SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- For the second straight year, Cal Poly senior cornerback Asa Jackson has been selected as the Great West Conference's preseason defensive player of the year by the league's five head coaches.
Jackson, a graduate of Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, Calif., is on the Buchanan Award Watch List and was listed as one of the top 10 returning defensive backs for the 2011 season by The Sports Network.
The three-time All-GWC first team selection and 2008 freshman player of the year will start at cornerback for the fourth straight season this fall. He had 55 tackles (40 solo), two interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2010 and averaged 12.6 yards on 17 punt returns.
Jackson has compiled career numbers of 145 total tackles (106 solo), 25 pass breakups and six interceptions at Cal Poly. He also has been among the nation's top punt returners the last two years. In 2009 he broke the school record with a 15.5 average per return and he finished 14th in the nation a year ago with his 12.6 average. Jackson's career punt return average of 13.83 yards per game is a school record as well.
Earlier this summer, Jackson was named to the College Football Performance Awards preseason list for punt returners and also was named to the College Sports Madness FCS Preseason All-American Third Team. Lindy's also selected All-FCS preseason teams and Jackson was the lone Mustang honored on the second defensive team.
Other preseason awards for Jackson include an honorable mention on Consensus Draft Services' 2011 Preseason Football Championship Subdivision All-American teams, a spot on a list of the 10 best non-Football Bowl Subdivision players in the country by ESPN college football writer Bruce Feldman, and placed on Phil Steele's 2011 Preseason All-Great West Conference first team as both a defensive back and punt return specialist.
Jackson was selected to the South's second team of the 2011 preseason football All-American Teams by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl selection committee, was named to the Beyond Sports Network 2011 Preseason All American first team and was on Phil Steele's preseason All-American second team on defense as well as the fourth team on special teams.
Southern Utah's Brad Sorensen, North Dakota's Brett Cameron and Sean Kelley from UC Davis also earned Great West Conference preseason players of the year.
Sorensen picked up the offensive player of the year honor as the top returning passer in the FCS ranks in completions per game with an average of 23.73 last season. The junior from Grand Terrace, Calif., is on the Payton Award Watch List and has been tabbed a preseason All-America by numerous publications.
Sorensen threw for 21 touchdowns and a school-record 3,231 yards in 2010 while leading the Thunderbirds to their first Great West Conference championship and earning consensus first-team all-GWC honors at the quarterback position.
Cameron and Kelley share GWC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
As a sophomore for the Fighting Sioux, Cameron averaged 39.9 yards on 74 punts on his way to Great West honorable mention accolades in 2010. The junior from Winnipeg, Manitoba, had seven 50-plus yard punts, including a season-long 65-yarder at Cal Poly, and pinned 24 punts inside the 20-yard line last season.
Kelley, a senior place kicker from Clovis, Calif., is a three-time all-conference honoree. As a freshman in 2008, he led the league in field goals (10-13, .769) and was perfect on 42 PAT. As a junior, Kelley hit 80 percent of his field goal attempts (12-15), including a career-best 52-yard strike in a win vs. Cal Poly, and last season he set career highs for field goals made (13) and attempted (17) en route to 65 points while successful on all but one of 27 PAT attempts.