For the first time since joining the Big South as associate football members in 2008, defending Conference champion Stony Brook University has been tabbed the favorite in the Big South Conference's annual preseason football poll for the 2012 campaign, as voted by the League's head coaches and media panel and announced today at the 2012 Big South Conference Football Kickoff Media Luncheon at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
The Seawolves, which became the first team in Conference history last season to go 6-0 in League play, enter the 2012 campaign with 41 letterwinners returning, including 17 starters. Head coach Chuck Priore's squad has gone 19-4 in the Big South the past four years and is ranked No. 16 in the preseason by Athlon and No. 24 by Lindy's. Stony Brook, which led the nation in scoring last season with 38.0 points per game, received 15 of 18 first-place votes cast and 123 total points to win the Big South football championship this season.
Liberty, under the direction of new head coach Turner Gill, is picked to finish second to the Seawolves in 2012. The Flames went 5-1 in the League last season for the third consecutive year and has won five Conference games four-straight seasons. Liberty, which returns 15 starters in 2012, collected the three remaining first-place votes and 108 total points in the voting. For the fourth-straight year, Coastal Carolina is predicted to finish third, as new head coachJoe Moglia and the Chanticleers received 74 total points.
Presbyterian College, which is coming off its best Conference season with a .500 record in 2011, finished fourth in this year's voting with 69 points -- the Blue Hose's highest position in the preseason football ranking. PC and fourth-year head coach Harold Nichols are eligible for the Big South football championship for the first time this season. Gardner-Webb, under the direction of second-year head coach Ron Dickerson Jr., finished just behind Presbyterian in the fifth spot with 65 points. The VMI Keydets and fifth-year head coach Sparky Woods are again predicted to finish sixth this season, having collected 38 points from the panel. Charleston Southern rounds out the preseason poll in seventh-place, as Jay Mills' Buccaneers find themselves in the final spot in the voting for the first time since 2005 -- the same year CSU tied for the regular-season title.
All seven Big South teams open the season on Saturday, Sept. 1. The opening slate includes four home games and three road contests, including the League's first of nine games against FBS schools this season. In 2010, the Big South defeated two FBS opponents for the first time in League history. Conference play starts Saturday, Oct. 6 and the regular-season concludes Saturday, Nov. 17, with the Big South champion receiving the League's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs.
|RK||Preseason Poll (first-place votes)||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||Total|
|1.||Stony Brook (15)||15||3||--||--||--||--||--||123|
Charleston Southern senior defensive Charles James (Jacksonville, Fla.) has been recognized as the 2012 Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year at the 2012 Big South Conference Football Media Day, held at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
James, who has already been named a 2012 preseason All-American by The Sports Network, received eight of 18 first-place votes and 24 points to claim the defensive honor.
"It's an honor and I want to thank God for this opportunity," James said Thursday. "My goal is to make this team the best it can be week in and week out. The main goal is to make this defense better with each snap and do everything I can to help this team win games."
"Charles is very deserving," CSU Head Coach Jay Mills said on Thursday. "He's very selfless. He is a young man who gets his energy from his team, because he gives the team so much energy. He is a very confident young man and a man of faith. To see him go from a non-scholarship redshirt to being the league's preseason MVP is very satisfying as a coach."
The 5-foot-9 redshirt senior adds the award to a growing list of accolades this summer. James was named to the Sports Network Preseason All-America Second Team earlier this month. He was also named to the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back watch list, and was also named to the CFPA Preseason Player Watch List over the offseason.
James enters the 2012 season just one interception away from tying Phillip Ashley's program record of 11 career picks with the Buccaneers. James enjoyed a breakout season in 2010 with six interceptions, and added two more this past season to run his three year total to 10 interceptions at CSU, the most of any player in the Big South since the 2010. His 39-yard interception return against Florida State set up the Bucs' only touchdown in a loss to the Seminoles last September.
James' career totals also include 19 pass break-ups and 29 passes defended, good for seventh all-time in Big South history. His 10 career interceptions are tied for fifth in Big South history, while his 14 career interception return yards also place him in the top five.
In addition to his ball-hawking skills in the secondary, the Jacksonville, Fla. native also displayed an adept nose for the ball this past season, finishing third on the team at CSU with 66 total tackles, of which 40 were solo stops. James averaged 6.0 tackles per game over the season, finishing in the top 10 in the Big South over the season and first among returning defensive backs in conference competition.
