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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Northwestern State
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  2019 ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (COACHES): WR Quan Shorts, Northwestern State, Sr., Humble, Texas,...Record-setting wide receiver Quan Shorts earned first-team honors after setting a school record with 100 catches, the third-highest total produced by a Southland receiver in conference history. A 6-foot-2, 195-pound transfer from Texas Tech, Shorts finished the regular season fourth in the nation in catches per game (8.3) despite playing the final three-plus games with a case of turf toe. Despite the injury, he finished his career with a nine-catch, 132-yard performance against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 21, his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season, one shy of tying the school record.

In two seasons, Shorts filled up the NSU single-season and career record book. His 11 receiving touchdowns were 15th nationally and rank second in NSU single-season history behind Jazz Ferguson's 13 a season ago. Shorts' 994 receiving yards also stand second to Ferguson's 1,117 in 2018. In addition to owning the single-season receptions mark, he stands second in career catches (156), tied for fifth in receiving touchdowns (13) and 11th in receiving yards (1,536). - Northwestern State Football


(DS#115 WR) Sr/2020 WR Quan ShortsNorthwestern State
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  2019 ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): OL Chris Zirkle, Northwestern State, Sr., League City, Texas,... A preseason second-team selection, Zirkle found himself on the second-team following a season in which he consistently was Northwestern State's highest-graded lineman. A CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which honors student-athletes for their achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community, Zirkle matched his 2017 second-team All-Southland selection. A 6-2, 287-pound League City, Texas, product, Zirkle started all 12 games and 16 in a row to end his career after returning for the final four games of 2018 after offseason shoulder surgery. - Northwestern State Football

(DS#167 OG) rSr/2020 OG Chris ZirkleNorthwestern State
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  2019 ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE THIRD TEAM (COACHES): LB Ja'Quay Pough, Northwestern State, Jr., Sherman, Texas,...In his first season with the Demons, Pough collected 101 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles. He was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 28 after recording 21 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack in the Demons' 44-41 overtime win at Incarnate Word. Pough is the first Demon to reach the 100-tackle plateau since Marion Chapman in 2014 and became the first Demon to record at least 20 tackles in a game since Chapman that season. A 6-1, 230-pound product of Sherman, Texas, who transferred from Texas Tech, Pough ranked 22nd nationally in forced fumbles (.25 per game) and 59th in tackles per game (8.4). - Northwestern State Football

(DS#999 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB JaQuay PoughNorthwestern State
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  2019 ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE THIRD TEAM (COACHES): DB Shemar Bartholomew, Northwestern State, So., New Orleans, La.,...Bartholomew, a New Orleans native, ranked 12th nationally in interceptions per game (0.4) closed his sophomore season with a flourish, producing five turnovers in the final five games of the season. Included in that run were a pair of two-turnover games – an interception and fumble recovery at UIW on Oct. 26 and a two-interception game against Stephen F. Austin. He added a momentum-shifting, 96-yard interception return touchdown in the Demons' 31-28 win at Sam Houston State on Nov. 16. A 6-0, 185-pound cornerback, Bartholomew broke up four passes and added 23 tackles and a blocked extra point against McNeese in nine games. - Northwestern State Football

(DS#999 CB) Sr/2022 CB Shemar BartholomewNorthwestern State
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  NOV 18 SOUTHLAND OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Shelton Eppler, Northwestern State, Sr., Quarterback, Navasota, Texas,...Trailing 28-24 in the third quarter against the Bearkats, Eppler punched it in from five-yards out for the game-winning score and his first career rushing touchdown. Through the air, he posted his fifth 300-yard game of the season, connecting with Kendrick Price for a 67-yard scoring strike and Quan Shorts on a one-yard touchdown. Eppler walked off the field of the penultimate game of his Demon career as the program leader in single-season total offense (3,309) and the first 3,000 yard passer in school history (3,254), upping his tally of game, season or career records to 14. Honorable Mention: Dai'Jean Dixon, Nicholls; Jerreth Sterns, Houston Baptist; Chason Virgil, Southeastern Louisiana; Donovan Williams, Sam Houston State. - Southland Conference Football

