SEGUIN, Texas – Texas Lutheran senior defensive end Manny Longoria (Geronimo/Navarro) and junior safety James Bell (Houston/Lamar) were named Friday to the 2019 D3football.com Preseason All-American Team.
Longoria and Bell were two of the seven American Southwest Conference players to be recognized by D3football.com on the preseason All-American team.
Hardin-Simmons senior tackle Johnathan Castaneda and Mary Hardin-Baylor senior defensive tackle Joey Longoria and junior safety Jefferson Fritz were named to the First Team.
HSU senior safety Dedrick Strambler and sophomore return specialist Rae Millsap were placed on the Second Team.
Longoria and Bell were named to the Third Team.
“To me, the first emotion I feel is an immense amount of pride because those two young men deserve any recognition that they receive,” said Carl Gustafson, TLU’s third-year head football coach. “They are great teammates. They are all about the team first. They are tremendous athletes. They are great leaders, and they are tremendous role models on the field and off the field.”
“These are the guys you root for because they are team-first guys. They love their teammates and their teammates love them. When those guys excel, they are program-type men. They set a culture in a program. These two men have modeled what we want all the other guys to do. If the team follows the example set by these two men, we will be in great shape.”
Longoria comes off an outstanding junior season in which he earned a Second Team All-South Region selection and claimed First Team All-ASC honors.
Longoria was among the national leader in sacks (19th) and tackles for loss (11th). He also ranked 32nd in forced fumbles.
Longoria led the ASC in sacks per game and tackles for loss, and he tied for the conference lead in fumbles forced per game.
Longoria ended his 2018 with 37 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss (108 yards in losses), and 10.0 sacks (77 yards in losses). He also had five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery (which he returned 41 yards for a score).
Early in the 2018 season, Longoria broke Texas Lutheran's DIII-era record for career sacks, and he is closing in on the TLU DIII-era record for tackles for loss. He needs 10 more in his senior season to break the record.
Bell is a two-time All-Region and two-time All-ASC First Team selection. In 2018, Bell intercepted a team-high four passes and had 105 yards in INT returns. It was the second consecutive year that Bell led the team in interceptions. He had six in 2017.
Bell had two picks in the road win at Louisiana College. He returned the first one 55 yards for the game's opening touchdown. His second interception came on the Wildcats' final drive of the game. Bell's interception preserved a 41-36 TLU win in Pineville, La.
Bell finished third on the squad in total tackles (47), and he had a tackle for loss, five pass break-ups, a recovered fumble, and a blocked kick.
TLU went 7-3 in 2018 and posted a 6-3 conference mark for the second straight year. The 7-3 overall record was a one-game improvement upon the 2017 overall mark.
Bell, Longoria and the rest of the Bulldogs report to preseason camp at TLU on Monday, Aug. 19.
The Bulldogs’ first game of the year is the home-opener on Sept. 14 against non-conference opponent Hendrix College, out of Conway, Ark. Kickoff at TLU’s Bulldog Stadium is set for 6 p.m. with pre-game coverage on KWED 1580 AM and tlubulldogs.com (video webcast) starting at 5:30 p.m.