Bulldogs picked 8th in SoCon: Appalachian State predicted to win league football title

The Citadel's Tolu Akindele, a SoCon preseason second-team selection at linebacker.

Southern Conference football will look familiar at the top and bottom of the league in 2011, league coaches predicted Monday.

Appalachian State, which has won or shared the last six conference championships, is picked to win the SoCon title again this year, according to a coaches' poll released by the league.

The Citadel, which finished tied for last with Western Carolina in the SoCon last season, is picked to finish eighth out of nine teams this season, ahead of only the Catamounts. The Bulldogs were 3-8 overall and 1-7 in the SoCon last year.

App State, 10-3 a year ago, received five of nine first-place votes, with second-place Georgia Southern getting three. Wofford is picked to finish third, while fourth-place Chattanooga picked up one first-place vote.

Georgia Southern went 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the regular season last year before winning three games in the FCS playoffs to finish at 10-5. Wofford also won 10 games and made the playoffs last year, going 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the league.

Two teams with new coaches, Furman and Elon, are picked fifth and sixth. Bruce Fowler has taken over at Furman in place of Bobby Lamb, who's now starting a new program at Mercer. And former North Carolina State assistant Jason Swepson replaced Pete Lembo at Elon; Lembo is now at Ball State.

League coaches also selected a preseason all-SoCon squad, with linebacker Tolu Akindele the only Citadel player picked. Akindele made the second team.

Wofford running back Eric Breitenstein was selected preseason offensive player of the year, with Terriers defensive end Ameet Pall and GSU defensive lineman Brent Russell sharing the defensive honor.

The SoCon will hold its preseason media day today.

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE PRESEASON FOOTBALL TEAM

First-team offense: QB DeAndre Presley, Sr., Appalachian State; RB Robert Brown, So, Georgia Southern; RB Eric Breitenstein, Jr., Wofford; OL Orry Frye, Sr., Appalachian State; OL Rodney Austin, Sr., Elon; OL Ryan Lee, Sr., Furman; OL Brett Moore, Sr., Georgia Southern; OL Nate Page, Sr., Wofford; TE Ben Jorden, Sr., Appalachian State; WR Aaron Mellette, Jr., Elon; WR Joel Bradford, Sr., Chattanooga.

First-team defense: DL John Rizor, Jr., Appalachian State; DL Brent Russell, Jr., Georgia Southern; DL Alex Davis, Sr., Samford; DL Ameet Pall, Sr., Wofford; LB Kadarron Anderson, Sr., Furman; LB Josh Rowe, Jr., Georgia Southern; LB Ryan Consiglio, Sr., Chattanooga; DB Ed Gainey, Sr., Appalachian State; DB Ryan Steed, Sr., Furman; DB Derek Heyden, Sr., Georgia Southern; DB Laron Scott, Sr., Georgia Southern.

First-team specialists: PK Ray Early, So., Furman; P Charlie Edwards, Sr., Georgia Southern; RS Laron Scott, Sr., Georgia Southern.

Second-team offense: QB B.J. Coleman, Sr., Chattanooga; RB Travaris Cadet, Sr., Appalachian State; RB J.J. Wilcox, Jr., Georgia Southern; OL Matt Ruff, Sr., Appalachian State; OL Dakota Dozier, So., Furman; OL Dorian Byrd, So., Georgia Southern; OL Willie Maxwell, Sr., Georgia Southern; OL Adam Miller, Jr., Chattanooga; TE (tie) Colin Anderson, Jr., Furman; TE (tie) Tyler Sumner, Jr., Georgia Southern; WR Brian Quick, Sr., Appalachian State; WR Brenton Bersin, Sr., Wofford.

Second-team defense: DL Josh Lynn, Jr., Furman; DL Roderick Tinsley, Sr., Georgia Southern; DL Nick Davison, Sr., Chattanooga; DL Eric Eberhardt, Sr., Wofford; LB Brandon Grier, Jr., Appalachian State; LB Tolu Akindele, Sr., The Citadel; LB Joshua Jones, Sr., Elon; DB Corey White, Sr., Samford; DB Chris Lewis-Harris, Sr., Chattanooga; DB Kadeem Wise, So., Chattanooga; DB Blake Wylie, Jr., Wofford.

Second-team specialists: PK Adrian Mora, Sr., Georgia Southern; P Sam Martin, Jr., Appalachian State; RS Travaris Cadet, Sr., Appalachian State.