NORFOLK, Va. – South Carolina State was picked to finish second Friday in the annual Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football poll of head coaches and sports information directors. North Carolina A&T was picked first.
S.C. State received four first-place votes with North Carolina A&T State getting nine. All five teams that earned a share of the MEAC title last year rounded were in the top five spots in the preseason poll, including No. 3 Bethune-Cookman, No. 4 N.C. Central and No. 5 Morgan State.
All-American senior defensive lineman Javon Hargrave of S.C. State was named preseason Defensive Player of the Year. He earned first-team All-MEAC honors, along with sophomore linebacker Darius Leonard.
Running back Jalen Simmons, tight end Temarrick Hemingway and offensive lineman Javarius Leamon, defensive end Reggie Owens and defensive back/return specialist Antonio Hamilton were picked to the All-MEAC second team.
Head coach Buddy Pough’s Bulldogs open the 2015 season on Sept. 6 in Orlando against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 11th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
MEAC predicted order of finish (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. North Carolina A&T (9) 425
2. S.C. State (4) 408
3. Bethune-Cookman (1) 387
4. North Carolina Central (4) 334
5. Morgan State 318
6. Hampton (2) 276
7. Norfolk State 170
8. Florida A&M 164
9. Howard 146
10. Delaware State (1) 97
11. Savannah State (1) 69
Note: Florida A&M, Howard and Savannah State are not eligible
for post season competition.