JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (August 11, 2003) - The East Tennessee State Buccaneer football team received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA Preseason College Football Coaches Poll, released Monday morning.
ETSU received 14 votes in the poll, placing the Bucs at 44th in the nation. McNeese State is ranked No. 1, followed by Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern. SoCon members Appalachian State, Furman and Wofford are ranked eighth, ninth and 16th respectively. Western Carolina and The Citadel also received votes in the poll, with the Catamounts registering seven and the Bulldogs garnering three.
East Tennessee State finished the 2002 season at 4-8 (2-6 SoCon), but returns nine starters on a stingy defense, led by preseason All-America defensive back Tony Tiller (Lithonia, Ga.). Senior tailback Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) will pace the offense, and is ETSU's returning leader in rushing yards, receptions, receiving yards and rushing touchdowns.
The Bucs open the season on Thursday, Aug. 28 at Eastern Michigan. Kickoff from Ypsilanti, Mich. is set for 7 p.m.