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Liberty Favorite to win Big South and Preseason All-Conference Team Announced
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) – For the third consecutive season, Liberty University has been tabbed as the favorite in the Big South Conference’s annual preseason football poll for the 2009 campaign, as voted by the League’s head coaches and media panel and announced today as part of the 2009 Big South Conference Football Kickoff Media Luncheon at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C..
The two-time defending champion Flames enter the 2009 campaign with a Big South-record 11-game Conference win streak. Liberty, which was ranked in the Top 15 in the final national polls a year ago, was a perfect 5-0 in Big South play last year and is 24-10 overall in three seasons under head coach Danny Rocco. The Flames return 49 letterwinners and 12 starters in 2009, and received 10 of the 17 first-place votes cast and 109 total points to repeat as champions this season.
Big South associate member Stony Brook, which tied for second with a 3-2 League mark in its first season in the Conference last year, is picked to finish second to the Flames in 2009. Chuck Priore’s Seawolves have 19 starters returning and 40 letterwinners back this year, and collected four first-place votes and 87 total points in the voting, just ahead of Coastal Carolina (one first-place vote and 83 total points). It is the first time that David Bennett’s Chanticleers have been picked below the top two teams since a fourth-place prediction in 2004.
Steve Patton’s Gardner-Webb Bulldogs, with 52 letterwinners and 20 starters returning, are predicted to finish fourth in 2009, having received one first-place vote and 77 total points. Jay Mills’ Charleston Southern squad, which tied for second a year ago after being picked fifth, is again in the fifth-spot. The Buccaneers received the remaining first-place vote and finished with 56 total points. VMI had its most wins last year since the 2003 season, but second-year coach Sparky Woods finds his team predicted sixth this season, collecting 39 points from the panel. Presbyterian, under the direction of new head coach Harold Nichols, rounds out the preseason poll in seventh-place. The Blue Hose are official Conference opponents in 2009 and will be listed in the standings, but are not eligible for the football championship until 2011.
The 2009 season begins with Coastal Carolina in action on Thursday night, Sept. 3 at FBS-member Kent State, the League’s first of a record eight games against FBS schools. Conference play starts Saturday, Oct. 3 with Gardner-Webb at VMI and Presbyterian at Stony Brook. The regular-season concludes Saturday, Nov. 21 with three Conference games on the slate.
2009 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points
1. Liberty (10)……………………………. 70 36 – – 3 – – 109
2. Stony Brook (4)………………………..28 18 25 8 6 2 – 87
3. Coastal Carolina (1)……………………7 36 20 12 6 2 – 83
4. Gardner-Webb (1)………………………7 12 30 24 3 – 1 77
5. Charleston Southern (1)……………….7 – 5 16 18 10 – 56
6. VMI………………………………………..– – 5 4 12 14 4 39
7. Presbyterian……………………………..– – – 4 3 6 12 25
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) – VMI quarterback Tim Maypray (Madisonville, Ky.) and Gardner-Webb linebacker Jeffery Williams (Frisco City, Ala.) have been voted the Big South Conference’s 2009 Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by the League’s head football coaches and media panel, it was announced today as part of the 2009 Big South Football Media Day Kickoff Luncheon at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
Maypray, who received seven first-place votes and 20 total points, was named to College Sporting News’ Fabulous 50 All-America team as a positional honorable mention selection last year after rushing for Big South single-season quarterback records of 1,266 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Second-Team All-Conference pick in 2008 ranked third in the Big South in rushing, and directed the Keydets to the nation’s leading rushing offense at 357.45 yards per game. Maypray rushed for a career-high 235 yards against Presbyterian, setting a Big South single-game quarterback rushing record, and also caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in the game. He is the only player in Big South football history with 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a career.
Maypray was a three-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week honoree in 2008, was 14th overall in the nation in rushing per game (115.09), had six 100-yard rushing games last season and had seven straight games with at least a 40-yard run. Maypray enters the 2009 season eighth all-time in Big South history with 1,937 career rushing yards, 18th in career receiving yards (1,027) and second with 4,279 career all-purpose yards – just 343 yards from the all-time record. Maypray is the first Keydet to be selected as the Big South’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year since VMI joined the League in 2003.
