Appalachian State has been voted an East Division co-favorite in the Sun Belt Conference football preseason polls and awards that were released by the league Tuesday, two days before the league’s media day in New Orleans.
In a vote by Sun Belt coaches, the Mountaineers and Coastal Carolina both finished with 44 points to lead the way in their five-team division, while Louisiana was voted the West Division favorite. In receiving four of a possible 10 first-place votes for the East, App State also had six players selected for the preseason All-Sun Belt first team and nine picks among the two teams.
The six first-team picks — giving App State the second-highest total in the league — are defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor, linebacker D’Marco Jackson, defensive back Shaun Jolly, running back Camerun Peoples, offensive lineman Baer Hunter and offensive lineman Cooper Hodges.
For a second straight year, Taylor and Jolly this week were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the nation. Peoples was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which recognizes the most outstanding player in college football.
The Mountaineers return 17 starters (10 on defense) from a team that went 9-3 in Shawn Clark’s first season as head coach.
Appalachian opens the season Sept. 2 in Charlotte versus East Carolina.
Sun Belt Coaches’ Poll
1. Appalachian State
1. Coastal Carolina
3. Georgia State
4. Georgia Southern
2. Arkansas State
3. South Alabama
4. Texas State