OVC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY: Tigers predicted 5th, Clifford and Nicholls on preseason team
Monday, July 26, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - Tennessee State University was predicted to finish fifth and defenders Eugene Clifford and Donte'e Nicholls were selected to the Ohio Valley Conference preseason team.

The announcement was made during the 2010 OVC Football Media Day at LP Field on Monday morning.

The Tigers received one first-place vote with a total of 70 after finishing fifth in the final standings at the end of the 2009 season. The last time TSU was predicted to finish fifth in the preseason polls, the Tigers finished the season as the 1998 OVC Champions.

For the second-straight season, five different Ohio Valley Conference schools received at least one first-place vote in the OVC preseason poll while Jacksonville State picked up the most first-place votes (11) and was tabbed the 2010 OVC preseason favorites in a vote of league head coaches and sports information directors.

Those 11 votes were out of 18 total votes, putting the Gamecocks (120 points) atop the preseason poll for the third time since joining the league in 2003. Eastern Illinois, last year's champion, picked up four first-place votes (114 total points) and were just six total points behind Jax State. Eastern Kentucky (102 points) and Tennessee Tech (78 points) also received one first- place vote apiece and were picked third, and fourth respectively. The preseason poll was rounded out by UT Martin (59) in sixth, Austin Peay State and Southeast Missouri State tying for seventh (38) and Murray State (29) at eighth.

Eugene Clifford makes his second appearance on the OVC preseason team after receiving his first selection at the start of 2009. He was the only Tiger to make that squad. The senior, Cincinnati, Ohio native, registered 60 tackles (34 solo), two interceptions, five pass break-ups, and seven pass deflections last year.

Clifford also tacked on two scores courtesy of an interception and fumble return. The fumble return is the longest in modern TSU Football history. He makes his sixth preseason team for 2010.

Donte'e Nicholls makes his first early season squad after transferring from the University of South Carolina in 2009. Nicholls, a junior and native of Pompano Beach, Fla. finished with 35 tackles (20 solo), 5.5 for a loss, and three pass break-ups and pass deflections each. Nicholls played in the reserve role last year making only two starts.

The Tigers will open the 2010 season when the host Alabama A&M in the John Merritt Classic. The game is scheduled for September 4, 2010 with kick-off slated for 6 p.m.