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Flames Picked Second in Big South Preseason Football Poll
At the annual Big South Football Media Day, Liberty was picked to finish second in the league for this upcoming season, while eight members of the Flames' roster were selected to the Big South Preseason All-Conference team.
The Big South held its annual conference football kickoff event at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites, where it was announced that Liberty was not the preseason favorite to win the title for the first time since 2006.
Defending league champion Stony Brook was picked first, with the Seawolves garnering 123 points and 15 out of 18 first place votes in a poll selected by the league's head coaches and media members.
Liberty finished with 108 points and three first-place votes, followed by Coastal Carolina (74 points), Presbyterian College (69 points), Gardner-Webb (65 points), VMI (38 points) and Charleston Southern (27 points).
The Flames had the most players individually honored on the day, with eight selections to the Big South Preseason All-Conference team followed by Stony Brook with six picks and Gardner-Webb with five honored student-athletes.
Pat Kelly and Malcolm Boyd were Liberty's preseason all-conference offensive selections. Kelly is Liberty's leading returning wide receiver after finishing 2011 with a career-best 40 receptions for 591 yards and three touchdowns. Boyd was an Associated Press third-team All-American at left guard last season and was named to the Sports Network Preseason All-America team last week.
Bah ranked third in the Big South in 2011 in tackles for a loss (1.05 per game) and led the program with 11.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Sigmon was named to the College Sports Journal's All-Freshman team after ranking third on the team with 60 tackles (30 solo, 30 assisted) during his first season on the field.
Aikens quickly jumped into the starting lineup in his first season with the program after transferring from Illinois. He finished the year with 49 tackles and led the Big South and ranked No. 28 nationally with three forced fumbles.
Fogg had a breakout season for the Flames and has been named to the Big South preseason all-conference team both as a defender and special teams member.
Defensively in 2011, Fogg ranked third in the Big South with three interceptions to go along with 45 tackles (33 solo, 12 assisted), two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Fogg was a consensus All-America pick as a return specialist after leading the nation with three kickoff returns for a touchdown and averaging 33.5 yards per kickoff return.
Joining Fogg on the Big South preseason all-conference special teams list was long snapper Richard Wright. Wright also earned All-America honors in 2011, when he was named to the College Sporting News Fabulous Fifth FCS All-America team.
Liberty's players report for training camp on Aug. 1 and will hold their first practice of August under first-year head coach Turner Gill during the afternoon of Aug. 2.
The Flames will begin the 2012 season on the road when they face ACC foe Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Sept. 1. The following weekend, Liberty will return to Williams Stadium to host Norfolk State on Sept. 8, one of three 2011 NCAA FCS Playoff teams the Flames will welcome to Liberty Mountain during the upcoming year.
2012 Preseason Poll (first-place votes)
1. Stony Brook (15) - 123
2. Liberty (3) - 108
3. Coastal Carolina - 74
4. Presbyterian College - 69
5. Gardner-Webb - 65
6. VMI - 38
7. Charleston Southern - 27
2012 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference Team
QB - Kyle Essington (Stony Brook, Sr.)
RB - Miguel Maysonet (Stony Brook, Sr.)
RB - Kenny Little (Gardner-Webb, R-Sr.)
WR - Nathan Perera (Charleston Southern, Jr.)
WR - Matt Hazel (Coastal Carolina, Jr.)
WR - Pat Kelly (Liberty, Sr.)
TE - David Duran (Coastal Carolina, R-Sr.)
OL - Jamie Dunaway (Gardner-Webb, Sr.)
OL - Malcolm Boyd (Liberty, Sr.)
OL - Jamey Cheatwood (Coastal Carolina, R-Jr.)
OL - Steve Demilio (Gardner-Webb, R-Sr.)
OL - Michael Bamiro (Stony Brook, R-Jr.)
DL - Preston Pemasa (Gardner-Webb, Jr.)
DL - Matt Goods (Gardner-Webb, R-Jr.)
DL - Francis Bah (Liberty, R-Jr.)
DL - Chris Thomas (Coastal Carolina, Sr.)
LB - Andrae Jacobs (Coastal Carolina, Sr.)
LB - Jawara Dudley (Stony Brook, Jr.)
LB - Nick Sigmon (Liberty, So.)
LB - Donelle Williams (Presbyterian, So.)
DB - Charles James (Charleston Southern, R-Sr.)
DB - Walt Aikens (Liberty, Jr.)
DB - Kevin Fogg (Liberty, Sr.)
DB - Dominick Reyes (Stony Brook, R-Sr.)
PK - Wesley Skiffington (Stony Brook, R-Sr.)
P - Patrick Morgano (Presbyterian, Sr.)
LS - Richard Wright (Liberty, R-Jr.)
KR - Kevin Fogg (Liberty, Sr.)
PR - Niccolo Mastromatteo (Coastal Carolina, Jr.)
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Miguel Maysonet, Sr., RB, Stony Brook
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Charles James, R-Sr., DB, Charleston Southern