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2009 MEAC GRIDIRON PICKS:

South Carolina State running back Will Ford and Norfolk State defensive back Terrell Whitehead earned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's (MEAC) top football preseason awards, as announced by the league on Friday afternoon at the Newport News Marriott.

Ford was selected as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year while Whitehead was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the conference's Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors.

For the third straight year, South Carolina State was picked to win the MEAC title. The defending champion Bulldogs are coming of a 10-3 season that included an unblemished 8-0 mark in conference play.

Ford, the 2008 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, led the MEAC and ranked 13th in the nation in rushing with 1,499 yards. The senior, who earned All-MEAC first team honors and was a second team All-American selection, averaged 6.1 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns a year ago.

Whitehead earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor after leading the Spartans with 83 tackles (44 solo) in 2008. He finished tied for third in the conference in passes defended with four interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

Florida A&M led all teams with eight players on the preseason All-MEAC first team. The Rattlers also had three second team selections for a total of 11. South Carolina State had a total of eight selections on both teams; five were recognized on the first team. Norfolk State and Morgan State had seven total selections each.

The 2009 Preseason Predictions and All-Conference teams are listed below.

2009 MEAC Football Preseason
Predicted Order of Finish


1. South Carolina State (10) 290
2. Florida A&M (5) 273
3. Hampton (1) 197
4. Bethune-Cookman (1) 185
5. Norfolk State (1) 163
6. Morgan State 142
7. Delaware State 140
8. North Carolina A&T 48
9. Howard 38


2009 All-MEAC FIRST TEAM
Offense
QB - Curtis Pulley, r-Sr., Florida A&M, Hopkinsville, KY
RB - William Ford, Sr., South Carolina State, Travelers Rest, S.C.
RB - Devan James, Sr., Morgan State, Pompano Beach, Fla.
TE - Sherron Childress, r-Jr., Norfolk State, Hampton, Va.
WR - Oliver "Trey" Young, Sr., S. Carolina State, Charleston, S.C.
WR - Kevin Elliot, r-So., Florida A&M, Orlando, Fla.
OL - Johnny Culbreath, r-Jr., South Carolina State, Monroe, Ga.
OL - Anthony Collins, r-Sr., Florida A&M, Miami. Fla.
OL - Robert Okeafor, Sr., Florida A&M, Jacksonville. Fla.
OL - Robert Norris, Sr., Morgan State, Cheltenham, Md.
C - Steve Brazzle, r-Sr., Florida A&M, Coatesville, Pa.
Defense
DL - Justin Lawrence, Sr., Morgan State, Jetersville, Va.
DL - Dexter Jackson, Sr., Bethune-Cookman, Jacksonville, Fla.
DL - Cameron Houston, Sr., Florida A&M, Rockledge, Fla.
DL - Kendrick Ellis, Jr., Hampton, West Palm Beach, Fla.
LB ­ Marshall McFadden, Sr., South Carolina State, Lamar, S.C.
LB - Bryan Parker, Sr., Florida A&M, Randlestown, Md.
LB - Mike Alphonse, r-Sr., Norfolk State, Miramar, Fla.
DB - Terrell Whitehead, Sr., Norfolk State, Virginia Beach, Va.
DB - Curtis Holcomb, Jr., Florida A&M, Miami, Fla.
DB - Markee Hamlin, Jr., South Carolina State, Lamar, S.C.
DB - Darren McKahn, Jr., Morgan State, Miami, Fla.
P - Jahmal Blanchard, Sr., Hampton, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
P/K - Justin Castellat, Sr., Norfolk State, Virginia Beach, Va.
Ret - LeRoy Vann, Sr., Florida A&M, Plantation, Fla.

2009 All-MEAC SECOND TEAM

Offense
QB - Herbert Bynes, r-Jr., Hampton, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
RB - Philip Sylvester, Jr., Florida A&M, Marianna, Fla.
RB - DeAngelo Branche, r-Jr., Norfolk State, Norfolk, Va.
TE - Jephte Cherenfant, Jr., Morgan State, Miami, Fla.
WR - Willie Carter, So., Howard, Denmark, S.C.
WR - Isaac West, Jr., Florida A&M, Tallahassee, Fla.
OL - Ryan Griffin, r-Sr., Bethune-Cookman, Hollywood, Fla.
OL - Juavahr Nathan, r-Jr., South Carolina State, Ladson, S.C.
OL - Mike Maloney, Sr., Delaware State, Chicago, Ill.
OL - Nicholas Royal, Sr., Hampton, Keeling, Va.
C - Ryan Cave, Sr., Hampton, Beaufort, SC
Defense
DL - Ray Jennings, Sr., Norfolk State, Chesapeake, Va.
DL - Markus James, So., South Carolina State, Hampton, Va.
DL - James Carter, Sr., Howard, Tifton, Ga.
DL - Tyre Glasper, Sr., North Carolina A&T, Detroit, Mich.
LB - Josh Pope, r-Sr., Delaware State, Philadelphia, Pa.
LB - Troy Leftwich**, Jr., Morgan State, Ashland, Va.
LB - Andre Thornton**, Sr., North Carolina A&T, Charlotte, N.C.
LB - George Howard, Sr., Morgan State, Chesapeake, Va.
DB - Antonio Cox, Sr., Bethune-Cookman, Miami, Fla.
DB - Antwuan Cox, Sr., Bethune-Cookman, Miami, Fla.
DB - Jonathan Wade, Jr., Hampton, Richmond, Va.
DB - Phillip Adams, Sr., South Carolina State, Rock Hill, S.C.
P - Justin Keable, r-Sr., Bethune-Cookman, DeLand, Fla.
P/K - Trevor Scott, r-So., Florida A&M, Jacksonville, Fla.
Ret - Dwight Fluker-Berry, r-Jr., Norfolk State, Miami, Fla.

© 2009 Azeez Communications, Inc.