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SoCon coaches pick GSU to finish first
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Southern Conference preseason poll and all-conference team votes are in, and Georgia Southern was voted by the nine SoCon coaches atop the league poll.

The Eagles received seven first-place votes and 63 points to rank ahead of Appalachian State, which received the other two first-place votes. Wofford, Chattanooga and Furman rounded out the top five.

Led by preseason defensive player of the year selection Brent Russell, GSU was well represented on the all-conference teams.

Russell, joined by Wofford’s Eric Breitenstein as the top preseason award winners, is on the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award after finishing the 2011 season first on the squad in tackles for loss (16.5) and sacks (6.5).

Joining Russell, who was also a first team all-SoCon defensive team selection, on the preseason all-conference first team were offensive lineman Dorian Byrd and safety Deion Stanley.

The Eagles also had three second team selections in offensive lineman Blake DeBartola, linebacker Darius Eubanks and return specialist Darreion Robinson.

2012 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll

School (First-place votes) Points
1. Georgia Southern (7) 63
2. Appalachian State (2) 57
3. Wofford 48
4. Chattanooga 44
5. Furman 36
6. Samford 27
7. Elon 24
8. The Citadel 17
9. Western Carolina 8