Football Slated Sixth in Preseason SAC Poll; Six Named All-SAC


ROCK HILL, S.C. ( -- Catawba has been picked sixth in the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Football Coaches Preseason Poll as announced this week by the league office. In addition, the Catawba Indians had six players selected to the SAC Preseason All-Conference teams.

Wide receiver Will Sweeper and linebacker Jeremiah Ferguson, who were All-SAC performer in 2018, earned first team spots on the preseason teams. Defensive back Cris Page, who was a second team pick in 2018, is a second team selection in the preseason and is joined by offensive lineman Demetrius Blackwell, defensive lineman Cameron Davis and linebacker LJ Melvin.

Sweeper led Catawba in receiving yards last year, catching 24 passes for 548 yards. His 22.8 yards per catch was fourth best in school history. He also led the way with six touchdown grabs. Ferguson was the second leading tackler on defense, making 84 stops. He had eight for losses and added an interception.

Page intercepted one pass and led the team with eight pass break-ups. He posted 32 tackles with a pair going for losses and caused a fumble. Davis led the team with seven and half sacks and 17 stops for losses. He recorded 61 total tackles with an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Melvin was third on the team with 83 tackles. He recorded a pair of sacks and three tackles for loss. Melvin intercepted a pass, caused a fumble and recovered two fumbles. Blackwell has been a mainstay as a starter at right tackle since his red-shirt freshman season in 2016.

Lenoir-Rhyne was voted as the conference favorite and earning the title in 2018.  The Bears collected five first-place votes. Wingate was tabbed second and claimed three first-place votes, while Tusculum took the other top nod and is fourth in the poll. 
The 2019 South Atlantic Conference football season gets underway on Thursday, Sept. 5 with Carson-Newman, Newberry, Tusculum and Wingate all in action.  The remainder of the SAC teams kick-off their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 7, including Catawba which hosts West Georgia at noon.
2019 SAC Football Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (5), 68
2. Wingate (3), 64
3. Carson-Newman, 55
4. Tusculum (1), 54
5. Newberry, 45
6. Catawba, 37
7. Mars Hill, 33
8. Limestone,21
9. UVa-Wise, 19

2019 Preseason All-SAC Football
QB –       Derrick Evans, Carson-Newman
RB –        Antonio Wimbush, Carson-Newman
RB –        Jordon Shippy, Tusculum
RB –        Nijere Peoples, Wingate
WR –     BJ Muckelvene, Wingate
WR –     Will Sweeper, Catawba
WR –     Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
OL –       Phil McDowell, Carson-Newman
OL –       Jordan Seal, Carson-Newman
OL –       Travis James, Mars Hill
OL –       Keveon Broadwater, Tusculum
OL –       Jason Poe, Lenoir-Rhyne
TE –       Drake Starks, Lenoir-Rhyne
PK –       McLean Robertson, Wingate
LS –        Dawson Campbell, Carson-Newman
RS –        Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL –       Montel Presley, Carson-Newman
DL –       Brian Bemby, Carson-Newman
DL –       Dan Louba, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL –       Colton Strickland, Tusculum
LB –        Jeremiah Ferguson, Catawba
LB –        Ivan Hogans, Tusculum
LB –        Sherrod Williams, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB –        Robbie Wallace, Wingate
DB –       Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB –       Desmond Fairell, Carson-Newman
DB –       Davion Washington, Wingate
DB –       Malik Goodman, Tusculum
P –         Shea Rodgers, Newberry
QB –      Shaw Crocker, Wingate
RB –       Ameen Stevens, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB –       Xzavion Huff, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB –       Austin Barnes, Newberry
WR –     Ajay Belanger, Tusculum
WR –     Tyler Ferguson, Mars Hill
WR –     Bobby Irby, Newberry
OL –       Connor Baroniunas, Wingate
OL –       Demetrius Blackwell, Catawba
OL –       Ronnie Cliffton, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL –       Reese Fain, Carson-Newman
OL –       Tyler Anderson, Newberry
TE –       Carter Mangel, Tusculum
PK –       Chase Allbaugh, Lenoir-Rhyne
LS –        AJ Covan, Limestone
RS –       BJ Muckelvene, Wingate
DL –       Jaquan Artis, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL –       Cameron Davis, Catawba
DL –       Cal Hanford, Wingate
DL –       Keito Jordon, Newberry
LB –        Elijah Gilmore, Wingate
LB –        Antonio Henderson, Carson-Newman
LB –        Clayton Horn, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB –        LJ Melvin, Catawba
DB –       David Vereen, Newberry
DB –       Dee Alford, Tusculum
DB –       Cris Page, Catawba
DB –       Eric Jackson, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB –       Marcus Tarrer, UVa-Wise
P –          Thomas Cook, Limestone

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