The Georgia Southern Eagles have been picked first in preseason polling conducted by the Southern Conference’s head football coaches. The Eagles, who earned six of nine first-place votes, earned a share of the 2012 league title with a record of 6-2 and advanced to the FCS semifinals. It is the second consecutive year they have been picked first in preseason balloting.
The Eagles, along with Appalachian State, are ineligible for the FCS playoffs and the Southern Conference championship this fall as they begin their transition to FBS.
The Mountaineers were tabbed second in the preseason poll. Appalachian State earned two first-place votes and finished with 51 points. The Mountaineers will be under the direction of first-year head coach Scott Satterfield.
Chattanooga earned the final first-place vote and was picked third with 47 points. It is the highest the Mocs have picked in the coaches poll since 1990. Chattanooga returns 10 starters on both sides of the ball in 2013, including defensive lineman Davis Tull, who was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Samford was picked fourth with 43 points, tying its highest showing in the poll since joining the league in 2008. Head coach Pat Sullivan enters his seventh season with the Bulldogs, who have seen their win total rise each of the last two years.
Wofford (40 points) was tabbed fifth after earning a share of the league crown last season. The Terriers have advanced to the FCS playoffs each of the last three seasons.
The Citadel was slotted sixth with 33 points. The Bulldogs enter their ninth season under head coach Kevin Higgins. The Citadel went 7-4 a season ago, including a 5-3 mark in league play, its best record in the SoCon since winning the league (6-1) in 1992.
Furman was tabbed seventh with 25 points, while Elon followed in eighth place (16). The Paladins return nine starters on offense, while the Phoenix returns nine defensive starters from a season ago.
Western Carolina (12) rounded out the poll. Head coach Mark Speir returns for his second season with the Catamounts and returns 40 lettermen, including six offensive and seven defensive starters.
2013 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Georgia Southern (6) 57
2. Appalachian State (2) 51
3. Chattanooga (1) 47
4. Samford 43
5. Wofford 40
6. The Citadel 33
7. Furman 25
8. Elon 16
9. Western Carolina 12
The media voted Georgia Southern number 1 in their preseason poll. The Eagles earned 15 of 28 first-place votes after sharing the SoCon crown in 2012 with a 6-2 league record.
Georgia Southern, which returns 1,000-yard rushers and preseason All-Americans Dominique Swope and quarterback Jerick McKinnon, picked up 210 points in the balloting.
Wofford finished second in the voting with four first-place votes and 194 points, edging Appalachian State, which grabbed six first-place votes and 190 points. The Terriers and Mountaineers finished tied with Georgia Southern for the SoCon title last year, and all three earned spots in the FCS Playoffs.
Chattanooga earned two first-place votes and 176 points to finish fourth in the preseason vote. Samford was fifth with 149 points, followed by The Citadel (126) and Furman (107), which picked up the remaining first-place vote.
Elon was picked eighth with 61 points and Western Carolina rounded out the voting with 47 points.
Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, which are transitioning to FBS status, will be ineligible for the FCS Playoffs this season and are thus ineligible for the SoCon title.
The 2013 campaign starts Thursday, Aug. 29, when Chattanooga hosts UT Martin at 7 p.m. and Western Carolina takes on Middle Tennessee on the road at 7:30 p.m.
2013 SoCon Football Preseason Media Poll
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Georgia Southern (15) 210
2. Wofford (4) 194
3. Appalachian State (6) 190
4. Chattanooga (2) 176
5. Samford 149
6. The Citadel 126
7. Furman (1) 107
8. Elon 61
9. Western Carolina 47
Appalachian State senior quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson has been named the SoCon Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while the Mocs’ Davis Tull and Samford’s Jaquiski Tartt shared defensive honors in voting conducted by the league’s head coaches.
The league’s head coaches also selected all-conference first and second teams in conjunction with the league’s media day on Wednesday (July 24). Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes as part of the balloting.
Named to the 2013 Walter Payton Award Watch List earlier this summer, Londry-Jackson earned first-team all-conference honors in 2012 from the league’s head coaches and media. He led the Southern Conference and ranked 10th in the nation in total offense (300.5 ypg) as a junior and was 14th nationally in pass efficiency (146.96). Londry-Jackson also rushed for 328 yards and six touchdowns last year.
