Thursday, July 30, 2009


Tornados picked to finish eighth in coaches preseason poll

Rock Hill, S.C. - Stanley Jones, Brandon Rawls and Michael Gist all made the preseason All-Conference team list as the Tornados head into the 2009 South Atlantic Conference season.

Jones, the SAC leader in tackles per game in 2008 at 9.8 tackles per game, and Rawls are both on the preseason first team at linebacker, while Gist makes his first appearance on the All-Conference team with a second team selection at defensive back.

The Carson-Newman Eagles, who won their 20th conference championship in 2008, are the favorite to defend the conference title, in a vote of the league's head coaches.

The Eagles have won 20 conference titles under head coach Ken Sparks, including a share of the title each of the past two seasons. Carson-Newman received six first-place votes and 62 out of a possible 64 total points.

Catawba College and 2008 champion Tusculum College shared second place in the poll. The Catawba Indians, coming off a 6-4 record and fourth-place finish in the SAC, received one first-place vote. The Pioneers won their second conference title last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Wingate University is picked to finish fourth. The Bulldogs finished in a tie for fourth place last season after a strong start to the season. The Bulldogs picked up 41 points.

Mars Hill College, another team involved in the fourth-place tie, received 35 total points for fifth place. But the Lions also received one first-place vote.

Newberry College, last year's other league champion, is picked to finish in sixth under first-year coach Todd Knight. Newberry received 34 total points.

Lenoir-Rhyne University received 16 points for seventh place, which is where the Bears finished last season.

Brevard College rounds out the preseason poll with eight points.

Defending South Atlantic Conference champion Carson-Newman College leads the 2009 preseason All-Conference football team with 11 selections.

The Eagles had seven players named to the first team, including quarterback Alex Good and running back Buck Wakefield. Good was a second-team All-Conference pick in 2008, while Wakefield returns as a first-team running back.

Newberry College had nine named to the preseason All-Conference team. Newberry had four first-team selections, including wide receiver Kelton Tindall and defensive back Kamaal McIlwain.

Tusculum College had eight on the preseason All-Conference team. The Pioneers had four named to the first team, including returning All-American tight end Jarrell NeSmith and wide receiver Ryan Tallent, who led the conference with 92 catches last season.
Wingate University had six preseason All-Conference selections. The Bulldogs had three first-team selections, including running back Nelson Woods, who led the conference with 1,238 yards rushing last season.

Mars Hill College placed seven on the preseason squad, including three on the first team. The Lions return a pair of first-team standouts on the defensive side in linebacker Stan Galbraith, who registered six sacks last season, and defensive back Deshon Nesbitt.

Catawba College and Lenoir-Rhyne University each placed six on the preseason All-Conference team.

The Catawba Indians had three first-team selections, including returning All-American offensive lineman Terence Crosby.

The Bears had three first-team selections, and all on the offense, including the conference's top kicker last season in Colin Corpe.

Brevard College had three preseason All-Conference selections, including a pair of first-team defensive selections in linebackers Stanley Jones and Brandon Rawls.

2009 SAC Preseason All-Conference Football Team
First Team

QB - Alex Good, Carson-Newman
RB - Buck Wakefield, Carson-Newman
RB - Nelson Woods, Wingate
RB - Marcus Foster, Tusculum
WR - Reggie Hubbard, Carson-Newman
WR - Kelton Tindal, Newberry
WR - Ryan Tallent, Tusculum
TE - Jarrell NeSmith, Tusculum
OL - Terence Crosby, Catawba
OL - Chandler Rearden, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL - Josh Sims, Mars Hill
OL - Matt Holmes, Newberry
OL - Ross Shaffer, Carson-Newman
PK - Colin Corpe, Lenoir-Rhyne
LS - Jordon Simmons, Lenoir-Rhyne

Second Team
QB - Brandon Gantt, Newberry
RB - Ricky Harris, Carson-Newman
RB - Anthony Silvers, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB - Gerald Legree, Newberry
WR - Nate Binder, Tusculum
WR - John Brown, Mars Hill
WR - Calvin Britt, Tusculum
TE - Ryan Webber, Wingate
OL - Hunter Carnes, Catawba
OL - Harrison Smith, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL - Walter Simmons, Newberry
OL - Josh Stone, Tusculum
OL - Ben Benshoof, Wingate
PK - Michael Pinkerton, Mars Hill
LS - Kyle Davis, Wingate

First Team

DL - Melquan Fair, Catawba
DL - Brandon Harmon, Carson-Newman
DL - Brandon Sutton, Catawba
DL - Lance Clark, Newberry
LB - Brian Brown, Carson-Newman
LB - Stanley Jones, Brevard
LB - Brandon Rawls, Brevard
LB - Stan Galbraith, Mars Hill
DB - Mario Russell, Carson-Newman
DB - Deshon Nesbitt, Mars Hill
DB - Kamaal McIlwain, Newberry
DB - Tylan Merkerson, Wingate
P - John Gregory, Tusculum
RS - Patrick Pinchinat, Wingate

Second Team
DL - Marqus Davis, Catawba
DL - Maurice Harris, Mars Hill
DL - Marcus Nelums, Newberry
DL - Brandon Kelley, TusculumLB - Lakeem Perry, Catawba
LB - Zach Johnson, Mars Hill
LB - Ben Hinson, Wingate
LB - Aaron Plyler, Wingate
DB - Marcus Shuford, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB - Andre Moyd, Newberry
DB - Michael Gist, Brevard
DB - Denares Waites, Carson-Newman
P - Chris Jones, Carson-Newman
RS - Reggie Hubbard, Carson-Newman

Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Carson-Newman (6) 62
2. Catawba (1) 46
2 (tie) Tusculum 46
4. Wingate 41
5. Mars Hill (1) 35
6. Newberry 34
7. Lenoir-Rhyne 16
8. Brevard 8
(First-place votes in parenthesis)