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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