A junior defensive lineman for the Mocs, Tull was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. He led the league with a school-record 12.5 sacks a season ago and was fifth in the nation with 18.5 tackles for loss. He finished the year with 56 tackles and added three forced fumbles.
Tartt was also named to the Buchanan Award Watch List this summer. As a sophomore last season, he recorded 94 tackles, which was tied for seventh in the SoCon. The defensive back led the league with 14 pass break-ups and tied for the league high with four interceptions. Tartt scored two defensive touchdowns last season and finished the year earning All-SoCon and All-American honors.
Chattanooga led all schools with nine preseason all-conference honorees. The Mocs had six student-athletes earn first-team recognition, while three players were named to the second team. Appalachian State and Samford each had eight players earn preseason all-conference honors. The Mountaineers also placed six student-athletes on the first team and six schools had at least three players earn first-team honors.
The 2013 Southern Conference football season begins Thursday, Aug. 29, when Western Carolina visits Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga hosts UT Martin. The other seven league teams hit the field for their season openers August 30 and 31.
Offensive Player of the Year: Jamal Londry-Jackson, Sr., QB, Appalachian State
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Davis Tull, Jr., DL, Chattanooga, Jaquiski Tartt, Jr., DB, Samford
First Team Offense
QB Jamal Londry-Jackson, Sr., Appalachian State
RB Dominique Swope, Jr., Georgia Southern
RB Fabian Truss, Sr., Samford
OL Kendall Lamm, Jr., Appalachian State
OL Dakota Dozier, Sr., Furman
OL Dorian Byrd, Sr., Georgia Southern
OL Ty Gregory, Sr., Wofford
OL Jared Singleton, Sr., Wofford
TE Faysal Shafaat, Jr., Chattanooga
WR Andrew Peacock, Sr., Appalachian State
WR Sean Price, So., Appalachian State
WR (tie) Kelsey Pope, Sr., Samford
First Team Defense
DL Ronald Blair, Jr., Appalachian State
DL Derek Douglas, Sr., The Citadel
DL Derrick Lott, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Davis Tull, Jr., Chattanooga
LB Jonathan Spain, Jr., Elon
LB Wes Dothard, Sr., Chattanooga
LB Alvin Scioneaux, Sr., Wofford
DB Lavelle Westbrooks, Sr., Georgia Southern
DB Jaquiski Tartt, Jr., Samford
DB D.J. Key, Sr., Chattanooga
DB Kadeem Wise, Sr., Chattanooga
First Team Specialists
PK Ray Earley, Sr., Furman
P Ray Earley, Sr., Furman
RS Tony Washington, Sr., Appalachian State
Second Team Offense
QB Jacob Huesman, So., Chattanooga
RB Darien Robinson, Sr., The Citadel
RB Donovan Johnson, Sr., Wofford
OL Cullen Brown, Sr., The Citadel
OL Clay Johnson, Sr., Elon
OL Garrett Frye, Jr., Georgia Southern
OL Kasey Morrison, Sr., Samford
OL Kevin Revis, Sr., Chattanooga
TE Zeke Walters, Sr., Samford
WR Kierre Brown, Jr., Elon
WR Terrell Robinson, Jr., Chattanooga
Second Team Defense
DL Gary Wilkins, Jr., Furman
DL Javon Mention, Sr., Georgia Southern
DL Jerry Mathis, Jr., Samford
DL Tarek Odom, Jr., Wofford
LB Carson Smith, Jr., The Citadel
LB Justin Shade, Sr., Samford
LB Mike McCrimon, Sr., Wofford
DB Joel Ross, Jr., Appalachian State
DB Brandon McCladdie, Sr., The Citadel
DB Chandler Wrightenberry, Sr., Elon
DB Ace Clark, Jr, Western Carolina
DB (tie) James Zotto, Sr., Wofford
Second Team Specialists
PK Drew Stewart, Sr., Appalachian State
P Clark Sechrest, Sr., Western Carolina
RS Fabian Truss, Sr., Samford