ASU's Rolland-Jones named Sun Belt's best again

Published 8 December 2017

The phone rang Wednesday morning, and Ja'Von Rolland-Jones held out his cellphone to see a student services director was calling.

Perhaps it involved academics -- it was finals week, after all.

He answered.

Instead, Arkansas State University's senior defensive end learned he had been named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Rolland-Jones, who finished the regular season ranked second in the nation with 1.18 sacks per game, became the third player to win the Sun Belt honor in consecutive seasons, the first since ASU quarterback Ryan Aplin won in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

"It's a wonderful feeling," said Rolland-Jones, who is also seventh in the nation with 1.7 tackles for loss per game. "It's a blessing. I'm just thankful God put me in this position."

Last season, he became the first defensive player to win player of the year since North Texas defensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, who also won it twice in 2002 and 2003.

Rolland-Jones' 43½ sacks are one shy of the all-time NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision career sack record that was set by former Arizona State linebacker Terrell Suggs. Rolland-Jones' final collegiate game is when the Red Wolves play Middle Tennessee State in the Camellia Bowl on Dec. 16 in Montgomery, Ala.

"It's been a great career here," the Mesquite, Texas, native said. "The support from my family, my teammates. Glad I had a chance to do it here with a school that loves their football team."

Shortly after Rolland-Jones received the phone call, he ran into redshirt junior quarterback Justice Hansen. Rolland-Jones had heard Hansen was awarded the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.

Rolland-Jones held out his cellphone and gave Hansen a shoutout on his Snapchat story.

"Aww, thank you buddy," Hansen said.

"He's just cool, calm and relaxed," Rolland-Jones said. "It was great what he did this season. You never seen him push the panic button."

Hansen's 34 touchdown passes have broken the Sun Belt single-season record of 32 set by Florida Atlantic's Rusty Smith in 2007, and Hansen's 40 total touchdowns have broken the Sun Belt single-season record (36) that was held by both Dwight Dasher (Middle Tennessee State, 2009) and Kolton Browning (Louisiana-Monroe, 2012).

Hansen also set single-game school records for passes completed (46, Nebraska), passing yards (520, Louisiana-Monroe) and total yards (550, Louisiana-Monroe). He finished the regular season ranked sixth in the nation with 330 passing yards per game.

Both Rolland-Jones and Hansen were named to the 2017 All-Sun Belt Conference Team, along with 16 other ASU players.

"We get back to work here on Friday," Rolland-Jones said. "Get the plan together. Get out and finish this with a win."

