|SoCon Wraps Up On Media Day|
|Written by Phil Perry|
|Wednesday, 24 July 2013 17:56|
The Southern Conference held its annual football media day Wednesday at the Spartanburg Marriott. Local, regional and national media were on hand to speak with SoCon players and coaches on the upcoming season. After a word from SoCon John Iamarino at the kickoff luncheon, players and coaches took questions live via
video stream with SoCon TV and taped promos for this season’s SoCon Games of the Week on ESPN3.
Georgia Southern was tabbed as the preseason favorite for 2013. Head coach Jeff Monken’s squad earned the top spot from both the coaches and the media for the second consecutive season. GSU received 15 of 28 first place votes from the media and six of nine votes from the SoCon coaches.
“It doesn’t matter where anybody picks us right now,” Monken said. “What’s important is how we finish at the end. All we are going to concentrate on is being at the top at the end.”
Appalachian State quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson was selected as the preseason Player of the Year on the offensive side of the ball, while Chattanooga defensive lineman Davis Tull and Samford defensive back Jaquiski Tartt split defensive preseason Player of the Year honors .
“I’m definitely honored to be picked for the award,” Jackson said. “Preseason awards really don’t mean anything, though. We haven’t played a game yet. You have to go into the season and prove that the voters chose right.”
Jackson is coming off a 2012 campaign in which he amassed 3,600 yards of total offense, including a SoCon-high 3,278 yards through the air. He was also named to the Walter Payton Award watch list for 2013 along with App State teammate Sean Price and Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon.
Tull, the reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year and All-American selection, finished last season with a league-high 12.5 sacks and finished fifth in the nation with 18.5 tackles for loss. Tartt is coming off a sophomore season in which he was named both all-conference and All-American. He led the SoCon with 14 pass break-ups and tied for the league lead in interceptions with four.
“It’s a great honor,” Tull said. “An honor coming from people in the conference is almost cooler than the All-American honors and things like that, because the people voting for national honors can’t see you play every week. They only see your stats. These people in the conference see you play. I think a lot more respect comes from that, and I’m very appreciative of that.”Tartt was not present at media day but drew praise from Jackson after his Co-Defensive Player of the Year selection.
“Tartt is a rangy safety,” Jackson said. “He will hit you, and he runs well. He’s definitely a ball hawk. It’s definitely an honor for him and says a lot about his talent.”
Both Tull and Tartt were named to the Buchanan Award Watch List for 2013, joining Chattanooga’s Wes Dothard and Wofford’s Alvin Scioneaux as the SoCon selections to the list.
New to SoCon media day were Mercer and ETSU, who will join the league for the 2014-15 academic year. Mercer coach Bobby Lamb and ETSU coach Carl Torbush were both on hand to take questions from the media. Mercer is slated to play its first season of football since 1941 this year and will play a full SoCon schedule in 2014. ETSU will begin play in the fall of 2015 for the first time since 2003 and will begin its SoCon slate in 2016. VMI will also join the SoCon in 2014 but was not present at media day due to prior commitments at the Big South media day in Charlotte.
Western Carolina and Chattanooga will kick off the football season for the SoCon on Aug. 29. The Mocs will host UT Martin at 7 p.m., and the Catamounts will take on Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, Tenn. at 7:30 p.m.
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