NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Troy University Trojans, two-time defending Sun Belt Conference football champions, placed five players on the preseason All-Conference team, announced at the league's annual football Media Days today.
The Trojans were also picked to finish second in the race for the 2008 league title, behind 2007 co-champion Florida Atlantic. The All-Conference team and the preseason poll are selected by a panel that includes the league's eight head coaches as well as a media representative selected by each school.
Troy received one first place vote in the preseason poll, and 51 total points to rank second. FAU took six of the eight first place votes and 62 total points. The Owls also lead the league with eight preseason All-Conference selections, including the preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
The Trojans and Owls will meet in a Tuesday night ESPN2 game on October 7 in Boca Raton.
Louisiana-Monroe was picked to finish third in the league race and received the only other first place vote. The rest of the preseason poll had Arkansas State fourth, Middle Tennessee fifth, Louisiana-Lafayette sixth, North Texas seventh and Florida International eighth. Western Kentucky is not yet eligible for the league title and was excluded from both the preseason poll as well as the preseason All-Conference voting.
Troy managed to place just one player on the preseason All-Conference offense, with senior lineman Dion Small earning the only spot. Small is also on the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is presented annually to the top lineman in college football by the Rotary Club of Houston.
The Trojans placed four players on the All-Conference defense. Senior defensive backs Sherrod Martin and Tavares Williams were joined by senior defensive end Kenny Mainor and junior linebacker Boris Lee.
FAU junior quarterback Rusty Smith was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year while teammate Frantz Joseph, a senior linebacker, was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The Trojans will report for the start of training camp next Monday, July 28, and will hold their first practice session on Wednesday, July 30. Troy will open the 2008 season on Thursday night, August 28, at Middle Tennessee.
Tickets for all 2008 Troy University football games, including a variety of season-ticket packages for the five-game home schedule, are available through the Troy University Athletics Ticket Office. Call 877-878-9467 or 334-670-3681 for more information.
2008 Preseason Sun Belt Poll
As voted on by the league's eight head coaches.
First place votes in parentheses.
Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
As voted on by the league's eight head coaches and selected media members.
QB: Rusty Smith (FAU, Jr.)
RB: Reggie Arnold (ASU, Jr.)
RB: Tyrell Fenroy (ULL, Sr.)
WR: Cortez Gent (Florida Atlantic, Jr.)
WR: Casey Fitzgerald (NT, Sr.)
TE: David Johnson (ASU, Sr.)
TE: Zeek Zacharie (ULM, Sr.)
OL: Matt Mandich (ASU, Sr.)
OL: Nick Paris (FAU, Sr.
OL: Chris Fisher (ULL, Jr.)
OL: Kelvin Drake (NT, Jr.)
OL: Dion Small (Troy, Sr.)
DL: Alex Carrington (ASU, Jr.)
DL: Robert St. Clair (FAU, Sr.)
DL: Jervonte Jackson (FAU, Sr.)
DL: Kenny Mainor (Troy, Sr.)
LB: Ben Owens (ASU, Sr.)
LB: Frantz Joseph (FAU, Sr.)
LB: Boris Lee (Troy, Jr.)
DB: Tavious Polo (FAU, So.)
DB: Corey Small (FAU, Sr.)
DB: Greg James (ULM, Jr.)
DB: Alex Suber (MT, Sr.)
DB: Sherrod Martin (Troy, Sr.)
DB: Tavares Williams (Troy, Sr.)
P: Scott Love (ULM, Jr.)
PK: Drew Edmiston (ULL, Sr.)
RS: Desmond Gee (MT, Jr.)
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Rusty Smith (FAU, Jr., Quarterback)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Frantz Joseph (FAU, Sr., Linebacker)