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SoCon Coaches Tab Appalachian State as Favorite, Name Preseason All Conference Team
Mountaineers look to win fifth consecutive SoCon football title
The Southern Conference football coaches have unanimously selected Appalachian State as the preseason favorite to win the league crown in 2009.
ASU, winners of four consecutive SoCon crowns including a shared title with Wofford in 2007, received eight first-place votes in the balloting, the maximum number allowed as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. The Mountaineers return 18 starters this season, including seven on offense and 9-of-11 on defense.
Highlighting the list of returnees is 2008 Walter Payton Award winner and SoCon Offensive Player of the Year Armanti Edwards. The senior quarterback, who compiled 3,843 yards of total offense and was responsible for 41 touchdowns in 2008, has rewritten the SoCon record book. Edwards enters his final campaign as the league’s all-time leader in total offense, touchdowns responsibilities and rushing yards by a quarterback.
Following ASU (64 points) in the coaches’ voting is Wofford (53). The Terriers finished in second place a season ago as their only league loss came at the hands of Appalachian State. Coach Mike Ayers has the task of replacing 13 players from his ‘08 starting 22, and will look for strong line play from senior defensive lineman Mitch Clark and junior offensive lineman Pat Illig to set the tone for his 2009 squad.
Record-setting wide receiver Terrell Hudgins will lead Elon (51), whom the coaches voted to finish third this season. A senior, Hudgins is the conference’s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The Phoenix finished 6-2 in SoCon play in 2008, marking its best-ever performance in five seasons as a member of the league.
Furman (40) occupied the fourth spot in the poll, one point ahead of fifth-place Georgia Southern (39). The Paladins and Eagles finished in a three-way tie for fourth place along with Samford in 2008, as all three sported identical 4-4 league marks.
Georgia Southern picked up the remaining first-place vote in the poll.
Following GSU was a tie for sixth with The Citadel and Samford each receiving 26 points.
Western Carolina (15) and Chattanooga (10), under the direction of new head coach Russ Huesman, rounded out the poll.
The 2009 Southern Conference football season begins on Thursday, Sept. 3 when Chattanooga entertains Glenville State at Finley Stadium at 7 p.m. The first SoCon game of the season is Saturday, Sept. 19 when Western Carolina visits Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. to kick off the SoCon Saturday broadcast package on SportSouth.
2009 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll
Place School (First-place votes) Points
1. Appalachian State (8) 64
2. Wofford 53
3. Elon 51
4. Furman 40
5. Georgia Southern (1) 39
6t. The Citadel 26
6t. Samford 26
8. Western Carolina 15
9. Chattanooga 10
Edwards, Roman Highlight Team as Preseason Players of the Year
After earning league player of the year honors as juniors in 2008, Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards and linebacker Jacque Roman have been named Southern Conference Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, in voting by the league’s nine head football coaches.
Edwards, the All-American quarterback who claimed the 2008 Walter Payton Award while rewriting the ASU and SoCon record books, was a unanimous choice as both the first-team preseason all-conference quarterback and the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. The Greenwood, S.C., native accumulated 3,843 yards of total offense and was responsible for 41 touchdowns as a junior while leading the Mountaineers to a perfect 8-0 SoCon record.
Anchoring ASU’s defense again in 2009 will be Roman, a 6-1, 240 pound linebacker from Kingland, Ga., whose 130 tackles in 2008 were a league best. Roman recorded 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks last season to go along with four fumble recoveries, and he enters this season as the SoCon’s active career leader in tackles with 301.
Appalachian State led the way with 17 total selections, including eight on the first team and nine on the second team.
Elon had eight players honored followed by Furman with seven and The Citadel and Wofford which had six apiece.
The 2009 Southern Conference football season begins on Thursday, Sept. 3 when Chattanooga entertains Glenville State at Finley Stadium at 7 p.m. while the first SoCon game of the season is Saturday, Sept. 12 when Furman travels to face Chattanooga at 6 p.m. Western Carolina visits Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 to kick off the SoCon Saturday broadcast package on SportSouth.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
2009 Southern Conference Football
Preseason All-Conference Teams
Offensive Player of the Year: Armanti Edwards, Sr., QB, Appalachian State
Defensive Player of the Year: Jacque Roman, Sr., LB, Appalachian State
First Team Offense
QB Armanti Edwards, Sr., Appalachian State
RB Mike Brown, Jr., Furman
RB Chris Evans, Jr., Samford
OL Mario Acitelli, Sr., Appalachian State
OL Pat Illig, Jr., Wofford
OL David Harrison, Sr., Elon
OL (tie) Brett Irvin, Jr., Appalachian State
OL (tie) Daniel Kilgore, Jr., Appalachian State
OL (tie) Jon Weber, Sr., Samford
TE Chris Truss, Sr., Furman
WR Andre Roberts, Sr., The Citadel
WR Terrell Hudgins, Sr., Elon
First Team Defense
DL Jabari Fletcher, Jr., Appalachian State
DL Terrence Reese, Sr., The Citadel
DL Mitch Clark, Sr., Wofford
DL Eric Ludwig, Sr., Elon
LB Jacque Roman, Sr., Appalachian State
LB Bryce Smith, Jr., Samford
LB Joshua Jones, So., Elon
DB Mark LeGree, Jr., Appalachian State
DB Max Lerner, Jr., Furman
DB Karlos Sullivan, Sr., Elon
DB Cortez Gilbert, Jr., Appalachian State
First Team Specialists
PK Adrian Mora, So., Georgia Southern
P Trent Hawk, Sr., Furman
RS Andre Roberts, Sr., The Citadel
Second Team Offense
QB Scott Riddle, Jr., Elon
RB Devon Moore, Jr., Appalachian State
RB Brandon Newsome, Jr., Elon
OL Cole Fountain, Sr., Georgia Southern
OL Thomas Suggs, Sr., The Citadel
OL Daniel DeHaven, Sr., The Citadel
OL Trey Johnson, Jr., Wofford
OL Tyler Haynes, Sr., Furman
TE Ben Jorden, So., Appalachian State
WR CoCo Hillary, Jr., Appalachian State
WR Brian Quick, So., Appalachian State
Second Team Defense
DL Brandon Ward, Jr., Elon
DL Anthony Williams, Sr., Appalachian State
DL Justin Brown, Sr., Furman
DL Eric Eberhardt, So., Wofford
LB D.J. Smith, Jr., Appalachian State
LB Gary Blount, Sr., Wofford
LB Dion Dubose, So., Georgia Southern
DB Ed Gainey, So., Appalachian State
DB Mychael Johnson, Sr., Wofford
DB Julian Hicks, Sr., Furman
DB (tie) Buster Skrine, Jr., Chattanooga
DB (tie) Cortez Allen, Jr., The Citadel
Second Team Specialists
PK Jason Vitaris, Jr., Appalachian State
P Bob Hooper, Jr., Samford
RS CoCo Hillary, Jr., Appalachian State
By Southern Conference Media Relations