Charleston Southern was picked third in the annual Big South Conference Preseason Football Poll as announced Tuesday at the league's annual Media Day.
The Bucs received one first place vote, six third place votes, six fourth place votes, four fifth place votes, and three sixth-place votes to receive 79 total points in the poll conducted by the league's head coaches and a media panel.
Reigning Big South Champion and 2018 quarterfinalist Kennesaw State received 14 first place votes in being installed as the preseason favorites, while Monmouth received five first-place votes in finishing second in the poll. Campbell (73), Gardner-Webb (67), Hampton (64), and Presbyterian (21) rounded out the annual preseason poll.
North Alabama is not included in the poll due to not being eligible for the Big South Championship and not counting as a conference opponent this season.
Charleston Southern enters a new coaching era this season as Head Coach Autry Denson takes the sidelines in 2019. Denson was hired as the head coach in January and hit the ground running, securing a nationally ranked recruiting class, while also preparing the Buccaneers with a fast-paced spring season.
The Bucs are coming off back-to-back seasons that were uncharacteristic of the program as CSU struggled to continue the success of the 2015 and 2016 years. CSU advanced to the FCS Playoffs in each of those two seasons, including the program's first berth in the Quarterfinal round in 2015. CSU's national-ranking streak was also snapped in 2017 after 35 weeks sitting in the Top-25 polls.
CSU reports for fall camp on August 1 and is slated to open practice on August 2. The Bucs kick off the season on Saturday, August 31 at Furman.
The preseason favorite has gone on to win at least a share of the conference championship in 14 of the Big South's 17 years of football.
Bucs place four on Big South Preseason All-Conference team
Four Charleston Southern players were recognized on the 2019 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference teams, announced Tuesday at the Big South Football Media Day.
Redshirt seniors J.D. Sosebee (linebacker) and Zack Evans (offensive line), and redshirt junior long snapper Ethan Ray were all recognized to the Preseason All-Conference team. Redshirt senior punter Kyle Reighard was recognized on the Honorable Mention squad.
Sosebee earned Big South First Team honors at linebacker in 2018 after finishing sixth in the Big South Conference in tackles per game (7.2), first in fumbles recovered (3), and fifth in tackles among linebackers. He was fourth on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and added 0.5 sacks on the year. The Gainesville, Ga. native recorded double-digit tackles in four games, including a season high 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against Savannah State.
Evans earns Preseason All-Conference accolades for the first time in his career after starting all 11 games for the Buccaneers playing primarily at right guard. Evans was a key member of the Bucs averaging 168.5 rushing yards per game on the season, including four games eclipsing the 200-yard rushing mark. For 2018, the Bucs averaged 27:52 in time of possession.
Ray lived up to his preseason All-Conference recognition last season in earning Second Team All-Conference honors as the long snapper. The redshirt sophomore averaged a 0.72 snap time and helped the Bucs' unit post snap-to-kick averages of 2.06. He was responsible for six fair catch calls in special teams coverage and downed the ball inside the opponents' 10-yard line four times in 2018.
Reighard, a two-time All-Conference selection, finished second in the Big South in punt average (40.9), third in total punts (66) and third in yards punted (2,698) this past season. The Salem, Va. native earned First Team All-Conference recognition in 2017 and doubles as the Buccaneers' primary holder in leading CSU's special teams unit.