yards.
Ballard III (6-3, 205; Jr, St. Louis, Mo.) was fourth in the conference in both receptions (52) and receiving yards (938), and was fifth in touchdown receptions. He posted five 100-yard receiving games, and caught touchdowns in six games, including three multi-TD games. Ballard caught five passes for a season-high 147 yards and two touchdowns against Langston, and had a season-high nine receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Grambling.
Steele (5-11, 180; Jr. Arlington, Texas) was tied for fifth in the SWAC in interceptions (three), and first in the league in both pass breakups (15) and passes defended (18). He had four games of multiple pass breakups, including back-to-back games with three pass breakups at Tennessee St. and vs. Southern. Steele recorded 46 tackles (36 solo), with 2.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and one blocked kick on the season.