VALDOSTA, Ga. - The Valdosta State Football team was selected to finish third in the Gulf South Conference while eight Blazers garnered preseason All-GSC honors in a vote of the coaches, according to an announcement made by the league office on Tuesday.
VSU received three second place votes and one third to finish with 11 overall points in the annual prediction by the league coaches on how the conference will pan out in 2011. Delta State, which advanced to the national championship game last season, was picked to win the GSC as it received two first place and two second place votes for 14 total points while North Alabama tallied the two remaining first place votes and was third on two ballots to finish with 12 points.
West Alabama tallied one first place vote two thirds and one fourth to rank fourth in the preseason voting with nine points while West Georgia secured four points on four fourth-place votes to finish fifth.
Valdosta State tallied a league-high eight members on the preseason All-GSC team as it placed three players on both the offensive and defensive squads while two were named to the special teams unit. Two of the offensive team members hailed from the Blazer offensive line as guard Edmund Kugbila and tackle Ryan Schraeder were voted to the team, as was running back David Bailey. Kugbila started all 11 games at tackle as a sophomore in 2010 while Schraeder is entering his first year with the VSU squad. Meanwhile, Bailey is Valdosta State's returning rusher as he accumulated 353 yards and three touchdowns a year ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Trokon Gaye, linebacker Japree Miles and safety Harrison Dreiling all received the preseason honor. Gaye played in all 11 games as a true freshman last season and recorded 22 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, while Miles returned from injury to record 32 tackles in 10 games. Dreiling, who received preseason All-America honors from the Consensus Draft Services, was second on the Blazer squad with 79 tackles last season and intercepted six passes while breaking up three more pass attempts and forcing two fumbles.
Valdosta State's pair of kickers also garnered preseason All-GSC honors as kicker Daniel Andersen and punter Jack Fulford each garnered the honor. Andersen, who has been VSU's place kicker in each of his first two seasons, hit 11-of-15 field goals last year and was successful on 27-of-30 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Fulford, who currently stands first in the Valdosta State record books in career punting average at 40.8 yards per punt, averaged 41.5 yards per punt last season and landed 24 of his 62 kicks inside the opponent's 24 yard line.
North Alabama, Delta State and West Alabama each had six members of the preseason All-GSC team while West Georiga recorded five.