SEGUIN, Texas – Texas Lutheran placed three student-athletes - offensive lineman Garrett Garza, free safety James Bell, and defensive end Manny Longoria - on the 2019 D3football.com All-South Region Teams.
Garza (Round Rock/Stony Point) and Bell (Houston/Lamar) were named to the All-South Region First Team, and Longoria (Geronimo/Navarro) grabbed a spot on the All-South Region Third Team.
Bell, a redshirt junior, has been named All-South Region in three consecutive seasons. He was a Second Team selection in 2017, a Third Team choice in 2018, and now a First Team selection in 2019.
Longoria, a 2019 American Football Coaches Association Second Team All-American, is on the D3football.com All-South Region Team for a second straight year. Longoria was a Second Team All-Region selection in 2018.
Garza, TLU's starting left guard, is on the All-South Region Team for the first time.
In the 2019 season, TLU went 8-2 overall and 8-1 in the American Southwest Conference. The Bulldogs finished as the ASC runner-up for the first time in school history.
The Bulldogs were ranked in the Top 25 and in the regional rankings at times during the 2019 season, and TLU played for the conference championship on Nov. 9 at defending national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor.
TLU's eight wins in the ASC are the most by a Bulldog squad in the university's 18 seasons in the ASC (1998-2012, 2017-present).
The eight overall wins marked just the eighth time in TLU's 85 football seasons that the Bulldogs have won that many games in a single season.
The Bulldogs were picked fourth in the 2019 ASC Preseason Football Poll. TLU was picked behind UMHB, Hardin-Simmons, and East Texas Baptist.
TLU defeated ETBU on the road on Sept. 21 and then defeated then-No. 6 HSU on the road on Oct. 5. The win over HSU was the second win for TLU all-time at the Cowboys' Shelton Stadium.
The wins over ETBU and HSU were part of the Bulldogs' seven-game win streak entering the UMHB game.
Garza, also an All-ASC First Team selection, led a Bulldog offensive line that paved the way for a top-15 rushing attack and a top-50 total offense. TLU currently ranks 13th (out of 247 teams in NCAA Division III) with a rushing offense that averaged 252.9 yards per game and 5.06 yards per carry.
For total offense, TLU is 49th with a unit that averaged 420.3 yards per game and 5.85 yards per play. TLU scored 41 offensive touchdowns.
The Bulldogs have three ball carriers - running backs Chris Monroe (College Station/College Station) and Austin Mathews (Houston/Clear Creek) and quarterback Wade Freeman (Richmond/Bush) - ranked in the NCAA Division III top-65 for yards per carry. Monroe is 33rd at 6.09. Mathews is 54th at 5.58, and Freeman is 64th at 5.36.
Bell, a three-time All-ASC First Team selection, finished the year with 48 total tackles, a half-tackle for loss, and one interception (in the road win over Hardin-Simmons). Bell has started 28 career games for the Bulldogs and collected 156 total tackles and 11 interceptions.
Bell and the TLU defense combined with the TLU offense to produce a team turnover margin per game of plus-1.5. That turnover margin ranks sixth in NCAA Division III.
The TLU defense also ranks 12th nationally in defensive touchdowns, with four, and ranks 23rd in fumbles recovered, with 12.
Longoria, also a three-time All-ASC selection, leaves TLU as the program's DIII-era career leader for sacks and tackles for loss. He tallied 24.5 career sacks for 158 yards and 46.5 tackles for loss for 226 yards.
Longoria had four career forced fumbles and three career fumble recoveries. He took two of those fumble recoveries back for touchdowns, including a 39-yard recovery this year in the road win over then-No. 6 Hardin-Simmons.
In 2019, Longoria collected six sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He posted a single-season career-best 43 tackles this season and ended his four-year career with 119 total tackles.
The Bulldog defense this year ranked 24th in sacks, at 3.2 per contest, and 30th in team tackles for loss, at 8.0 per game.
Players were nominated for these awards by the sports information directors at the various schools. In total 1,065 players were nominated.
All-Region teams were selected in balloting by sports information directors in each region and D3football.com staff. All players nominated for All-Region are eligible to be considered for the D3football.com All-America Team.
2019 D3football.com All-East Region Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Joe Germinerio, QB, Ithaca
Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Nobile, DE, Delaware Valley
Coach of the Year: Bob Ritter, Middlebury
2019 D3football.com All-South Region Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Robert Shufford, RB, Birmingham-Southern
Defensive Player of the Year: Frankie Feaster, DE, Muhlenberg
Coach of the Year: Mike Clark, Bridgewater
2019 D3football.com All-North Region Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Broc Rutter, QB, North Central
Defensive Player of the Year: Dallas McRae, DT, Wheaton
Coach of the Year: Don Beebe, Aurora
2019 D3football.com All-West Region Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Jackson Erdmann, QB, St. John's
Defensive Player of the Year: Mackenzie Balanganayi, Jr., UW-Whitewater
Coach of the Year: Bob Owens, Chapman
The 2019 D3football.com All-America Team will be announced Friday, Dec. 20, at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.