VSU Football Earns Preseason Praise

VALDOSTA, Ga. - Five Valdosta State football players have been named Preseason All-Americans according to an announcement made by Beyond Sports College Network.

Senior offensive guard Edmund Kugbila led the group as he received second team recognition. Kugbila has started 20 of 21 games the last two seasons, missing only VSU's Senior Day game during the 2010 season, and has recorded a team-best 123 knockdown blocks during that time. Kugbila was named third team All-America by Don Hansen's Football Gazette last season while also being voted a unanimous choice for All-Gulf South Conference by the league coaches.

Senior offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder joined Kugbila as he received third team Preseason All-America accolades. Schraeder started all 10 games last season and had 26 knockdown blocks while grading out at 91.0 percent on the season. He was named to the AFCA and AP Little All-America teams while also receiving All-Region honors from Daktronics and Don Hansen's Football Gazette as well as All-Gulf South Conference honors.

Joining Schraeder on the BSN third team was junior linebacker Chris Pope, who has started all 21 games during his Valdosta State career. Pope led the Blazers with 92 tackles a season ago and has 153 for his career, including 12.0 tackles for loss. He has also recorded three career interceptions and one fumble recovery while breaking up three passes.

Senior offensive tackle Mesh Wokomaty and senior cornerback Matt Pierce, both of whom was named Honorable Mention All-America. Wokomaty started all 10 games last season and was named to Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-Region team while also being named first team All-Gulf South Conference. Meanwhile, Pierce has started in 30 of 31 games during his Blazer career and has recorded 126 tackles and four interceptions as well as 24 passes broken up, the seventh-best total in VSU history.

Valdosta State's five honorees is tied for the fourth-best total on the BSN Division II team. Overall, the Gulf South Conference placed 12 players on the team, including three from Delta State, two from West Alabama and one each from North Alabama and West Georgia.

BSN boasts preseason teams for the Division I Championship Series, Division II, Division III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Valdosta State opens its season Saturday, September 1 at 7:00 p.m. when the Blazers travel to University Center, Mich. to take on Saginaw Valley State. The Blazers, who return 48 letterwinners and 18 starters, return to Valdosta and Bazemore-Hyder Stadium for their first home game the next weekend when they host Fort Valley State at 7:00 p.m.

For further information, visit: www.vstateblazers.com

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