Home » College football: Seven Bulldogs earn Phil Steele Preseason All-CUSA honors

College football: Seven Bulldogs earn Phil Steele Preseason All-CUSA honors

by Russell Hedges

By Hunter Corneliusen, Louisiana Tech Associate Director Strategic Communications; featured photo by Josh McDaniel

RUSTON — Led by Demarcus Griffin-TaylorBert Hale, and Zach Zimos’ second-team selections, seven Bulldogs received preseason All-Conference USA honors from Phil Steele, the publication announced Tuesday.
Griffin-Taylor, Hale and Zimos earned second-team distinction at cornerback, offensive guard and linebacker, respectively. Jessie Evans (defensive end), Kolbe Fields(linebacker) and Michael Richard (safety) all earned third-team recognition, while Donerio Davenport (running back) was selected to the fourth team.
After transferring from Houston in the spring of 2023, Griffin-Taylor returns for his second season as a Bulldog. The Redshirt senior made three starts last season, tallying 17 tackles, a forced fumble and four pass breakups. Griffin-Taylor recorded a season-high three tackles on two separate occasions against New Mexico State (Oct. 24) and Sam Houston (Nov. 11).
Hale has been a mainstay on the Bulldogs’ offensive line with 18 starts and 37 appearances during his four seasons in Ruston. The Oak Grove, La., product started 11 games last season while helping pave the way for seven 100+ yard rushing games and pass blocking for four 300+ yard games through the air. He was part of a LA Tech offense that ranked second in CUSA with 243 first downs last season.
Zimos made an immediate impact during his first season as a Bulldog in 2023 after transferring from Arkansas. The redshirt senior linebacker registered 60 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and one sack, in addition to a pass breakup. He led the Bulldogs in tackles twice during the 2023 season, tallying 14 in a loss to Middle Tennessee and nine at Nebraska.
Evans arrived at Tech after transferring from Prairie View A&M prior to the 2023 season. The senior appeared in all 11 games and made two starts while tallying 32 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 in addition to a pass breakup. In the season finale at Jacksonville State, he recorded a season-high five solo tackles.
Fields garnered praise from teammates and coaches during spring practice as a linebacker. He sat out the 2023 season after transferring from LSU. During the 2022 season at LSU, he played in 11 games while registering four tackles. The New Orleans product spent the 2021 season at South Carolina, where he appeared in four games.
Richard earned Freshman All-America honors after ranking seventh nationally among FBS freshmen with seven pass breakups in 2023. Opponents completed just 40 percent of passes (14-35) against him last season, allowing just one touchdown in 249 defensive snaps. His 83.5 coverage grade was the fourth-best mark among all CUSA defensive backs. The New Orleans native also tallied 32 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and two quarterback hurries. On special teams, Richard was one of three CUSA players to return a punt for a touchdown when he returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the season finale against Jacksonville State.
Davenport arrives at Louisiana Tech after spending his junior year at Texas State, where he appeared in all 13 games, registering 458 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 90 carries. The McComb, Miss., native averaged 5.1 yards a carry while also recording 11 receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Davenport spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Kilgore College, earning NJCAA First-Team All-American honors in 2022 after ranking second nationally with 1,203 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
LA Tech has six home games at Joe Aillet Stadium for the second consecutive year. The Bulldogs will open the season with non-conference foes Nicholls (Aug. 31) and Tulsa (Sept. 21). Tech closes out the home slate in conference play with Middle Tennessee (Oct. 10), UTEP (Oct. 22), a homecoming matchup with Jacksonville State (Nov. 9) and Kennesaw State (Nov. 30).
Season tickets for the 2024 Louisiana Tech football season are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets online at LATechSports.com/tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631.
For all the latest in Bulldog Football, follow them on Twitter (@LATechFB), Instagram (@LATechFB), and Facebook (LATechFootball) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.

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