SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Georgia Southern defensive linemen Brent Russell (Comer, Ga.) and Ameet Pall (Wofford) were tabbed Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year for the 2011 season, as announced Monday by the Southern Conference. Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein earned the most votes to claim preseason Offensive Player of the Year accolades. The SoCon head coaches selected the preseason All-Conference teams with Georgia Southern leading all schools with 14 selections, including eight on the first team.
Russell, selected to the initial Buck Buchanan Award watch list for this upcoming season, posted 71 tackles for Georgia Southern in 2010. A first-team Associated Press All-American last season, Russell helped anchor one of the top defenses in the FCS last year as the Eagles ranked among the nation's leaders in total defense (ninth), pass defense (11th) and scoring defense (11th).
Pall was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. The Montreal, Quebec, native recorded 60 tackles on the defensive line for the Terriers and ranked eighth nationally in both sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (22.5).
Breitenstein scored 22 touchdowns and led the league and ranked fifth in the nation with 1,639 rushing yards last season. The Terriers boasted the top rushing attack in all of FCS last season with 297.7 yards per game on the ground.
Eight Eagles earned first-team honors with Derek Heyden (Atlanta, Ga.), Josh Rowe (Opelika, Ala.), Russell and Laron Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.) representing Georgia Southern on defense. Senior offensive lineman Brett Moore (Warner Robins, Ga.) and sophomore running back Robert Brown (Macon, Ga.) were named to the first team offense.
The second team consisted of four Georgia Southern offensive players with sophomore Dorian Byrd (Macon, Ga.) and senior Willie Maxwell (Quitman, Ga.) taking two spots on the all-Conference second team offensive line. Slotback J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.) and tight end Tyler Sumner (Pooler, Ga.) were also selected for honors. The All-Conference second-team defensive unit included senior defensive tackle Roderick Tinsley (Soperton, Ga.).
On special teams, punter Charlie Edwards (Tifton, Ga.) and Scott, at return specialist, were named to the first team while Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) was tabbed for the second team at placekicker.
The 2011 Southern Conference football season begins Thursday, September 1 when Western Carolina visits Georgia Tech. The league's eight other teams hit the field Saturday, September 3, including a conference game between Georgia Southern and Samford.
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2011 Southern Conference Football
Preseason All-Conference Teams
Offensive Player of the Year:
Eric Breitenstein, Jr., FB, Wofford
Co-Defensive Players of the Year:
Ameet Pall, Sr., DL, Wofford & Brent Russell, Jr., DL, Georgia Southern
First Team Offense
QB DeAndre Presley, Sr., Appalachian State
RB Robert Brown, So, Georgia Southern
RB Eric Breitenstein, Jr., Wofford
OL Orry Frye, Sr., Appalachian State
OL Rodney Austin, Sr., Elon
OL Ryan Lee, Sr., Furman
OL Brett Moore, Sr., Georgia Southern
OL Nate Page, Sr., Wofford
TE Ben Jorden, Sr., Appalachian State
WR Aaron Mellette, Jr., Elon
WR Joel Bradford, Sr., Chattanooga
First Team Defense
DL John Rizor, Jr., Appalachian State
DL Brent Russell, Jr., Georgia Southern
DL Alex Davis, Sr., Samford
DL Ameet Pall, Sr., Wofford
LB Kadarron Anderson, Sr., Furman
LB Josh Rowe, Jr., Georgia Southern
LB Ryan Consiglio, Sr., Chattanooga
DB Ed Gainey, Sr., Appalachian State
DB Ryan Steed, Sr., Furman
DB Derek Heyden, Sr., Georgia Southern
DB Laron Scott, Sr., Georgia Southern
First Team Specialists
PK Ray Early, So., Furman
P Charlie Edwards, Sr., Georgia Southern
RS Laron Scott, Sr., Georgia Southern
Second Team Offense
QB B.J. Coleman, Jr., Chattanooga
RB Travaris Cadet, Sr., Appalachian State
RB J.J. Wilcox, Jr., Georgia Southern
OL Matt Ruff, Sr., Appalachian State
OL Dakota Dozier, So., Furman
OL Dorian Byrd, So., Georgia Southern
OL Willie Maxwell, Sr., Georgia Southern
OL Adam Miller, Jr., Chattanooga
TE (tie) Colin Anderson, Jr., Furman
TE (tie) Tyler Sumner, Jr., Georgia Southern
WR Brian Quick, Sr., Appalachian State
WR Brenton Bersin, Sr., Wofford
Second Team Defense
DL Josh Lynn, Jr., Furman
DL Roderick Tinsley, Sr., Georgia Southern
DL Nick Davidson, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Eric Eberhardt, Sr., Wofford
LB Brandon Grier, Jr., Appalachian State
LB Tolu Akindele, Sr., The Citadel
LB Joshua Jones, Sr., Elon
DB Corey White, Sr., Samford
DB Chris Lewis-Harris, Sr., Chattanooga
DB Kadeem Wise, So., Chattanooga
DB Blake Wylie, Jr., Wofford
Second Team Specialists
PK Adrian Mora, Sr., Georgia Southern
P Sam Martin, Jr., Appalachian State
RS Travaris Cadet, Sr., Appalachian State