Johnson City, Tenn. (Aug. 8, 2002) - East Tennessee State head football coach Paul Hamilton and his staff welcomed over 80 players to campus today as the Buccaneers begin their preparations for the 2002 football season that is less than four weeks away.
"We certainly are very enthused about seeing our football team come back today," said Hamilton. "As I look at them come in it shows that they have made a commitment in the off-season to come back in great shape. They, as well as the coaches, are excited about the next several weeks. The thing we have to do is now is get to work and see what kind of football team we can become between now and August 31 when we open at North Carolina State."
ETSU, ranked as high as eighth in the nation in the preseason polls, returns 13 starters from last season's team that posted its third straight winning season, including an upset of top-ranked Georgia Southern. Among the returning players for the Bucs are preseason All-Americans Cecil Moore (Morristown, Tenn.), an honorable mention pick, and junior Tony Tiller (Lithonia, Ga.), a first team selection. Both are first team All-SoCon preseason selections. Moore, rated as the No. 5 wideout in I-AA football by the College Sporting News, led the Southern Conference in receptions and yardage last season and is listed among the top-10 in the ETSU record books in each of those categories. Tiller, rated as the second best cornerback by CSN, led the SoCon in interceptions last year with seven.
In addition to reporting today, players will have equipment issued and go through physicals. Tomorrow the players will go through meetings and strength and conditioning testing prior to taking part in the ETSU's annual media day that will start at 3:00 p.m. in Memorial Center. First practice for the Bucs is slated for Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.