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Sam Houston Bearkats Shine in CUSA Postseason Awards

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Six Bearkats Garner Coveted CUSA Postseason Honors in a Stellar Display

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DALLAS – Trevor Williams and Da’Marcus Crosby were each named to the All-Conference USA first team defense, highlighting six total Sam Houston Bearkats to earn postseason honors which were announced by league officials on Tuesday. 

The pair were joined by wide receiver Noah Smith who was an honorable mention selection on the offensive side. Meanwhile, offensive linemen Orion Irving and Rhett Larson, along with defensive back Chantson Prox, were all named to the league’s all-freshman team. 

The Kats closed out their first season in Conference USA with wins in three of their final four games, including a dramatic 23-20 victory at home over Middle Tennessee in the season finale.  

Trevor Williams (LB) – First Team 
Williams capped his Bearkat career with his best season to date, leading Sam Houston and ranking second in CUSA and seventh in the country with 135 total tackles. He also added 8.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pair of interceptions while racking up double-digit tackles in nine of the Kats’ 12 games in 2023. 

He became Sam Houston’s Division I leader in total tackles and set a school record for solo stops in a career, totaling no less than 10 tackles in each of SHSU’s first seven games. Williams turned it on late and earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Week honor in after a win over Middle Tennessee in the season finale, a performance highlighted by a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown, the second pick-6 of his career. 

Da’Marcus Crosby (DB) – First Team 
In his first season in Huntsville, Crosby quickly turned into a do-it-all defensive back for the Kats as he anchored the defense from his safety spot. He played in all 12 games and ranked third on the team with 55 total tackles, reaching double-digit stops in consecutive games with 10 each vs both UTEP and Kennesaw State.  

Crosby had interceptions in each of those games and, along with picks vs both Jax State and WKU, finished with four on the year. That total ranked tied for second in CUSA and made him the first Kat with four picks since both Zyon McCollum and Jaylen Thomas had four in 2021.  

He was the first of three Kats to earn the league’s Defensive Player of the Week honor, doing so after his 10 tackles and interception helped lead SHSU to its first win of the season vs Kennesaw State. 

Noah Smith (WR) – Honorable Mention 
Smith’s fifth season with the Kats turned out to be his biggest to date as he finished the season with team and career bests of 79 catches for 783 yards and six touchdowns. He also added 102 yards and a pair of scores on the ground, making him one of a dozen players in CUSA with over 900 all-purpose yards in 2023.  

But it was his play within Conference USA that put him among the best in the league as he led all players in CUSA with 9.0 receptions per game, a mark 1.5 more per game than anyone else in league play. He ranked third with 80.8 receiving yards per game and five touchdowns, an average that was significantly higher before a late-season injury limited his action in the season finale vs Middle Tennessee. 

Still, he became the first Bearkat in program history with three games of 10+ receptions in a single season, while picking up 115 receiving yards in consecutive games vs LA Tech and WKU, the first 100-yard receiving games of his career. Additionally, Smith tied the school record with 13 catches in the Kats’ near upset at Liberty. 

Orion Irving (OL) – All-Freshman 
Irving proved to be a significant contributor on the Bearkat offensive line this season, playing in 10 total games. He saw all of his time at both tackle spots and started each of the final five games of the year, finishing the year as the Kats primary left tackle. 

Rhett Larson (OL) – All-Freshman 
Larson was a key piece of the Bearkat offensive line unit in 2023. His size and versatility allowed him to be used in multiple purposes throughout the year, playing in all 12 games as an eligible blocking tight end, starting at WKU. Larson also got a start at right tackle in the Kats’ game vs Jax State.  

Chantson Prox (DB) – All-Freshman 
Prox played in nine games for the Kats as a true freshman, serving as a key contributor on special teams and working his way into Sam Houston’s group of cornerbacks who saw significant playing time. He saw action in the opener at BYU before getting his first two tackles of the year, including in on a TFL, at Houston Week 3 and added a tackle to his ledger when the Kats hosted Jax State early in CUSA play.