(DS#101 QB) Sr/2020 QB Shelton EpplerNorthwestern State
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  Shelton Eppler passed for 306 yards and ran for the winning score as Northwestern State came from 14 points down to upset Sam Houston State 31-28 on Saturday. The loss knocked the Bearkats (6-5, 5-3) out of a four-way tie for first in the Southland Conference. Donovan Williams scored two early touchdowns, and a 23-yard interception return by Dwayne Williams staked Sam Houston to a 21-7 lead after a quarter.

Northwestern State (3-8, 3-5) turned the tables with a 17-point momentum swing in the second quarter. Eppler passed to Quan Shorts for a 78-yard pass play, Daniel Justino added a 43-yard field goal and Shemar Bartholomew returned an interception 96 yards for a 24-21 halftime lead. The teams traded TD rushes in the third quarter with Eppler running in the game-winner from 5 yards out. The Bearkats were held to four punts and were intercepted on their final five possessions. Sam Houston State's five losses have all been by a touchdown or less. - AP College Football


(DS#101 QB) Sr/2020 QB Shelton EpplerNorthwestern State
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  Shelton Eppler threw four touchdown passes to lead Northwestern State to a 34-13 victory over Lamar on Saturday night. Northwestern State (2-8, 2-5 Southland Conference) has won two of its last three games while Lamar (4-6, 2-5) has lost three straight. Eppler completed 24 of 35 passes for 289 yards and threw a pair of TD passes to Kendrick Price, who finished with six catches for 69 yards. Myles Ward and Tanner Ash each had a scoring catch, and Stadford Anderson added 84 yards rushing that included a 40-yard touchdown run with 6:10 left in the game. Michael Lawson scored on a 15-yard interception return for Lamar. Bailey Giffen made field goals from 37 and 25 yards. Lawson's pick-6 in the second quarter and Giffen's 25-yarder midway through the third pulled the Cardinals to 14-13. - AP College Football

(DS#101 QB) Sr/2020 QB Shelton EpplerNorthwestern State
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  OCT 28 SOUTHLAND Defensive Player of the Week: Ja'Quay Pough, Northwestern State, Jr., Linebacker, Sherman, Texas,...Pough doubled his total tackles figure on the year in one outing, racking up a career-best 21 stops, including 11 solo tackles in the upset of No. 25 UIW. On the first overtime series, the Cardinals had a first-and-goal from the NSU three-yard line, but Pough assisted on a tackle for loss to help the Demons hold UIW to just a field goal and set up the winning touchdown. His 21 tackles are the most by a Southland player this season and the most for a NSU student-athlete since Marion Chapman recorded 20 on Oct. 18, 2014. Honorable Mention: T.J. Campbell, Central Arkansas; Ferlando Jordan, Southeastern La.; Sully Laiche, Nicholls; Brandon Richmond, Abilene Christian. - Southland Conference Football

(DS#999 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB JaQuay PoughNorthwestern State
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  Shelton Eppler tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Quan Shorts in overtime and Northwestern State beat Incarnate Word 44-41 on Saturday night for its first win of the season. Eppler threw his first touchdown pass of the game, a 19-yarder to Tanner Ash with 19 seconds left in regulation that tied the game 38-38. Eppler was 30-of-40 passing for 259 yards, Jared West ran for three touchdowns and Stadford Anderson added a scoring run for Northwestern State (1-7, 1-4 Southland Conference). Jon Copeland was 27 of 36 for 275 yards passing, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Incarnate Word (5-3, 4-2). Kevin Brown had 116 yards rushing on 21 carries. Keyondrick Philio had a touchdown run, and Carson Mohr made two of three field goal attempts, including a 26-yarder in overtime. - AP College Football

(DS#115 WR) Sr/2020 WR Quan ShortsNorthwestern State
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  2019 PRESEASON ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DB Hayden Bourgeois, Northwestern State, Jr., Church Point, La.,...Bourgeois, a Crowley-Notre Dame product, was Northwestern State's lone first-team selection following a season in which he produced seven turnovers (five interceptions, two fumble recoveries), a total that ranked third nationally. Bourgeois led Northwestern State with 83 tackles and his five interceptions led the Southland Conference and ranked eighth nationally.