Williams, who has already been named a 2009 Preseason All-America by The Sporting News, Lindy’s, CDSDraft.com and Southern Pigskin, received 15 of 17 first-place votes and 31 points to claim the defensive honor. He earned 2008 Big South Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore in addition to being named Third-Team All-America by The Sports Network and the Associated Press. He also was named to College Sporting News’ Fabulous 50 All-America team in 2008 as a positional honorable mention selection. Williams led the Big South with 119 total tackles in 2008 (61 solo), tied for second in the League with three interceptions, and ranked among the Top 10 nationally with 10.8 tackles per game.
He averaged an impressive 13.2 tackles per game in Big South Conference action, added 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks, and posted six games with at least nine stops, including a career-high 19 tackles vs. VMI. Williams helped the Gardner-Webb post a League-record seven games of holding opponents to less than 100 yards rushing last season. In two seasons, he has 239 career stops in 22 career games (10.9 per game), and needs 61 tackles to become just the seventh player in Big South history with 300 career tackles.
Stony Brook running back Edwin Gowins finished second in the offensive voting with 15 points (five first-place votes), while Charleston Southern wide receiver Gerald Stevenson was third with nine points (three first-place votes). On defense, Charleston Southern linebacker Andrew McKain was second to Williams with 12 points, while Liberty linebacker Wes Cheek was third with seven points (two first-place votes).
Maypray and Williams were also voted to the preseason All-Conference team. The preseason team is comprised of 12 offensive players, 12 defensive players and five special teams selections, plus any ties. Gardner-Webb placed a League-high 10 players on the preseason squad, followed by preseason favorite Liberty (5), Coastal Carolina (4), Stony Brook (4), Charleston Southern (2) and VMI (2). The 2009 preseason All-Conference team appears below.
2009 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference Team
OFFENSE - NAME, SCHOOL, YR, HOMETOWN
QB - Tim Maypray, VMI, Sr. - Madisonville, Ky. (tie)
QB - Zach MacDowall, Coastal Carolina, R-Jr. - Kennesaw, Ga. (tie)
RB - Ed Gowins, Stony Brook, Soph. - Bellport, N.Y.
RB - Conte Cuttino, Stony Brook, Sr. - Uniondale, N.Y.
WR - Gerald Stevenson, Charleston Southern, Jr. - Naples, Fla.
WR - James Perry III, Gardner-Webb, Soph. - Greensboro, N.C.
WR - Tyson Petty, Gardner-Webb, Jr. - Gaffney, S.C.
TE - Josh Miller, Gardner-Webb, Jr. - Danville, Ky.
OL - Corey O’Daniel, Gardner-Webb, Jr. - Louisville, Ky.
OL - Josh Weaver, Liberty, R-Sr. - Starke, Fla.
OL - George Handler, VMI, R-Sr. - Quinton, Va.
OL - Bryan Mosier, Liberty, R-Sr. - Mansfield, Ohio
OL - Ryan Boehm, Coastal Carolina, R-Sr. - Advance, N.C.
DEFENSE - NAME, SCHOOL, YR, HOMETOWN
DL - Phillip Oboh, Coastal Carolina, Sr. - Greensboro, N.C.
DL - Jordan Woods, Gardner-Webb, Soph. - Charlotte, N.C.
DL - Trey Jacobs, Liberty, Sr. - Columbia, S.C.
DL - Quinnon Isom, Gardner-Webb, Sr. - Toccoa, Ga.
LB - Jeffery Williams, Gardner-Webb, Jr. - Frisco City, Ala.
LB - Mario Brown, Gardner-Webb, R-Sr. - Greenville, S.C.
LB - Tyler Santucci, Stony Brook, Sr. - New Kensington, Pa.
LB - Andrew McKain, Charleston Southern, R-Sr. - Tucker, Ga.
DB - Cedric McGowan, Gardner-Webb, Sr. - Greer, S.C.
DB - Chris Richards, Stony Brook, Sr. - Quartz Hills, Calif.
DB - Chris Rocco, Liberty, Sr. - Forest, Va.
DB - Tim Torrence, Liberty, Sr. - Miramar, Fla.
SPECIAL TEAMS - NAME, SCHOOL, YR, HOMETOWN
PK - Ryan Gates, Gardner-Webb, Soph. - Sharpsburg, Ga.
P - Ben Erdman, Coastal Carolina, Jr. - Cleveland, N.C.
LS - Andrew McKain, Charleston Southern, R-Sr. - Tucker, Ga.
KR - Gerald Stevenson, Charleston Southern, Jr. - Naples, Fla.
PR - Tim Maypray, VMI, Sr. - Madisonville, Ky.
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tim Maypray, QB, Sr., VMI
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jeffery Williams, LB, Jr., Gardner-Webb