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
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
Preseason All-Conference Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Jamal Londry-Jackson, Sr., QB, Appalachian State
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Jaquiski Tartt, Jr., DB, Samford Davis Tull, Jr., DL, Chattanooga
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