"You hope the season he had last year was just the start of what's to come from Hayden," Laird said. "He has shown the ability to get better each and every day. I'm excited because of the recognition he got last year for what he did last year, but he would be the first to say that 2019 is different. We're hoping to see bigger and better things from Hayden this year." - Northwestern State Football


(DS#999 SS) rSr/2022 SS Hayden BourgeoisNorthwestern State
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  2019 PRESEASON ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): OL Chris Zirkle, Northwestern State, Sr., League City, Texas,...A 6-2, 287-pound League City, Texas, product, Zirkle played the final four games of the season, which allowed him to maintain a year of eligibility under the new NCAA redshirt guidelines. After returning against Houston Baptist on Oct. 27, Zirkle recorded at least 20 knockdown blocks in all four games, beginning with a season-high 30 against HBU. "It's good to have him back fully for year after only playing four games last year," Laird said. "Now he's had a spring and summer to get back to where he is. I'm excited to see how he attacks the 2019 season." - Northwestern State Football

(DS#167 OG) rSr/2020 OG Chris ZirkleNorthwestern State
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  2019 PRESEASON ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): DL OShea Jackson, Northwestern State, Sr., Arlington, Texas,...Jackson picked up second-team preseason acclaim after leading Northwestern State in tackles for loss (10.5). A Trinity Valley Community College transfer, Jackson arrived in Natchitoches just ahead of NSU's 2018 season opener at Texas A&M before making his presence felt. He posted 3.5 sacks among his 10.5 tackles for loss and collected 49 total tackles and a blocked extra point that secured Northwestern State's 49-48 win at FCS playoff participant Lamar in September. "O'Shea really came on at the end of the year, and we saw it carry over into the spring," Laird said. "He really has improved as a player and as a leader, a guy the others really look up to." - Northwestern State Football

(DS#999 DE) Sr/2020 DE OShea JacksonNorthwestern State
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  2019 PRESEASON ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): KR Myles Ward, Northwestern State, So., Harvey, La.,...Ward, a Harvey native and De La Salle High School alum, made an impact on special teams in his redshirt freshman season, averaging 25.6 yards per return on 28 attempts. Included in that total was a 94-yard touchdown return to start the second half of Northwestern State's season-finale victory at Stephen F. Austin, helping him earn preseason second-team All-SLC honors. "You look at that game, that one single play turned that game around," Laird said. "He showed the ability to be a game-changer on special teams last year. I'm really looking forward to seeing him improve as a returner and as a receiver." - Northwestern State Football

(DS#999 WR) rSr/2022 WR Myles WardNorthwestern State
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  The Northwestern State football team has picked up a boost in all three phases earlier this month from a trio of Football Bowl Subdivision transfers, head coach Brad Laird announced Wednesday. The Demons picked up wide receiver Akile Davis, a graduate transfer from BYU, Texas Tech transfer linebacker Ja'Quay Pough and kicker Daniel Justino, who joined Northwestern State from Florida.

"For them to be here and learn the system is huge," second-year head coach Brad Laird said. "Ja'Quay and Akile have the opportunity to learn the system in our OTAs and meetings, and then Daniel has the chance to kick with Scotty Roblow and Parker Pastorello and work with McKane Kinchen as a snapper and Parker as the holder to start developing that continuity." All three transfers bring experience with them, something Laird wanted to add, especially to the Demons receiving corps. Davis, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound pass catcher originally from DeSoto, Texas, caught five passes for the Cougars in his career and added a fumble recovery against Mississippi State. He appeared in all 12 games of his redshirt sophomore year of 2017. - Northwestern State Football


(DS#999 WR) rSr/2020 WR Akile DavisNorthwestern State
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