NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State football team was picked to finish third in the Preseason Media Poll for the Ohio Valley Conference, while redshirt-senior wide receiver Patrick Smith was selected as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
The Tigers received 112 total points; including two first place votes, to finish behind defending champion Jacksonville State (141) and UT Martin (120). TSU is picked ahead of Eastern Illinois (96), Tennessee Tech (70), Murray State (62), Eastern Kentucky (61), Southeast Missouri (33) and Austin Peay (25).
Tennessee State finished 7-4, 4-3 in the OVC, placing fourth a season ago after being picked to finish sixth in the 2016 preseason media poll. Head coach Rod Reed enters his eighth season and will rely on 60 returners from last year's team, including seven offensive and eight defensive starters.
Smith was a first team All-OVC selection in 2016 after leading the team in receptions (61), yards (966) and touchdowns (13) while starting all 11 games at wide receiver. Smith’s touchdown mark also led all OVC receivers. The Memphis, Tenn. Product reeled in a pass in all eleven games, extending his streak to 21 games over the first two years of his career.
The Tigers will report for fall camp on July 26 in preparation for a trip to Atlanta, Ga. to face Georgia State on Aug. 31.
2017 Media OVC Preseason Football Predicted Order of Finish
1. Jacksonville State (13 first-place votes) - 141 points
2. UT Martin (1) - 120
3. Tennessee State (2) - 112
4. Eastern Illinois - 96
5. Tennessee Tech - 70
6. Murray State - 62
7. Eastern Kentucky - 61
8. Southeast Missouri - 33
9. Austin Peay - 25
2017 Media OVC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Smith (WR), Tennessee State
2017 Media OVC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Jackson (DE), Jacksonville State