Wells named to FCS Preseason All-America team

Sophomore running back Jordan Wells didn’t see much time on offense for the Lions in 2011, recording only five carries the entire season. However, Wells made his mark on special teams, averaging 26.6 yards per kick return and securing his name as Southland Conference Freshman of the Year.
Now, the stakes are a little higher for Wells, who was named to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America Team on July 9. Wells was also named to the College Football Performance Awards watch list, along with senior defensive back Robert Alford, junior linebacker Ricky Irvin and junior punter Matt McCormick.
Wells, who saw little playing time last year under former head coach Mike Lucas due to his inept blocking ability, has shown great work ethic under new head coach Ron Roberts.
“I think it’s a standard across the board that we have a lot of improvements to make,” said Roberts. “I think he’s giving great effort, and he’s getting better on a daily basis.”
In the limited amount of offensive sets he played, Wells tallied 65 yards and a touchdown, including a 52 yard run in a blowout win against Savannah State.  While his identity as a running back has left him as a promising up-and-comer, his reputation as a special teams weapon has caught the eye of Roberts, who emphasized the importance of a good return man.
“It’s your first offensive play, it’s where you start your offensive drive at, so it’s huge,” said Roberts. “If you can start your drive on the 40 as opposed to the 20, it’s a big difference.”
Wells is in a position battle on the depth chart with seniors Zeke Jones and Sam Fairley, and junior walk-on LaTruan Weary, who burst onto the scene in 2011 after Jones and Fairley went down with injuries. Although Jones and Weary finished the season averaging over four yards per carry, the Lions still ended the season last in the conference in total rushing offense.
“There will be one who will emerge as ‘the guy,'” said Roberts on picking a starter for the upcoming season. “They’re all going to have different things that they excel in. Some will run certain plays better than others. To be successful, you’re going to have to have a couple of running backs step to the plate and be able to carry the load.”
Wells and the Lions have their first game of the season against Missouri in Springfield on Sept. 1.