College Football: Calhoun alums Lamb, Curtis named to preseason all-conference teams
NEW ORLEANS – A league-best 12 Appalachian State Mountaineers, including Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jalin Moore (Shelby, N.C./Crest), have been named to the 2017 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Football Teams, the league announced on Friday.
Moore was joined on the first team offense by senior wide receiver Shaedon Meadors (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes), guard Colby Gossett (Cumming, Ga./North Forsyth) and tackle Beau Nunn (York, S.C./ Work Comp.). Linebacker Eric Boggs (Belton, S.C./Belton-Honea Path), defensive tackle Tee Sims (Covington, Ga./Eastside) and cornerback Clifton Duck (Matthews, N.C./Butler) landed on the first team defense.
Quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) and tackle Vic Johnson (North Augusta, S.C./North Augusta) were named to the second team offense, joined by nose tackle Myquon Stout (China Grove, N.C./Carson), linebacker Devan Stringer (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville), and placekicker Michael Rubino (Apex, N.C./Middle Creek) on the second team defense and special teams.
Moore, Lamb, and a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball are a big reason the Mountaineers, under fifth-year Head Coach Scott Satterfield (32-18 at App State), were picked as the preseason favorite in the Sun Belt by the league head coaches on Thursday. App is coming off a 10-3 season in which it claimed the program’s first Sun Belt Conference championship and a second consecutive bowl win, a 31-28 win over Toledo the in 2016 Raycom Camellia Bowl.
Lamb begins his senior season with 63 career touchdown passes, needing 18 for the Sun Belt career mark. He is 27-9 as a starter entering his final year, the second most wins among active FBS quarterbacks. Johnson started every game in ’16 protecting Lamb’s blind side, earning Sun Belt All-Freshman Team honors.
Moore rushed for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to being named the 2016 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. He burst onto the scene in the fourth game of the season, bulldozing Akron with 257 yards rushing and three touchdowns to earn Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week honors.
He would rush for 100 yards or more in six consecutive games and in eight of App’s next nine games.
Gossett and Nunn paved the way for a rushing offense that piled up 250.9 yards per game, the second-highest total in Sun Belt history, second only to App State in 2015.
Gossett started every game, while Nunn missed two games late in the season, but returned for the Camellia Bowl win. On top of Moore’s success, the duo helped then-senior Marcus Coxsurpass 5,000 yards for his career and join Moore with over 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
Meadors earned a first-team nod after 45 catches for 716 yards as a junior. He had three consecutive 100-yard receiving games in the first half of Sun Belt play, also landing on SportsCenter’s Top 10 with an acrobatic catch over a Georgia Southern defender in a late-October win.
Boggs, Sims, and Duck were part of a record-setting defense in ’16. App allowed only 91 points per game (11.8) in Sun Belt play, the fewest allowed by any FBS team in conference play. The Mountaineers would finish in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, total defense, and third-down defense, among others.
Boggs led App State with 98 tackles and double figures in stops in five games. Duck was named a USAToday Freshman All-American after recording five of App’s 20 interceptions on the season. He was also named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. Sims was among the national leaders in sacks early in the season, eventually earning All-Sun Belt honors with seven sacks.
Stout anchored the middle of App’s 3-4, constantly drawing double teams to free up holes for the Mountaineers’ linebacker in the front seven. Stringer is a three-year starter on the App defense and was third on the team in tackles last season and second with 45 solo stops.
Rubino was rock-solid as a freshman, going a perfect 13-for-13 on field goals from inside of 40 yards with a long of 47. He was 47-of-48 on PATs.
The Mountaineers open the 2017 season on Sept. 2 at Georgia. Kickoff is at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN.
In other recent college football news:
Former Jacket standout Curtis earns preseason honors
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A program-record seven Mercer football student-athletes earned 2017 Preseason All-Southern Conference honors as the league office announced the preseason voting results Tuesday at its annual Football Media Day.
The Bears were picked fifth in both the coaches and media preseason polls, totaling 32 and 101 points respectively in each poll. Mercer returns 14 starters from a team that went 6-5 (4-4 SoCon) in 2016. The fifth-place vote is Mercer’s second highest in four years as a SoCon football member.
Offensive lineman Thomas Marchman, tight end Sam Walker and place kicker Cole Fisher marked a trio of Bears named to the Preseason All-SoCon First Team. Wide receiver Marquise Irvin, offensive lineman Caleb Yates, defensive lineman Isaiah Buehler and return specialist and former Calhoun High standout Chandler Curtis earned Preseason All-SoCon Second Team honors, rounding out Mercer’s individual accolades. Curtis is the first player in program history named to the Preseason All-SoCon teams three times in his career. The second team nod is a repeat of 2016 for Curtis as he enters this fall with 1,103 career receiving yards (386, career-high six touchdown receptions in 2016).
Mercer’s seven preseason all-conference selections best the former program record of six in 2015. The seven selections ranked third among SoCon teams behind Chattanooga (10) and league-favorite Wofford (8). The league’s coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes, selected both preseason all-conference teams.
The conference top four teams were identical in both coaches and media polls as Wofford (1), The Citadel (2), Samford (3) and Chattanooga (4) placed ahead of Mercer.
The Bears will open the season against Jacksonville at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31 under the lights at Five Star Stadium.