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Four Tigers tabbed with Phil Steele's preseason honors
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - Preseason recognition continue to pour in for Tennessee State University Football as four players were named to prognosticator Phil Steele's preseason squads.

Defensive back and 2010 All-America candidate Eugene Clifford makes his third preseason company receiving selections to Phil Steele's All-OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) first and FCS second teams.

Linebackers Rico Council and Sidney Tarver along with wide receiver Joseph Hills were named to Steele's ALL-OVC second team.

Clifford, a senior, Cincinnati, Ohio native, was also selected to the 2010 Consensus Draft Services (CDS) preseason FCS and HBCU teams last month.

In 2009, Clifford was named to the OVC first team finishing the season as TSU's third leading tackler. He was credited with 60 stops (34 solo); two fumble recoveries, two interceptions with seven pass deflections including five break-ups.

He tacked on two scores from a 69-yard interception return and the other courtesy of a 78-yard fumble recovery. The score from the fumble is the longest in modern TSU football history.

Council makes his second preseason team after receiving CDS preseason first team honors for a consecutive year. In 2009, the junior, Chattanooga, Tenn. native finished second on the team with 63 tackles (31 solo) adding one sack.

Tarver joins his defensive teammates making his first preseason selection after a 33-tackle (18 solo) performance last year. The senior from Chattanooga, Tenn. 2009 stats include: a forced-fumble with recovery, one sack and an 89-yard interception return for his first career touchdown.

Second-year wide receiver Hills makes his first ever preseason team and is the first Tiger offensive player to make a preseason group in the early part of the 2010 season. Hills, a senior and native of Palmetto, Fla. finished as TSU's leading receiver with 39 receptions tacking on three touchdowns after transferring from the University of South Carolina last year.

Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is the nation’s most informative preseason football magazine and has always provided a preseason FBS All-American team as well as preseason FBS All-Conference teams. This year, with the expanded FCS Magazine, he included his FCS All-American and FCS All-Conference Teams in the SEC/ACC/Big East Regional Magazine. For more info on FBS or FCS All-Conference teams, visit

The Tigers begin the 2010 season when they host Alabama A&M in 12th Annual John Merritt Classic on September 4th at LP Field.