4 Trojans place in preseason All-Sun Belt Squad

The Troy Trojans have won or shared five consecutive Sun Belt Conference football titles and have regularly had players named to both the preseason and post-season All-Sun Belt teams. That is no different heading into the 2011 season, as Troy placed four players on the preseason team, as selected by the league's coaches and media.

Troy's four preseason All-Sun Belt picks include junior defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, who was also tabbed as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the league. He was joined on the preseason squad by senior linebacker Xavier Lamb, senior offensive tackle James Brown and sophomore quarterback Corey Robinson.

As a team, Troy was picked to finish second in the league for the second straight year. In 2010 the Trojans were picked to finish behind Middle Tennessee. For the 2011 season, the favorites are the Panthers of FIU.

Not surprisingly, FIU also led all Sun Belt teams with six players on the preseason All-Sun Belt squad. The Panthers are led by preseason co-Offensive Player of the Year T.Y. Hilton.

Senior running back Lance Dunbar of North Texas shared preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors with the FIU receiver and kick-returner.

Massaquoi is just the third Trojan in Troy's eight years in the Sun Belt Conference to earn a preseason player of the year nod. Linebacker Bernard Davis earned the same honor for Troy in 2005 and quarterback Omar Haugabook was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year in 2007.

The Lawrenceville, Ga., native, who has been named to preseason watch lists for the Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik Awards, said he is honored to be recognized by the league's coaches, but knows that there is still much work to be done to live up to the honor.

"For me, this means that I have to continue to work hard and do the things that I have been doing to get me to where I am," Massaquoi said. "It also means that teams will have a target on me all season, but I know the guys around me will be ready to give everything they have to help this team win, and that is the most important thing."

Troy coach Larry Blakeney, who will be in his 21st season as the Trojans' head coach, said he thinks Massaquoi is deserving of the preseason accolades he has been receiving. He knows the junior has been putting in the work to get ready for the season.

"He looks like he has been working hard during the off-season because he is a little bigger and stronger," Blakeney said. "He is in shape and is preparing well. He has done a lot as a player already and is deserving of the preseason recognition.

"Of course, it all boils down to how you play every week and on every play. You have to have a little luck to stay healthy in order to do some of the things I know he wants to do. I know for him, it is all about being a champion and helping this team win."

Troy's four players on the preseason All-Sun Belt team was tied for third most in the league behind the six from FIU and five from Arkansas State.

The Trojans will report for training camp on August 2 and will open the 2011 season on September 3 at Clemson.

The Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team is selected by the head coach of each institution and a media representative from each institution.

Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Offense
Corey Robinson (Troy, So., QB)
Lance Dunbar (NT, Sr., RB)
Bobby Rainey (WKU, Sr., RB)
Dwayne Frampton (ASU, Sr., WR)
T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Sr., WR)
Luther Ambrose (ULM, Sr., WR)
Ladarius Green (ULL, Sr., TE)
Tom Castilaw (ASU, Sr. OL)
Caylin Hauptmann (FIU, Jr., OL)
Ryan McCaul (ULM, Sr., OL)
Matt Tomlinson (NT, Sr., OL)
James Brown (Troy, Sr., OL)
Wes Jeffries (WKU, Sr., OL)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Defense
Dorvus Woods (ASU, Sr., DL)
Tourek Williams (FIU, Jr., DL)
Ken Dorsey (ULM, Sr., DL)
Jonathan Massaquoi (Troy, Jr., DL)
Demario Davis (ASU, Sr., LB)
Winston Fraser (FIU, Jr., LB)
Xavier Lamb (Troy, Sr., LB)
Kelcie McCray (ASU, Sr., DB)
Jonathan Cyprien (FIU, Jr., DB)
Marcus Bartels (FAU, Sr., DB)
Darius Prelow (ULM, Sr., DB)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Special Teams
Alan Gendreau (MT, Sr., Kicker)
Mickey Groody (FAU, Sr., Punter)
T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Sr., Return Specialist)

Co-Preseason Offensive Players of the Year
T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Sr., WR)
Lance Dunbar (NT, Sr., RB)

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Jonathan Massaquoi (Troy, Jr., DL)

The Preseason Sun Belt Conference Coaches Poll is selected by the head coach of each institution.  First place votes in parenthesis.

Team Points
1. FIU 75 (5)
2. Troy 66 (2)
T-3. Middle Tennessee 54
T-3. Louisiana-Monroe 54
5. Arkansas State 49 (1)
6. North Texas 33
7. WKU 28 (1)
8. Louisiana-Lafayette 26
9. Florida Atlantic 20