He also proved to be a game changer in the return game for the Buccaneers, returning 19 punts for 185 yards in 2011. He added several highlights on the season, putting CSU on the scoreboard with a 34-yard touchdown return versus Wesley in Oct., and showcased his elusiveness in the open field with a 46-yard return in the season finale against Presbyterian.
Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet was named the BSC's 2012 Offensive Preseason Player of the Year.
James and Nathan Perera were recognized on the 2012 Big South Preseason All-Conference team on Thursday afternoon at the annual Big South Football Media Day Kickoff Luncheon held at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
James was recognized as a defensive back, while Perera was selected as a wide receiver.
The Charleston Southern duo add this to their list of accolades as James and Perera were named to the 2012 College Football Performance Awards Preseason Watch List, as announced earlier this summer.
Perera continues to come on strong after a sophomore campaign which saw the junior receiver finish second in the BSC rankings with 94.4 yards receiving yards per game in conference games, on his way to a 43 catch-704 yard receiving year in 2012.
He added four touchdowns through the air on the season and set several career milestones last year, including his first career 100 yard receiving game on October 22nd versus Liberty University where he nabbed seven balls for 100 yards. Perara also added one of the top two receiving efforts in CSU football history on November 5th against Stony Brook where the Orlando, Fla. Native snagged 10 catches for 232 yards, nine yards off the school single-game record, and two touchdowns against the Seawolves.
Charleston Southern kicks off the 2012 season on the road on Saturday, September 1st, as the Buccaneers travel to Sansom Field to take on The Citadel. Action between the Buccaneers and the Bulldogs is set for 6 p.m.
The preseason team is comprised of 12 offensive players, 12 defensive players and five special teams selections, plus any ties. Liberty placed a League-high eight players on the preseason squad, followed by Stony Brook (6), Coastal Carolina (6), Gardner-Webb (5), Charleston Southern (2) and Presbyterian College (2). The 2012 preseason All-Conference team is as follows:
2012 BIG SOUTH FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
QB - Kyle Essington, Stony Brook, Sr. (Chino Hills, Calif.)
RB - Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook, Sr. (Riverhead, N.Y.)
RB - Kenny Little, Gardner-Webb, R-Sr. (Flanders, N.J.)
WR - Nathan Perera, Charleston Southern, Jr. (Orlando, Fla.)
WR - Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina, Jr. (North Augusta, S.C.)
WR - Pat Kelly, Liberty, Sr. (New Orleans, La.)
TE - David Duran, Coastal Carolina, R-Sr. (Marietta, Ga.)
OL - Jamie Dunaway, Gardner-Webb, Sr. (Duncan, S.C.)
OL - Malcolm Boyd, Liberty, Sr. (Spartanburg, S.C.)
OL - Jamey Cheatwood, Coastal Carolina, R-Jr. (Boiling Springs, S.C.)
OL - Steve Demilio, Gardner-Webb, R-Sr. (Severna Park, Md.)
OL - Michael Bamiro, Stony Brook, R-Jr. (Tobyhanna, Pa.)
DL - Preston Pemasa, Gardner-Webb, Jr. (Garden Grove, Calif.)
DL - Matt Goods, Gardner-Webb, R-Jr. (East Orange, N.J.)
DL - Francis Bah, Liberty, R-Jr. (Duisburg, Germany)
DL - Chris Thomas, Coastal Carolina, Sr. (Staten Island, N.Y.)
LB - Andrae Jacobs, Coastal Carolina, Sr. (Tabor City, N.C.)
LB - Jawara Dudley, Stony Brook, Jr. (Roosevelt, N.Y.)
LB - Nick Sigmon, Liberty, R-Soph. (Roanoke, Va.)
LB - Donelle Williams, Presbyterian, Soph. (Starke, Fla.)
DB - Charles James, Charleston Southern, R-Sr. (Jacksonville, Fla.)
DB - Walt Aikens, Liberty, R-Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.)
DB - Kevin Fogg, Liberty, Sr. (Raleigh, N.C.)
DB - Dominick Reyes, Stony Brook, R-Sr. (Hesperia, Calif.)
PK - Wesley Skiffington, Stony Brook, R-Sr. (Brandon, Fla.)
P - Patrick Morgano, Presbyterian College, Sr. (Greenville, S.C.)
LS - Richard Wright, Liberty, R-Jr. (Nathalie, Va.)
KR - Kevin Fogg, Liberty, Sr. (Raleigh, N.C.)
PR - Niccolo Mastromatteo, Coastal Carolina, Jr. (Ortonville, Mich.)
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Miguel Maysonet, Sr., RB, Stony Brook
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Charles James, R-Sr., DB, Charleston Southern