Big South recognizes Bucs; CSU slotted middle of the pack
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charleston Southern football learned of its preseason league predictions Tuesday during the annual Big South Football Media Days presented by BuyB1.com at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark hotel. Three Buccaneers (Cayden Jordan, Hombre Kennedy, Garrett Sayegh) were selected to the preseason all-league squad with Anton Williams joining them as a member of the honorable mention picks. The Bucs earned votes to garner a third-place tie among their conference peers, including two-first place nods, in the six-team race. All voting was conducted by the league’s head coaches.
LONE OFFENSIVE HONOR
Jordan is back in the fold as a redshirt junior wide receiver for head coach Autry Denson’s troops in 2022. He’s one of just four offensive returning starters and the top-returning ball catcher with 53 grabs for a team-high 752 yards last fall. His yardage ranks as the ninth-best single-season total in program history, while he was one reception shy of entering the single-season Top-10 list.
In his 2021 All-Big South Second Team campaign, he posted a pair of 100-yard receiving games with 152 yards on six catches against Hampton before tacking on 134 yards on a single-game career-best nine grabs, including his lone touchdown, against Campbell. He had at least three receptions in every conference contest and approached 100 yards two other times, with 94 at Robert Morris and 92 at Gardner-Webb.
DEFENSE BUILT FOR STRENGTH
On the other side of the ball, the Bucs conversely welcome back seven starters. Kennedy will lead a secondary unit from his safety spot after he secured a career high and team-best three interceptions last season on his way to earning All-Big South Second Team honors. He grabbed the picks against three league opponents: at Robert Morris, against Hampton and at Gardner-Webb, while also adding 43 tackles, eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles to his resume. Off the field, he was voted to the All-Big South Academic Team and as a Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Fellowship recipient by the league office.
Sayegh also is a top returner for the CSU defense, having put together a career-high and team-best 96 tackles in 2021, 27 more than his next-closest teammate on his way to All-Big South First Team accolades. He entered the program’s all-time single-season Top-10 chart with the 96 stops, which included nine for loss and two sacks from his middle linebacker position. He finished with four double-digit tackle games, including 16 against Hampton and against Campbell. Against the Camels, he tallied a career-high 11 solo stops with two of his three forced fumbles taking place in the home conference win as he was the Nov. 1 Big South Defensive Player of the Week.
ONE PER POSITION
Williams, another 2021 All-Big South Second Team honoree, was the defensive lineman honorable mention choice. The conference recognized one player per position on the squad after the initial team was revealed.
He’s coming off a campaign in which he finished with 27 tackles, including six for loss and five sacks, second among his teammates and tops for those returning. He had six tackles in the home opener against Monmouth, one game after all five of his stops in the season opener at The Citadel were solo. He had a pair of sacks against North Carolina A&T and forced his lone fumble at Robert Morris. He also had two quarterback hurries against Hampton and at Gardner-Webb.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
After finishing in a tie for third place in the Big South standings last year, Charleston Southern finds itself in the same spot in the preseason poll. The Buccaneers earned 44 total votes, including two first-place nods, to share the third-place standing with Gardner-Webb. North Carolina A&T, in its last season as a Big South member, was picked to finish first with Campbell taking runner-up honors. New football affiliate member Bryant was slotted fifth with Robert Morris picked in sixth.
2022 PRESEASON ALL-BIG SOUTH TEAM
QB: Hajj-Malik Williams, Campbell
RB: Narii Gaither, Gardner-Webb
RB: Alijah Jackson, Robert Morris
WR: Cayden Jordan, Charleston Southern
WR: Justin Franklin, Gardner-Webb
WR: Jamison Warren, North Carolina A&T
TE: Julian Hill, Campbell
OL: Tyler McLellan, Campbell
OL: Clayton Frady, Gardner-Webb
OL: Gabe Thompson, Gardner-Webb
OL: Ricky Lee III, North Carolina A&T
OL: Haydon Baron, Robert Morris
DL: Brevin Allen, Campbell
DL: Ty French, Gardner-Webb
DL: Ricardo Warren, Robert Morris
DL: Jermaine McDaniel, North Carolina A&T
LB: Garrett Sayegh, Charleston Southern
LB: William McRainey, Gardner-Webb
LB: Jacob Roberts, North Carolina A&T
LB: Joe Andreessen, Bryant
DB: Hombre Kennedy, Charleston Southern
DB: Jamari Brown, Gardner-Webb
DB: Karon Prunty, North Carolina A&T
DB: Sydney Audiger, Robert Morris
PK: Andrew Brown, North Carolina A&T
P: Corey Petersen, Campbell
KR: Josh McNeely, Campbell
PR: Josh McNeely, Campbell
LS: Jackson Hayes, Campbell
QB: Bailey Fisher, Gardner-Webb
RB: Bhayshul Tuten, North Carolina A&T
WR: David Zorilla, Bryant
TE: Nicholas Dobson, North Carolina A&T
OL: Mike Edwards, Campbell
DL: Anton Williams, Charleston Southern
LB: Jamar Shegog, Robert Morris
DB: Dorian Jones, Campbell
P: Bailey Fisher, Gardner-Webb
KR: TJ Luther, Gardner-Webb
LS: David McCain, Bryant
Offensive Player of the Year: Narii Gaither, Gardner-Webb
Defensive Player of the Year: Brevin Allen, Campbell
2022 PRESEASON ALL-BIG SOUTH POLL
1. North Carolina A&T, 60 (6)
2. Campbell, 50 (2)
T3. Charleston Southern, 44 (2)
T3. Gardner-Webb, 44 (1)
5. Bryant, 33 (1)
6. Robert Morris, 21
( ) – first-place votes
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