LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland football was picked fifth in the Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division in a vote of league coaches announced today by the conference office.
Fifth-year head coach Donnie Suber returns 41 letterwinners and 12 starters from last season’s squad that finished 5-6, including four losses by a combined 15 points. The Phoenix must replace a bevy of playmakers on both sides of the ball, with two-time Defensive Player of the Year Nathan Jernigan and three-time All-Conference defensive end Justus Dauscha both lost to graduation.
Michael Green, who finished in the Top 15 nationally in receiving yards and all-purpose yards each of the last two seasons, also graduated, as did Justin Snyder, who passed for 1,375 yards and seven touchdowns in five starts last season in place of injured starter Dezmon Huntley.
Safeties Tyler Burr and Tyler Stewart both graduated as well, with Burr starting 35 career contests and amassing 201 tackles and five interceptions while Stewart played in 20 games the last two campaigns, registering 122 stops and 10 pass breakups.
Offensively Cumberland returns four starters on the offensive line as well as Huntley, who led the club in rushing with 745 yards and six touchdowns despite playing in only seven games. CU averaged 232.4 yards rushing per outing in 2016 with 32 TDs, including from Kris Parker and five by Kendall Johnson, who both return.
Senior Alex Campagne ranked second on the squad last season with 60 tackles along with 5.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and pass breakups. Senior Cody Carr added 56 stops with 4.5 tackles for loss and senior DeAnthony Patrick posted 50 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups.
Lindsey Wilson received six first-place votes and 36 total points for first place in the Bluegrass Division, while Georgetown College picked up the remaining first-place vote and 30 total points for second place. The next three teams were separated by just five points, with Bethel University (24 points) third, followed by Campbellsville University (21) and then Cumberland (19). Kentucky Christian and Cincinnati Christian rounded out the poll.
Cumberland opens camp Friday with more than 130 players expected for the first practice at Nokes-Lasater Field. The Phoenix host Bluefield College on August 26 at 1:30 p.m. in the season opener.
2017 Mid-South Conference Football
Preseason Coaches' Poll - Bluegrass Division
|No.||School (First-Place Votes)||Points||2016 Record/MSC|
|1.||Lindsey Wilson (6)||36||11-2/4-1|
|2.||Georgetown College (1)||30||7-4/5-1|