VMI Football: Phil Steele lists five Keydets on preseason teams

vmi footballA few weeks after the Southern Conference released its preseason all-conference selections, acclaimed college football analyst Phil Steele recognized five Keydets on his preseason All-SoCon teams.

Senior wideout Javeon Lara was named to the second team offense while junior defensive back AJ Smith was named to the second team defense. Junior quarterback Reece Udinski was chosen for the third team offense and junior linebacker Elliott Brewster was selected to finish on the third team defense. Senior receiver Rohan Martin was picked to finish on the first team special teams unit as a punt returner.

Lara is a three-year letterman and returning starter coming off an excellent 2018 season in which he accumulated the second most catches and yards among receivers with 53 catches for 825 yards. He led the team in touchdown receptions with seven and earned the team’s longest reception of the year with a 72-yard touchdown catch against Samford. He produced four 100+ yard receiving games as a junior.

AJ Smith is a two-year letterman and returning starter that earned 2018 All-SoCon second team defense honors a year ago. The Academic All-American started all 11 games at safety a year ago extending his start streak to 18. He co-led the team in tackles with 90 for sixth in the league standing with 8.2 tackles per game.  He led the Keydet defense with 55 solo stops last season and broke up three passes during the season.

Udinski rewrote the season passing record book in 2018 by throwing for over 3,000 yards and became the first quarterback in school history to surpass the 3,000 yard threshold for a single season. He set season marks for completions (302), attempts (523), total plays (570) and tied the season mark for most touchdown passes in a season with 20. Udinski established VMI single game records for passing yards when he threw for 491 yards in VMI’s 52-50 loss at Western Carolina September 22 which also stood as the second most yards by a SoCon QB during the year.

Elliott Brewster has played in 22 consecutive games and started all 11 last season as a redshirt sophomore linebacker. He co-led the team in tackles with Smith (90) to tie for ninth most in the league while finishing third on the team in tackles-for-loss with 5.5. He posted double digit tackles in three games including 15 against The Citadel and 11 at Samford and Old Dominion.

Rohan Martin was a 2018 second team All-Socon specialist despite only playing in eight games due to injury. He tied for third on the team for the most receptions on the year with 30 to go with 252 yards and a touchdown. On special teams he averaged 15.9 yards per return in seven tries.

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