SPARTANBURG, S.C. (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference in 2013 in voting by league coaches Wednesday at SoCon Media Day.
League media, meanwhile, predicted UTC to finish fourth.
Chattanooga also had nine players receive preseason all-conference selections, including six on the first team roster.
"It's not where you are picked in July, but where you finish that matters," Huesman said. "That said, it shows the respect we have earned around the league to be picked third. We look forward to getting started in a couple of weeks and compete week-in and week-out in one of the best leagues in the country."
The program's resurgence under Huesman is backed by history. The last time Chattanooga was voted as high as third in the preseason was in the 1991 media poll (3rd). You have to go back to 1990 for the coaches (3rd). The Mocs received a first-place vote in the 2011 coaches ranking which was a first since 1998. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team or players.
Georgia Southern was the consensus pick to win the league. The Eagles are followed by Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Samford on the coaches side and Wofford, App State and UTC by the media.
The Eagles and Mountaineers are transitioning to FBS status and are ineligible for the FCS Playoffs and SoCon title.
The Mocs received one of nine first-place votes in the coaches poll and two of 28 in the media. Six student-athletes earned first team recognition on the preseason all-conference team with three more projected on the second team.
With 10 starters returning on one the FCS' stingiest defenses in 2012, it is not a surprise that Chattanooga is well represented in the preseason all-league team. Returning Defensive Player of the Year Davis Tull headlines five from the Mocs defense on the preseason all-conference squad. Defensive tackle Derrick Lott, linebacker Wes Dothard, safety D.J. Key and cornerback Kadeem Wise are joined by tight end Faysel Shafaat on the first team.
"We have very high expectations on the defensive side of the ball," Huesman said. "Five of our ten returning starters made the all-league preseason team. That's pretty good. There are not too many teams who have a guy like Tull coming off the edge. Dothard is a beast in the middle and D.J. is probably our best football player."
The offense netted three spots on the second team. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Huesman quarterback/wide receiver Terrell Robinson and senior guard Kevin Revis join Shafaat to lead a unit looking to emerge as one of the dynamic offensive units in the FCS.
"Offensively we have some work still to do, but we have some great pieces," Huesman said. "Jacob and Terrell are exciting players, and we need to get the ball in their hands as much as possible because they make great things happen."
The 2013 campaign starts Thursday, August 29, in Chattanooga for the SoCon with the Mocs hosting UT Martin, while Western Carolina travels to Middle Tennessee.
2013 SoCon Preseason Coaches Poll
(first place votes in parentheses)
1) Georgia Southern – 57 (6)
2) Appalachian State – 51 (2)
3) Chattanooga – 47 (1)
4) Samford – 43
5) Wofford – 40
6) The Citadel – 33
7) Furman – 25
8) Elon – 16
9) Western Carolina – 12
2013 SoCon Preseason Media Poll
(first place votes in parentheses)
1) Georgia Southern – 210 (15)
2) Wofford – 194 (4)
3) Appalachian State – 190 (6)
4) Chattanooga – 176 (2)
5) Samford – 149
6) The Citadel – 126
7) Furman – 107 (1)
8) Elon – 61
9) Western Carolina – 47
2013 SoCon Preseason All-Conference Teams
Offensive Player of the Year: Jamal Londry-Jackson, Sr., QB, Appalachian State
Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Jaquiski Tartt, Jr., DB, Samford
Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Davis Tull, Jr., DL, Chattanooga
First Team Offense
QB Jamal Londry-Jackson, Sr., Appalachian State
RB Dominique Swope, Jr., Georgia Southern
RB Fabian Truss, Sr., Samford
OL Kendall Lamm, Jr., Appalachian State
OL Dakota Dozier, Sr., Furman
OL Dorian Byrd, Sr., Georgia Southern
OL Ty Gregory, Sr., Wofford
OL Jared Singleton, Sr., Wofford
TE Faysal Shafaat, Jr., Chattanooga
WR Andrew Peacock, Sr., Appalachian State
WR Sean Price, So., Appalachian State
WR (tie) Kelsey Pope, Sr., Samford
First Team Defense
DL Ronald Blair, Jr., Appalachian State
DL Derek Douglas, Sr., The Citadel
DL Derrick Lott, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Davis Tull, Jr., Chattanooga
LB Jonathan Spain, Jr., Elon
LB Wes Dothard, Sr., Chattanooga
LB Alvin Scioneaux, Sr., Wofford
DB Lavelle Westbrooks, Sr., Georgia Southern
DB Jaquiski Tartt, Jr., Samford
DB D.J. Key, Sr., Chattanooga
DB Kadeem Wise, Sr., Chattanooga
First Team Specialists
PK Ray Earley, Sr., Furman
P Ray Earley, Sr., Furman
RS Tony Washington, Sr., Appalachian State
Second Team Offense
QB Jacob Huesman, So., Chattanooga
RB Darien Robinson, Sr., The Citadel
RB Donovan Johnson, Sr., Wofford
OL Cullen Brown, Sr., The Citadel
OL Clay Johnson, Sr., Elon
OL Garrett Frye, Jr., Georgia Southern
OL Kasey Morrison, Sr., Samford
OL Kevin Revis, Sr., Chattanooga
TE Zeke Walters, Sr., Samford
WR Kierre Brown, Jr., Elon
WR Terrell Robinson, Jr., Chattanooga
Second Team Defense
DL Gary Wilkins, Jr., Furman
DL Javon Mention, Sr., Georgia Southern
DL Jerry Mathis, Jr., Samford
DL Tarek Odom, Jr., Wofford
LB Carson Smith, Jr., The Citadel
LB Justin Shade, Sr., Samford
LB Mike McCrimon, Sr., Wofford
DB Joel Ross, Jr., Appalachian State
DB Brandon McCladdie, Sr., The Citadel
DB Chandler Wrightenberry, Sr., Elon
DB Ace Clark, Jr, Western Carolina
DB (tie) James Zotto, Sr., Wofford
Second Team Specialists
PK Drew Stewart, Sr., Appalachian State
P Clark Sechrest, Sr., Western Carolina
RS Fabian Truss, Sr., Samford
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and SoConSports.com.