Bucs Picked 4th in Big South Preseason Poll - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bucs Picked 4th in Big South Preseason Poll

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CHARLESTON, SC -

Charleston Southern was picked to finish 4th in the Big South Conference in a preseason poll announced Thursday at the League's annual Football Kickoff Media Luncheon at the Charlotte Plaza Uptown Hotel. 

Coastal Carolina, which won a share of the Big South championship and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs last season, was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference. The Chanticleers swept the Big South Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Awards as well, with wide receiver Matt Hazel and linebacker Quinn Backus receiving the accolades. 

First-year Charleston Southern Head Coach Jamey Chadwell addressed the crowd at the luncheon, as he prepares to lead the Bucs into fall camp starting next week. CSU opens the 2013 season on August 31 at The Citadel, and begins the Big South slate against VMI on October 12. 

Liberty, under the direction of second-year head coach Turner Gill, is picked to finish second to the Chanticleers in 2013.  The Flames went 5-1 in the league last season for the fourth consecutive year and shared the conference championship.  

Gardner-Webb and new head coach Carroll McCray were picked to finish third in the poll with 58 points – the Runnin' Bulldogs' highest standing in the preseason voting since being tabbed third entering the 2008 season.  

The VMI Keydets and Presbyterian College Blue Hose tied for the fifth position in the preseason voting.  VMI, under sixth-year head coach Sparky Woods, is playing its final season in the Big South in 2013, while PC and fifth-year head coach Harold Nichols are looking to bounce back from last year's 2-9 finish and 0-6 record in League play. 

Liberty and Presbyterian College open the 2013 season on Thursday night, Aug. 29 against two FBS opponents on ESPN3.  The Flames travel to Kent State for a 6:00pm kickoff while the Blue Hose visit Wake Forest at 6:30pm.  The remaining four teams open on Saturday, Aug. 31.  Conference play starts Saturday, Oct. 12 and the regular-season concludes Saturday, Nov. 23, with the Big South champion receiving the League's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. 

2013 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) -- Points

1. Coastal Carolina (9) -- 84

2. Liberty (6) -- 80

3. Gardner-Webb -- 58

4. Charleston Southern -- 39

T-5. VMI -- 27

T-5. Presbyterian -- 27 

Note: points are based on a weighted system, with first-place votes receiving 6 points, followed by 5 points for second-place, and so on.  

Senior safety Elijah Lee and senior running back Teddy Allen were selected to the 2013 Big South Preseason All-Conference Team, as voted on by the League's head coaches and media and announced Thursday at the Media Day Kickoff Luncheon. 

First-year Charleston Southern Head Coach Jamey Chadwell addressed the crowd at the luncheon, as he prepares to lead the Bucs into fall camp starting next week. CSU opens the 2013 season on August 31 at The Citadel, and begins the Big South slate against VMI on October 12. 

The Bucs figure to get good production from both Lee and Allen, who helped CSU to a 5-6 season and a 3-3 Big South finish in 2012. 

Lee started the final eight games of last season at safety and led the Bucs in tackles with 70, while Allen paced the ground game with 576 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He won Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance last year against Presbyterian when he led the Bucs to a comeback win with 153 rushing yards and four touchdowns. 

Hazel is just the second wide receiver to receive the Conference's preseason honor.  A two-time All-Big South pick, Hazel was a First-Team honoree in 2012 and a Second-Team selection in 2011.  Last season, he tied the Coastal Carolina single-season record with 61 receptions despite having two teammates each with more than 40 catches as well.  He finished with 799 receiving yards (second on the CCU all-time list) and eight touchdowns.  His eight TD catches were second in the Big South last season, while his total receptions, receiving yards and receiving yards per catch (13.1) ranked third among the League leaders.  Hazel excelled in the FCS Playoffs, as he totaled 12 catches for 184 yards and three scores in two postseason games -- including nine receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns in the second round loss at Old Dominion. 

Backus, who has already been named a 2013 preseason All-American by The Sports Network, Phil Steele Magazine and Lindy's, was a near-unanimous selection with 14 of the 15 first-place votes and 29 points.  The reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year, Backus recorded a school-record 139 total tackles (69 solo, 70 assisted) in his first season as a starter last year -- the second-highest single-season total in Big South history, and finished 16th in FCS and second in the League with 10.69 tackles per games. 

Hazel and Backus 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.  Coastal Carolina placed a league-high 10 players on the preseason squad, followed by Liberty (9), Gardner-Webb (7), Charleston Southern (2) and VMI (1).

 

2013 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference Team

 

OFFENSE

QB - Josh Woodrum, Liberty - R-Soph.

RB - Teddy Allen, Charleston Southern - Sr.

RB - Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina - Sr.

WR - Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina - Sr.

WR - Kenny Cook, Gardner-Webb - R-Jr.

WR - Niccolo Mastromatteo, Coastal Carolina - Sr.

TE - Seth Cranfill, Gardner-Webb - R-Jr.

OL - Chad Hamilton, Coastal Carolina - R-Jr.

OL - Jamey Cheatwood, Coastal Carolina - R-Sr.

OL - Hunter Steward, Liberty - R-Sr.

OL - Will Lucas, VMI - Sr.

OL - Drew Herring, Coastal Carolina - R-Sr.

 

DEFENSE

DL - Preston Pemasa, Gardner-Webb - Sr.

DL - Matt Goods, Gardner-Webb - R-Sr.

DL - Cory Freeman, Liberty - R-Sr.

DL - Francis Bah, Liberty - R-Sr.

LB - Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina - Jr.

LB - Tanner Burch, Gardner-Webb - Jr.

LB - Nick Sigmon, Liberty - R-Jr.

LB - Mike McClure, Coastal Carolina - Sr.

DB - Walt Aikens, Liberty - R-Sr.

DB - Elijah Lee, Charleston Southern - Sr.

DB - Kevin Fogg, Liberty - R-Sr.

DB - Johnnie Houston, Coastal Carolina - R-Sr.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK - John Lunsford, Liberty - Soph.

P - Grant Bowden, Liberty - Sr.

LS - Hudson Smith, Gardner-Webb - R-Sr. (tie) LS - Richard Wright, Liberty - R-Sr. (tie) KR - J.J. Hubbard, Gardner-Webb - Jr.

PR - Niccolo Mastromatteo, Coastal Carolina - Sr.

 

PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Matt Hazel, Sr., WR, North Augusta, S.C.

 

PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Quinn Backus, Jr., LB, Greenwood, S.C.

 

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