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July 24, 2007GREENVILLE, S.C. - Appalachian State University football was a near unanimous choice to win its third-straight Southern Conference championship in the league's preseason polls announced on Tuesday at the annual SoCon Football Rouser at the Greenville Embassy Suites.
Appalachian received 7-of-8 first-place votes in the coaches' poll (coaches only vote for the conference's other seven teams) and claimed all 27 votes in the media poll. Additionally, Walter Payton Award candidate Kevin Richardson (Elizabethtown, N.C./East Bladen) and Buck Buchanan Award candidate Corey Lynch (Cape Coral, Fla./Evangelical Christian) were named the SoCon's preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by both the coaches and media.
The Mountaineers also had 13 representatives on the coaches' preseason all-conference squads. Quarterback Armanti Edwards (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood), offensive linemen Kerry Brown (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter), Mario Acitelli (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) and Scott Suttle (Charlotte,N.C./West Mecklenburg), defensive end Gary Tharrington (Middlesex, N.C./Southern Nash), linebacker Pierre Banks (Durham, N.C./Southern Durham), cornerback Jerome Touchstone (Riverdale,Ga./Riverdale), kicker Julian Rauch (Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook) and return specialist Dexter Jackson(Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody) joined Richardson and Lynch on the first team. Cornerback Justin Woazeah (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) was a second-team selection along with Jackson, who was a second-teamer at wide receiver.
Appalachian (14-1, 7-0 SoCon in 2006) opens defense of its back-to-back NCAA Division I national championships on Sept. 1 at Michigan.
2007 SOUTHERN CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLLS PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Appalachian State
4. Georgia Southern
5. The Citadel
8. Western Carolina