SPARTANBURG, S.C. (July, 18, 2017) – The Southern Conference released its preseason all-conference teams and preseason polls at Tuesday’s Football Media Day event at the Spartanburg Marriott. Overall, three Buccaneers earned preseason honors.
For the second straight year, red-shirt junior linebacker Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) earned second team honors, while senior offensive lineman Alex Rios (Tucson, Ariz.) and junior kicker JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.) also joined Weigel on the second team list.
Weigel – who has started all 22 games in his first two seasons – was named second team all-SoCon by the media in 2016. The Buccaneer linebacker has totaled 233 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three sacks in first two seasons in the Blue and Gold. Weigel has led the team in tackles the first two seasons as he registered 106 a year ago and 127 in 2015, while being the National FCS leader in solo tackles in 2015 with 79. The Pickerington, Ohio native posted double-digit tackles eight times in 2016 en route to moving his career total to 17. Weigel ranked 21st nationally in total tackles (9.6) and 24th in fumble recoveries (2) in 2016.
Rios made 10 starts for the Bucs in his first season and helped bolster ETSU’s offensive line after transferring from Pima Community College. Rios split time at both tackle positions and earned team MVP honors for his effort against Chattanooga where he graded out at 83 percent with a pair of knockdowns. Rios’ blocking duties helped ETSU total three 200-plus yard rushing games – including a season-high 323 yards in the win over West Virginia Wesleyan.
Jerman earned a pair of SoCon Player of the Week honors in 2016 as he connected on a pair of walk-off field goals to lift the Bucs to wins at Kennesaw State and No. 18 Samford. The Seymour, Tenn. native went 18-of-19 in extra points and 12-of-16 in field goals last season, while tying a single-game career mark with a 3-for-3 effort in the win over Samford – including his game-winning 28-yard make as time expired. Jerman ranked 28th among FCS players in field goal percentage (75.0) and 29th in field goals per game (1.09), while he accounted for 54 points for the Blue and Gold last season.
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges was tabbed Offensive Player of the Year and Citadel’s senior defensive back Kailik Williams was picked Defensive Player of the Year.
Wofford was picked to finish first in the preseason coaches poll with seven first-place votes (63 total points), while The Citadel (54 points) and Samford (52 points) rounded out the top-three. Chattanooga was voted fourth with 41 points and Mercer was fifth with 32 points. Western Carolina (27 points), Furman (26 points), ETSU (17 points) and VMI (12 points) capped off the coaches poll. The media poll was nearly identical; however, Furman was picked sixth and Western Carolina was slated seventh.
The Bucs are gearing up for the 2017 season, which begins Saturday, Sept. 2 when ETSU opens its newly built on-campus stadium against Limestone. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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