July 28, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Coastal Carolina, who shared the 2010 Big South Championship and earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA FCS Championship, was picked third by the league's coaches and media at the annual Big South Football Media Day. The league also announced its preseason All-Big South team, featuring 2011 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Andrae Jacobs as well as David Duran, Jamey Cheatwood and Josh Norman.
Coastal was picked behind preseason favorite Liberty and Stony Brook, each of which the Chanticleers shared the regular-season title with in 2010 as each posted a 5-1 record in the league. The Chants were also picked third behind Liberty and Stony Brook at last season's Big South Football Media Day.
Coastal Carolina will begin defense of its fourth Big South title on Sept. 3, hosting Furman at 6 pm. In preparation for that home opener, Coastal football student-athletes will report to campus Aug. 3 for preseason camp and begin its preseason practices on Aug. 4.
The Chanticleer football program enters its ninth year of existence in 2011, winning a Big South-best four league titles in its history. Also, ninth-year head coach David Bennett, the reigning Big South Football Coach of the Year, is league's winningest football coach with 56 overall wins and 24 Conference victories. The Chants are the only Big South team to reach the NCAA FCS playoffs, earning the league's first and only automatic berth in 2006 and earning the league's first automatic berth in 2010.
"I like where we are picked," Bennett said. "We were picked third last year too. These events are great for getting together as a group, but rarely do they get it right. Although, here we are, the defending champion and the team that got to go to the playoffs and we are picked third. I hope our guys use this to show you can not rely on last year. You have to keep working to get better each day.
"I am looking forward to August 4 and, not only seeing the battle at quarterback, but at every position. We have some great depth and these guys will have to compete every day because there are too many other guys with talent wanting to get playing time as well."
In addition to returning the league's Coach of the Year, Jacobs is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and enters 2011 as the league's preseason pick to do the same. The junior linebacker, also tabbed 2011 preseason second team All-American by Lindy's magazine, finished the 2010 regular-season ranked second in the Big South with a career-high 104 tackles - third-most on the CCU single-season list (8.7 per game). He ranked first (eight weeks) or second (four weeks) in the conference in tackles all season. He also recorded 12.0 tackles-for-loss (tied for third in the Big South) and two sacks on the year. The Big South Defensive Player of the Week for Week 10 against VMI, Jacobs posted five double-digit tackle games, including a career-high 14 at then-No. 11 Richmond. He also recorded 13 stops (nine solo) against Georgia Southern. Jacobs had a tackle-for-loss in 10 of 12 games played, including a string of seven consecutive games with a stop behind the line. His play helped Coastal lead the league and rank 16th nationally in tackles-for-loss, as well as finish 21st in the NCAA in scoring defense en route to a share of the Big South championship.
"This is a great honor for me but mainly for our defense," Jacobs said. "I am thankful and blessed to be able to represent our defense with this honor. There is no way I could have had the year I did last year without those other 10 guys doing their jobs. I know this honor is based on last year but I have not made one tackle this season. While this is a great honor, I know we have a great challenge ahead of us. I am going to continue to work hard and hopefully help bring back a conference championship."
Duran, who is seven receptions shy of becoming the first Big South tight end with 60 career receptions, was a second team All-American last season and is a two-time, first team All-Big South selection. For the second straight year in 2010, Duran led all Big South tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards and ranked fifth (tied) in the nation among tight ends in receptions, playing sparingly over the final two games (two receptions for 26 yards) due to an injury. Of his 34 receptions in 2010, 27 went for first down, including two touchdowns. He caught at least four passes in five games, including five for 86 yards in the Liberty win and five for 51 yards with a TD versus Georgia Southern. His 745 career receiving yards (just two seasons) ranks sixth on the CCU all-time list and his 53 career receptions ranks seventh. For his career, Duran averages 14.06 yards per catch for his career.
Norman, a 2009 All-American, had additionally been recognized by The Sports Network as a 2011 preseason All-American. He is a two-time, first team All-Big South selection who was tabbed All-American in 2009. Norman ranked fifth on the team in tackles and was third in the Big South in passes broken up with nine, marking the third straight year Norman has produced at least seven PBU in a season. He blocked a field goal in the Delaware State game, which was returned by a teammate 94 yards for a TD. Late in the year, he had a huge game in the Liberty win, getting 12 tackles and two key PBU (one on fourth-and-one in the endzone, both covering All-American Chris Summers). Norman then led the team with eight tackles in the season finale. He started the season with a big game at West Virginia, getting six tackles, including a TFL and forcing a fumble near the goal line to give CCU the ball.
Cheatwood headlines a group of four returning offensive lineman along with Tim Franklin, Bryan Brooks and Pat Williams. Cheatwood was a second team All-Big South selection last season as a redshirt freshman. Cheatwood helped Coastal Carolina allow a Big-South low seven sacks, ranking third in the NCAA for fewest sacks allowed. In addition to the record-setting season and career quarterback Zach MacDowall had, the offensive line allowed Coastal running back Eric O'Neal to set a school record and lead the Big South with 179 rushing attempts.
2011 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points
1. Liberty (15) 105 18 -- -- -- -- -- 123
2. Stony Brook (2) 14 60 30 -- -- -- -- 104
3. Coastal Carolina (1) 7 30 55 4 -- -- -- 96
4. Charleston Southern -- -- 5 20 30 4 -- 59
Gardner-Webb -- -- -- 36 18 4 1 59
6. VMI -- -- -- 12 6 22 2 42
7. Presbyterian College -- -- -- -- -- 6 15 21