TSC Football Preseason Coaches Poll Revealed
AVE MARIA, Fla. --- In the 2015 Sun Conference Football Preseason Poll, the coaches have selected Webber International to repeat as conference champions. The preseason poll, which was voted on by the league's six head coaches, was released Friday by the conference office.
With 20 total points and three first place votes, the Warriors narrowly edged out Southeastern who tallied 19 total points and two first place votes. Ave Maria received the final first place vote.
After a tough start to the 2014 season, Webber International ran off seven straight wins to finish with a 7-3 overall mark and a 4-1 record against conference opponents. The Warriors, who enter the season ranked 24th in the NAIA Football Coaches Preseason Top-25 Poll, return five of their 10 all-conference honorees from last season, including playmakers Darius Page and Prince Holloway.
Page set the Warriors single season rushing record with 950 yards on the ground and eight rushing touchdowns while Holloway set Webber's single season mark with 338 punt return yards with two punt returns for touchdowns.
Following a strong inaugural season, Southeastern, who finished 2014 with a 7-3 overall record and a 3-2 mark in conference play, is picked to finish second. The Fire return four first team all-conference members from a year ago including Sun Conference Player of the Year and 2015 The Sporting News Preseason NAIA All-American Jarrell Reynolds.
Reynolds rushed for 1,469 yards and 26 touchdowns last season and ranked fifth in the NAIA in total rushing and third in rushing yards per game. He finished in the top 11 in the NAIA in eight different offensive categories including rushing, scoring, and all-purpose yardage.
Warner is picked to finish third with 17 points followed by Ave Maria with 14 points and one first place vote. The Royals are coming off a 5-5 campaign and return their leader on the defensive side in first team all-conference member Loronza Smith. The rising junior linebacker led the conference with 119 total tackles (all positions) and ranked seventh in the NAIA in tackles (all positions) per game with 11.9.
Ave Maria returns two all-conference honorees from a year ago including AFCA-NAIA Second Team All-American offensive lineman Jeff Lindenmoyer. The Blue and Green also welcome back quarterback Clayton Uecker who enters his third season as the Gyrenes starting quarterback. The rising junior passed for 2,494 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. AMU finished 2014 in a tie for second place with Southeastern and Warner with a 3-2 mark in conference play.
Edward Waters has been tabbed to finish fifth after tallying 11 points with Point grabbing nine points to round out the six team preseason poll. First team All-Sun Conference honoree and dual threat quarterback Tyler Mahla will once again lead Edward Waters for the 2015 campaign. Last season, Mahla led the Tigers on the ground with 541 rushing yards and through the air with 1,616 passing yards.
Point returns seven of eight all-conference selections including return specialist Brandon Robertson and AFCA-NAIA All-American kicker/punter David Strickland. Robertson averaged 13.5 yards per punt return and nearly 25 yards per kick return while returning two kicks and one punt for touchdowns in 2014. As a wide receiver, he also totaled 26 receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Strickland led the NAIA in punting by averaging 44.6 yards per punt on 47 attempts and 2,095 total yards. He also garnered first team All-Sun Conference honors, as well as the Sun Conference Champion of Character award.
Point, Warner, and Webber International begin their 2015 campaigns on Aug. 29, while Ave Maria, Edward Waters, and Southeastern officially get underway on Sep. 5.
2015 Sun Conference Football Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Webber International – 20 (3 first-place votes)
2. Southeastern – 19 (2)
3. Warner – 17
4. Ave Maria – 14 (1)
5. Edward Waters – 11
6. Point – 9