Sports on 12/07/2017

Sun Belt Player of the Year

Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State

Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year

Justice Hansen, Arkansas State

All-Sun Belt First-Team Offense

Position;Name;Class;School

QB;Justice Hansen;R-Jr.;Arkansas State

RB;Jalin Moore;Jr.;Appalachian State

RB;Aaron Duckworth;Sr.;Idaho

WR;Ike Lewis;Sr.;Appalachian State

WR;Penny Hart;R-So.;Georgia State

WR;Jaleel Scott;R-Sr.;New Mexico State

TE;Blake Mack;Sr.;Arkansas State

OL;Colby Gossett;Sr.;Appalachian State

OL;Beau Nunn;Sr.;Appalachian State

OL;Victor Johnson;So.;Appalachian State

OL;Lanard Bonner;R-Jr.;Arkansas State

OL;Steven Rowzee;Sr.;Troy

All-Sun Belt First-Team Defense

DL;Tee Sims;Sr.;Appalachian State

DL;Ja’Von Rolland-Jones;R-Sr.;Arkansas State

DL;Aikeem Coleman;Sr.;Idaho

DL;Cedric Wilcots II;R-So.;New Mexico State

DL;Hunter Reese;Jr.;Troy

LB;Eric Boggs;Sr.;Appalachian State

LB;Tony Lashley;Jr.;Idaho

LB;Dalton Herrington;Sr.;New Mexico State

DB;Clifton Duck;So.;Appalachian State

DB;Blaise Taylor;Sr.;Arkansas State

DB;Jeremy Reaves;Sr.;South Alabama

DB;Blace Brown;Jr.;Troy

All-Sun Belt First-Team Special Teams

PK;Gavin Patterson;Jr.;South Alabama

P;Corliss Waitman;Jr.;South Alabama

Return Specialist;Marcus Green;Jr.;Louisiana-Monroe

All-Purpose;Marcus Green;Jr.;Louisiana-Monroe

All-Sun Belt Second-Team Offense

QB;Taylor Lamb;Sr.;Appalachian State

RB;Larry Rose III;Sr.;New Mexico State

RB;Jordan Chunn;Sr.;Troy

WR;Chris Murray;Sr.;Arkansas State

WR;Jamarius Way;Jr.;South Alabama

WR;Deondre Douglas;Jr.;Troy

TE;Gabe Schrade;Sr.;Texas State

OL;Noah Johnson;So.;Idaho

OL;Kevin Dotson;So.;Louisiana-Lafayette

OL;Noah Fisher;Jr.;South Alabama

OL;Deontae Crumitie;Jr.;Troy

OL;Tristan Crowder;So.;Troy

All-Sun Belt Second-Team Defense

DL;Ronheen Bingham;Jr.;Arkansas State

DL;Logan Hunt;Jr.;Georgia Southern

DL;Jamal Stadom;Sr.;Troy

DL;Trevon Sanders;Jr.;Troy

LB;Kyle Wilson;Sr.;Arkansas State

LB;Shane Johnson;Sr.;Coastal Carolina

LB;Kaden Elliss;Jr.;Idaho

LB;Tron Folsom;So.;Troy

DB;Tae Hayes;Jr.;Appalachian State

DB;Justin Clifton;Jr.;Arkansas State

DB;Monquavion Brinson;So.;Georgia Southern

DB;Ron LaForce;Jr.;New Mexico State

All-Sun Belt Second-Team Special Teams

PK;Tyler Bass;R-So.;Georgia Southern

P;Cade Coffey;R-Fr.;Idaho

Return Specialist;Marcus Jones;Fr.;Troy

All-Purpose;Marcus Jones;Fr.;Troy

All-Sun Belt Third-Team Offense

QB;Tyler Rogers;R-Sr.;New Mexico State

RB;Osharmar Abercrombie;Sr.;Coastal Carolina

RB;Trey Ragas;R-Fr.;Louisiana-Lafayette

WR;Justin McInnis;Jr.;Arkansas State

WR;Malcolm Williams;Jr.;Coastal Carolina

WR;RJ Turner;So.;Louisiana-Monroe

TE;Chase Rogers;Fr.;Louisiana-Lafayette

OL;Jaypee Philbert;Sr.;Arkansas State

OL;Grant Horst;Sr.;Louisiana-Lafayette

OL;Frank Sutton;Sr.;Louisiana-Monroe

OL;Aaron Brewer;So.;Texas State

OL;Kirk Kelley;So.;Troy

All-Sun Belt Third-Team Defense

DL;Caleb Fuller;Sr.;Appalachian State

DL;Caleb Caston;Sr.;Arkansas State

DL;Marterious Allen;Jr.;Georgia State

DL;Joe Dillon;So.;Louisiana-Lafayette

LB;Devan Stringer;Sr.;Appalachian State

LB;Michael Shaw;R-Jr.;Georgia State

LB;Frankie Griffin;Jr.;Texas State

DB;A.J. Howard;Sr.;Appalachian State

DB; Chandon Sullivan; Sr.;Georgia State

DB;Tracy Walker;Sr.;Louisiana-Lafayette

DB;Shamad Lomax;So.;New Mexico State

DB;Cedarius Rookard;Jr.;Troy

All-Sun Belt Third-Team Special Teams

PK;Sawyer Williams;R-So.;Arkansas State

P;Cody Grace;R-So.;Arkansas State

Return Specialist;Blaise Taylor;Sr.;Arkansas State

All-Purpose;Glenn Smith;Sr.;Georgia State