Samford football team picked to finish 4th in SoCon in 2013 - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Samford football team picked to finish 4th in SoCon in 2013

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Samford junior safety Jaquiski Tartt was named the Southern Conference's preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year, when the league released its preseason awards at its annual Football Media Day Wednesday afternoon.

On the first team All-Conference team, Tartt is joined by running back Fabian Truss and wide receiver Kelsey Pope. Offensive lineman Kasey Morrison, tight end Zeke Walters, defensive lineman Jerry Mathis and linebacker Justin Shade were named to the second team. Truss was also named second team as a return specialist.

Tartt shares preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors with Chattanooga defensive lineman Davis Tull. Appalachian State quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

The league also released its preseason coaches and media polls. Samford was picked to finish fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media. Georgia Southern, which is ineligible for the league title, was picked as the favorite in both polls.

Tartt has also been named preseason All-American and to the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in all of Division I-FCS football. As a sophomore, Tartt led the team and tied for seventh in the Southern Conference in tackles with 94. He led the SoCon in passes defended with 14, and he tied for the league lead in interceptions with four.

Tartt, in his first season as a starter for the Bulldogs, was named All-American and All-SoCon at the conclusion of the 2012 season. During the season, he was named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Month for September, and he earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors twice.

Pope, who was named preseason third team All-American by the Sports Network, led Samford in receiving, catching 68 passes for 552 yards and four touchdowns. Pope averaged 8.1 yards per catch and 50.2 yards per game. Pope also rushed six times for 25 yards and a touchdown.

The 2012 season marked the second-straight season Pope has led Samford in receiving. At the conclusion of the season, Pope was named second team All-SoCon by both the league's coaches and media.

As a running back, Truss rushed for 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior in 2012. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and 96.6 yards per game. Truss was also named second team All-Conference as a running back by the Southern Conference's coaches and media.

Truss, who was named preseason first team All-American as a kick returner by the Sports Network, ranked third in the SoCon, averaging 27.1 yards per return last season. Overall, Truss led the league in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 179.8 yards per contest. At the conclusion of the season, Truss was named second team All-SoCon by the media as a kick returner.

Morrison returns as one of the leaders of a strong offensive line. Last season, Morrison started all 11 games for the Bulldogs.

Walters, despite battling injuries last season, had a stellar season at tight end. He caught 12 passes for 45 yards in his junior campaign.

Mathis started all 11 games on the defensive line last season. He finished the season with 32 tackles, including 11 solo stops. He also had six tackles for a loss and two and a half sacks.

Shade finished third on the team in tackles last season with 70, including 27 solo stops. He also had four and a half tackles for a loss, two sacks, two pass break-ups, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

The Bulldogs open the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, when Samford travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia State in the Georgia Dome. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (CT) start.

2013 Southern Conference Football

Preseason All-Conference Teams


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


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


NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.


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


NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team


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

(courtesy: Samford Sports Information)

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