August 5, 2011
Football Garners Eight Preseason All-SAC Picks; Indians Tabbed Fifth in Poll
ROCK HILL, SC -- Defending South Atlantic Conference champion Wingate has been tabbed by league coaches as the preseason favorite to win the 2011 SAC title, while runner-up pick Carson-Newman leads the way with 11 players on the preseason all-conference team as announced by the league office.
Wingate, led by 2010 SAC Coach of the Year Joe Reich, received four of the eight first-place votes and had a total of 52 points. The Bulldogs, who advanced to the second round of last season’s NCAA Division II playoffs, will look to repeat as SAC champions for the first time in school history.
Just behind Wingate in the preseason poll is perennial league power Carson-Newman, which finished with 49 points. The Eagles will return 18 starters from last season’s team that finished second in the SAC.
Lenoir-Rhyne received two first-place votes and finished third in the poll with 42 points. The Bears, 7-4 (4-3) a year ago, return a strong core led by defending Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient Chandler Reardon.
Also receiving two votes for the poll’s top spot was Tusculum, which was tabbed fourth by the coaches. The Pioneers (40 points) will once again feature a prolific passing attack, led by reigning SAC Offensive Player of the Year and All-American candidate Bo Cordell.
Catawba comes in fifth in the preseason poll with 38 points, followed by Newberry (33 points), Mars Hill (26 points) and Brevard (8 points).
The narrow margin separating teams in the preseason coaches’ poll is indicative of what promises to be a highly-competitive year in the SAC. The season officially gets underway on Thursday, Sept. 1, with conference play starting Sept. 17.
2011 SAC PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
1. Wingate, 52 (4)
2. Carson-Newman, 49
3. Lenoir-Rhyne, 42 (2)
4. Tusculum, 40 (2)
5. CATAWBA, 38
6. Newberry, 33
7. Mars Hill, 26
8. Brevard, 8
Among Carson-Newman 11 all-conference picks is a league-best six selections on the first-team, including running back Nate Inman, offensive linemen Kevin Day and Lucas Mathis, kicker Carlos Lopez, defensive lineman Zeke Andrews and defensive back Tarvin Jones.
Defending conference champion and preseason-favorite Wingate is second with nine honorees, including three first-team picks in wide receiver Chris Bowden, offensive lineman Mike Arndt and defensive back Robert Fletcher. 2010 SAC Coach of the Year Joe Reich led the Bulldogs to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs last season, coming within two points of knocking off top-seeded Albany State in the regional semifinals.
Catawba comes in third with eight selections, including four on the first-team. All-American return specialist LJ McCray, who led the nation in kickoff returns a year ago, is on the first-team, as are 2010 SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year Damein Lee, linebacker Lakeem Perry and defensive back Jumal Rolle.
Tusculum, Lenoir-Rhyne and Brevard are tied for fourth with seven preseason selections each.
Led by 2010 SAC Offensive Player of the Year Bo Cordell, Tusculum has five first-team honorees. Cordell finished fourth in the national voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy last season, which recognizes the DII National Player of the Year. The All-American quarterback led the country in total offense, completions per game and points responsible for per game in 2010.
Joining Cordell on the first-team are receivers Deonte’ Gist and Rashaad Carter, tight end Michael Rodriquez and long-snapper Skylar West.
Lenoir-Rhyne has four first-team picks, including 2010 consensus All-American offensive lineman Chandler Rearden. He is joined on the first-team by fellow offensive lineman Kaleb Myrick. L-R’s defensive lineman Brandon Martin and linebacker Demetrius Green are also on the first team. The duo will anchor a unit that finished fourth in the nation last season in rushing defense.
Also with four first-team representatives is Brevard, including 2010 SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year Kelvin Jeter, who helped the Tornados boast the No. 3 rushing attack in Division II last year. Joining Jeter on the first-team are linebacker Prince Simunyu, defensive back Salonik Amos and punter Eric Watts. Watts was also recognized as a preseason All-Conference receiver on the second-team.
Five Newberry Wolves are preseason All-SAC, headlined by first-team defensive lineman Arterio Arnold, who tallied 13.5 tackles-for- loss and three sacks in 2010.
Mars Hill has four All-Conference selections, including two-time All American and SAC rushing champion Jonas Randolph. He is joined on the first-team by 2010 All-American linebacker Rudy Cabral, who was the league’s leading tackler last season.
2011 SAC PRESEASON FOOTBALL TEAMS
First Team – Offense
QB – Bo Cordell, Tusculum
WR – Deonte’ Gist, Tusculum
WR – Rashaad Carter, Tusculum
WR – Chris Bowden, Wingate
RB – Kelvin Jeter, Brevard
RB – Jonas Randolph, Mars Hill
RB – Nate Inman, Carson-Newman
OL – Kevin Day, Carson-Newman
OL – Chandler Rearden, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Kaleb Myrick, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Mike Arndt, Wingate
OL – Lucas Mathis, Carson-Newman
TE – Michael Rodriquez, Tusculum
LS – Skylar West, Tusculum
PK – Carlos Lopez, Carson-Newman
First Team – Defense
DL – Zeke Andrews, Carson-Newman
DL – Brandon Martin, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL – Damein Lee, CATAWBA
DL – Arterio Arnold, Newberry
LB – Prince Simunyu, Brevard
LB – Demetrius Green, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB – Rudy Cabral, Mars Hill
LB – Lakeem Perry, CATAWBA
DB – Jumal Rolle, CATAWBA
DB – Salonik Amos, Brevard
DB – Tarvin Jones, Carson-Newman
DB – Robert Fletcher, Wingate
P – Eric Watts, Brevard
RS – LJ McCray, CATAWBA
Second Team - Offense
QB – Cody Haffly, Wingate
WR – Brandon Bostick, Newberry
WR – Eric Watts, Brevard
WR – Nick Stutts, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB – Vince Jordan, Wingate
RB – Brandon Baker, Carson-Newman
RB – Josh Wright, CATAWBA
OL – Caleb Campbell, Brevard
OL – Tyler Hodgson, Mars Hill
OL – Chase Gamble, Newberry
OL – Dustin Moorehead, Tusculum
OL – Austin Lowe, Wingate
TE – Matt Cox, Carson-Newman
LS – DJ Davis, CATAWBA
PK – Thomas Trexler, CATAWBA
Second Team – Defense
DL – Byron Bell, Carson-Newman
DL –Nelson Bullard, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL – Jack Taylor, Wingate
DL – Terrence Smith, Tusculum
LB – Ryan Helton, Carson-Newman
LB – Apollo Stretch, Newberry
LB – Cory Johnson, CATAWBA
LB – Jared Seate, Wingate
DB – Michael Gist, Brevard
DB – Oliver Davis, Carson-Newman
DB – Jamont Jones, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB – Justin Squirewell, Wingate
P – BJ Richmond, Mars Hill
RS – Max Elliott, Newberry
|No events scheduled until August 24|