Nashville, Tenn. - Tennessee State University had three student-athletes selected preseason All-Conference and the team is picked to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference as voted by the coaches and sports information directors on Monday.
TSU's guard Kadeem Edwards, defensive end Antonio Harper and return specialist Weldon Garlington all garnered preseason accolades.
Edwards, a native of Sanford, Fla., earned a preseason selection after posting second team honors a year ago. Last season, the junior played in 10-of-11 games, grading out at 85 to 88 percent with five pancakes per contest.
As a junior defensive end, Harper returns as one of the most lethal tacklers in the OVC. In 2011, the Memphis product racked up 44 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks in 11 starts. His sack total ranked 52nd nationally as Harper garnered second team All-OVC.
Garlington, a sophomore for the Tigers, returns as one of the most prolific kick returns TSU has seen in the past decade. Last season, Garlington returned a kick (100 yards) and a punt (91 yards) for touchdowns. Garlington averaged 20.9 yards per kickoff return and 19.4 yards in punt returns. Earlier this month, Garlington was named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Punt Returner Award watch list.
These young men deserve these preseason accolades because they put the time and effort on and off the field," said third year head coach Rod Reed. "It's an honor that is richly deserved, but it's just the preseason. The real test will see if these young men can translate this into the season and come out with the honors at the end of the year."
In the preseason poll, the Tigers were slated to finish fifth with 69 points behind Eastern Kentucky (124 points), Jacksonville State (117), Murray State (85) and Tennessee Tech (83). The Tigers edged out UT Martin (67), Southeast Missouri (44), Eastern Illinois (42) and Austin Peay (47).
In 2011, the Big Blue finished the season with 5-6 record and a 4-4 mark in the OVC. TSU earned the coveted Sgt. York Trophy after winning the tie-breaker over rival Tennessee Tech.
"The guys that were voted at the top are teams that beat us last year," said Reed. "It's just on paper. You still got to play the games. You got to go out there and play week-to-week. We are higher than we were a year ago, so we're making progress."
TSU opens the 2012 season in the 14th Annual John Merritt Classic at LP Field on Sept. 1 against rival Florida A&M.
-- TSU TIGERS --