Coaches Pick MT 2nd, SIDs Predict 1st; Hicks Tabbed Preseason Offensive Player of the YearJuly 24, 2002 · MT Media Relations
The Mean Green received four first-place votes and 44 points in the coaches' poll, edging out Middle Tennessee by one point. The Blue Raiders, 2001 co-champions, picked up two first-place votes and 43 points. The coaches selected New Mexico State third with 34 points and one first-place vote. Louisiana-Lafayette placed fourth with 30 points, followed by Idaho in fifth with 21 points. Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State tied for sixth place with 12 points each.
The leagues SIDs gave Middle Tennessee, under head coach Andy McCollum, four first-place votes and 46 points to top the poll. North Texas picked up the other three first-place votes and 43 points for second. New Mexico State edged out Louisiana-Lafayette for third place with 31 points, compared to the Cajuns 30 points. Idaho finished a solid fifth with 20 points, while Louisiana-Monroe was picked sixth with 14 points, followed by Arkansas State with 10.
Hicks, a Heisman Trophy candidate, was named the Sun Belt Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while junior all-conference performer Maurice Sonnier of Louisiana-Monroe was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Hicks, a two-time Preseason Offensive Player of the Year selection, rushed for 1,143 yards on 191 carries last season. He finished the season ranked 2nd in the country in scoring with 13.5 points per game.
"This is great for our fans and the league," McCollum added. --"But we are only concerned about where we will stand in December. These are just predictions and we have to get it done on the field. The six players singled out are very deserving and have worked hard, but they will be the first to tell you that without our team's success that these type of awards don--'t mean a whole lot."
2002 Sun Belt Conference Football Preseason All-Conference Team
Offensive Line: Garry Johnson, Sr., Arkansas State; Jonathon Raush, Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette; Brandon Westbrook, Jr., Middle Tennessee; Shalimar Jackson, Sr., New Mexico State; Nick Zuniga, Jr., North Texas Tight End: Jeff Muenchow, Sr., North Texas Wide Receivers: Nick Dugas, Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette; Tyrone Calico, Sr., Middle Tennessee Quarterback: Jon Van Cleave, Jr., Louisiana-Lafayette Running Backs: *Dwone Hicks, Sr., Middle Tennessee; Kevin Galbreath, Sr., North Texas
Defensive Line: *Brandon Kennedy, Jr., North Texas; Brandon Kania, So., Idaho; John Thompson, Jr., Louisiana-Monroe; Joe Olivo, Jr., New Mexico State Linebackers: Les Echols, Jr., Arkansas State; Maurice Sonnier, Jr., Louisiana-Monroe; Cody Spencer, Jr., North Texas Defensive Backs: *Siddeeq Shabazz, Sr., New Mexico State; Charles Tillman, Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette; Michael Woods, Jr., Middle Tennessee; Jonas Buckles, So., North Texas
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Dwone Hicks, Sr., RB, Middle Tennessee Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Maurice Sonnier, Jr., LB, Louisiana-Monroe
2002 Sun Belt Conference Football Preseason Polls
2002 Coaches Poll
1. North Texas 44 (4)
2. Middle Tennessee 43 (2)
3. New Mexico State 34 (1)
4. Louisiana-Lafayette 30
5. Idaho 21
6. Arkansas State 12
2002 SID Poll
1. Middle Tennessee 46 (4)
2. North Texas 43 (3)
3. New Mexico State 31
4. Louisiana-Lafayette 30
5. Idaho 22
6. Louisiana-Monroe 14
7. Arkansas State 10
Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.
More Football NewsMay 7, 2013: C-USA announces five TV games for Raiders
May 4, 2013: Stockstill honored at Champion Within Luncheon today
Apr 27, 2013: Three Blue Raiders ink free agent deals
Apr 20, 2013: Air attack carries Blue to 52-40 win in Blue-White Game
Apr 16, 2013: Byard, healthy Gilstrap to lead secondary
Apr 15, 2013: Festive weekend ahead for Football Spring Game