Wednesday, August 6, 2008


By Josh Buchanan - Small School Insider


Appalachian State aims for their fourth straight SoCon crown, but will have plenty of competition from Elon, The Citadel, and Wofford. Elon and The Citadel are expected to boast pass-happy offenses with strong-armed QBs, and both have plenty of receivers returning. Furman and Wofford both lost a lot of talent to graduation but are always in the hunt. Georgia Southern will break in a new QB, but the Eagles return solid DL and LB corps which will help take some pressure off of the offense. Chattanooga returns some quality players on both sides of the ball. The Mocs must win, and quickly, or coach Rodney Allison’s job could be in jeopardy. Western Carolina will be led by first year head coach Dennis Wagner who brings high hopes for Catamount faithful. The conference expands to nine teams this year with Samford jumping ship from the OVC. Expect them to take their lumps in their first year.


1. Appalachian State:
Payton Award frontrunner QB Armanti Edwards, LB Pierre Banks headline the offense and defense respectively; losses include 2nd round pick WR Dexter Jackson, 6th round pick FS Corey Lynch, and 2-time All-American OG Kerry Brown.

2. Elon:
Payton Watch duo QB Scott Riddle and WR Terrell Hudgins are back; All-SoCon LB Corey Weaver anchors the defense along with preseason All-SoCon DB tandem, Cameron McGlenn and Karlos Sullivan.

3. The Citadel: 1st year starter QB Bart Blanchard has returning WR Andre Roberts and most experience line in the SoCon to lean on; the defense is anchored by DL tandem Terrence Reese and Kevin McCaskill.

4. Wofford:
The Terriers return a solid OL. They, and TE Fenn Allen, headline the offense; just 4 starters return on defense, including LB Seth Goldwire.

5. Georgia Southern:
Payton Award winner QB Jayson Foster and much of the offensive line graduated; S Chris Covington and the LB corps lead the defense.

6. Furman:
Just 5 starters back on offense, including All-American OT Joel Bell; even fewer starters return on defense--just 4, anchored by S Thomas Twitty.

7. Chattanooga: QB Antonio Miller graduated but the Mocs return a solid RB duo and good receiving corps; LB Joseph Thornton headlines just 3 returning starters on defense.

8. Western Carolina: Dennis Wagner takes over as head coach; defense boasts two All-SoCon performers in DT Jeff Bradley and LB Quinton Phillips.

9. Samford: The first year will likely be tough for the Bulldogs despite 15 starters returning; RB Chris Evans and LB Rodney Shepherd headline the ‘08 squad.

Tomorrow: Appalachian St. Up Close; Photo Credit: ASU Sports Information/Keith Cline