Tornados picked eighth in preseason poll

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Brevard has been picked to finish eighth in the South Atlantic Conference preseason football poll after a vote of the league’s coaches.

The Tornados boast the league’s fourth-leading returning tackler in junior Jason Nieradka, who compiled a career-high 85 stops last season. Sophomore punter Kevin Weber was an Honorable Mention All-America selection after leading the South Atlantic Conference and ranking ninth in Division II in punting average.

Brevard ranked second in Division II in time of possession last season, one second off the national lead, and had Division II’s 17th-ranked pass defense at 160.2 yards per game. Brevard was also one of the most disciplined teams in the nation, a trademark of Paul Hamilton-coached teams, by incurring the third-fewest penalties and penalty yards in Division II.

Catawba, which won the league last season with a 6-1 record in conference play, was narrowly picked to win the league over Carson-Newman. Both the Catawba Indians and Eagles received three first-place votes, but Catawba edged fellow 2015 playoff participant Carson-Newman by two points in the overall poll.

Newberry, the third conference representative in the 2015 NCAA Division II Football Championship, was picked to finish third and received the two remaining first-place votes. Mars Hill, which entered the season finale against Brevard with a chance to share the league crown, was picked fourth, while Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne were slotted fifth and sixth. Tusculum garnered the seventh selection, one notch above the Tornados.

Brevard will begin the 2016 campaign with a rare Thursday contest at Memorial Stadium against East Stroudsburg. The South Atlantic Conference opener takes place in Brevard against Wingate on Sept. 17.

Click here to view the full release from the South Atlantic Conference.

South Atlantic Conference Football Preseason Poll

1. Catawba – 45 (3)
2. Carson-Newman – 43 (3)
3. Newberry – 36 (2)
4. Mars Hill – 30
5. Wingate – 27
6. Lenoir-Rhyne – 22
7. Tusculum – 14
8. Brevard – 7

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