Nashville, Tenn. - Three players from Tennessee State University's Football was selected to the 2011 All Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Team.
The announcement was released during the OVC Football Media Day held at the Holiday Inn in Nashville.
In addition to the Tigers finishing eighth in the predicted order of finish, senior linebacker Rico Council spotlighted TSU sharing the Defensive Preseason Player of the Year honor. He becomes the first player since TSU joined the conference to receive preseason player of the year honors. Council shares the selection with Jacksonville State's senior defensive lineman Monte Lewis.
Council joins teammates, senior running back Dante' Thomas and sophomore offensive lineman Kadeem Edwards, with the three receiving their first Conference preseason selections. The last time the Tigers had more than two make the preseason list was in 2008 when Javarris Williams (RB), Chris Johnson (WR), Cornelius Lewis (OL) and Remond Willis (LB) were named.
Council is coming off a career season in 2010. Last year, he finished second on the team in tackles with a career high of 79. He currently ranks second in career tackles at TSU with 209 behind head coach Rod Reed (406). He ended the season as a selection on the All Ohio Valley Conference Second Team Defense.
In addition, he led the team in sacks (4) and was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week twice. It was the first time he made weekly honors in the Conference.
In preseason talks, Council has built a reputation as a player to keep an eye on during the season. Last week, he was selected to Phil Steele's FCS All OVC First Team. His other career preseason tags include selections to the 2010 Consensus Draft Services HBCU and Phil Steele's OVC Second Teams. During the 2009 preseason, he received the same CDS honor in addition to a FCS second team selection.
Council continues to build his resume after leading the team in tackles as a freshman with 67 stops. He was named to the OVC Newcomer Team and was named to the CDS FCS All America Second and All HBCU First Team in the postseason.
Thomas returns to help lead the Tigers offense. He moved into the starting role after last year's senior running back Preston Brown (2010 All OVC Second Team) was sidelined for the entire season after going down with a knee injury in week five.
He recorded five starts in 11 games played while rushing for a team best, 793 yards, on 155 carries, for six touchdowns. In addition, he tallied two receptions for 22 yards and 815 all-purpose yards averaging 74.1 yds/game. On the year, he finished with more than 100 all-purpose yards three times.
He averaged 72.1 yds/game on the ground, tying for fourth in the OVC, and is the league's second leading rusher at the running back position returning this year. In the win over North Carolina A&T in the Circle City Classic, Thomas recorded a career high, 186 yards on 24 attempts, recording 7.8 yds/carry, finishing with 202 all-purpose yards. As a result from his performance, the College Football Performance Awards tagged him with an honorable mention that week.
The Tigers youth and talent on the offensive line were highlighted by Edwards selection to the preseason team. In 2010, he started in six games last year sharing the duties at left guard. He helped the Tigers improve on offense finishing with the unit ending the year second in the OVC in rushing with 2, 090 total yards averaging 190 yds/game.
As a member of the front five, Edwards made an impact helping the Tigers amass 3, 910 yards while averaging 355.5 per game. His maturation last year helped TSU rank fourth in sacks allowed in the league with 13 and first in time of possession per game with 32:12.
The Tigers will open the 2011 season at home on Sept. 3, when they host Southern in the 13th Annual John Merritt Classic. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at LP Field.
2011 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Football Team
(Selected by OVC Head Football Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Casey Brockman (QB) Murray State
Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Rico Council (LB) Tennessee State
Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Monte Lewis (DL) Jacksonville State
QB Matt Scheible, Southeast Missouri * 6-1 200 Sr. Washington, Mo.
QB Casey Brockman, Murray State ** 6-2 215 Jr. Murray, Ky.
RB Mike Harris, Murray State * 5-11 200 Sr. Tulsa, Okla.
RB Ryan White, Austin Peay 5-8 199 Sr. Nashville, Tenn.
RB Dante' Thomas, Tennessee State 5-10 200 Sr. Dallas, Texas
WR Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech * 6-1 195 Sr. Chattanooga, Tenn.
WR Orlandus Harris, Eastern Kentucky ** 6-0 190 Jr. Chattanooga, Tenn.
TE Kenny Jones, UT Martin 6-0 235 Sr. Knoxville, Tenn.
C Tim Schmid, Austin Peay 6-3 323 Jr. Nashville, Tenn.
OG Eric Zink, Eastern Illinois 6-6 266 Sr. Oshkosh, Wis.
OG Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State 6-5 330 So. Sanford, Fla.
OG Scott Schweitzer, Tennessee Tech 6-5 300 Sr. Alpharetta, Ga.
OT Evan Conrad, Southeast Missouri * 6-3 305 Jr. Columbia, Mo.
OT Odie Rush, Jacksonville State 6-3 292 Sr. Starkville, Miss.
DL Monte Lewis, Jacksonville State * 6-3 251 Sr. Abbeville, Ala.
DL Emory Attig, Eastern Kentucky ** 6-2 281 Sr. Alpharetta, Ga.
DL Jamison Wadley, Jacksonville State ** 6-3 282 Sr. Gadsden, Ala.
DL Artavious Dowdell, Eastern Illinois 6-2 230 Jr. Belle Grade, Fla.
DL Anthony Brown, Eastern Kentucky 6-1 240 So. Cincinnati, Ohio
LB Rico Council, Tennessee State ** 6-0 256 Sr. Chattanooga, Tenn.
LB Tyson Patrick, Eastern Kentucky 6-2 234 Sr. Dayton, Ohio
LB Rodney Garrott, Jacksonville State 6-1 255 Sr. Huntsville, Ala.
DB Jeremy Caldwell, Eastern Kentucky * 5-10 180 Sr. Chattanooga, Tenn.
DB Keginald Harris, Jacksonville State * 6-3 200 Jr. Town Creek, Ala.
DB Tylor Brock, Southeast Missouri * 6-3 195 Jr. St. Louis, Mo.
DB Patrick McClellan, Eastern Kentucky ** 6-4 212 Sr. Maineville, Ohio
DB Dontrell Johnson, Murray State ** 5-11 180 Sr. Moultrie, Ga.
DB Kendal Harper, UT Martin ** 5-10 188 Sr. Trenton, Tenn.
K Kienan Cullen, Murray State * 6-3 224 Sr. Louisville, Ky.
P Jordan Berry, Eastern Kentucky ** 6-5 195 So. Essendon, Victoria, Australia
RS Dontrell Johnson, Murray State ** 5-11 180 Sr. Moultrie, Ga.
* - 1st team All-OVC team in 2010 ** - 2nd team All-OVC team in 2010