FOOTBALL SELECTED SECOND IN 2018 PRESEASON POLL
CHARLOTTE, NC - Monmouth University's football team was selected to finish second in the 2018 Big South Preseason Poll, its highest predicted finish since joining the league in 2014. Eight players were named to a total of nine preseason all-conference positions, including two of Monmouth's starting offensive linemen. Fifth-year seniors Russ Clayton (Monroe, NJ/Monroe), Ryan Wetzel (Freehold, NJ/Colts Neck) and Reggie White Jr. (Randallstown, MD/Milford Mill) and senior Jake Powell (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) and junior Tymere Berry(Toms River, NJ/Toms River South) earned all-conference nods. Sophomore running back Pete Guerriero (Lyndhurst, NJ/Lyndhurst) was named preseason All-Big South as both a running back and at kick returner, positions that he was a first team honoree at the end of 2017. Additionally, redshirt junior quarterback Kenji Bahar (Baltimore, MD/Calvert Hall) and senior linebacker Diego Zubieta (Newtown Square, PA/Penncrest) were honorable mention selections. Monmouth, which finished second a season ago in the conference, earned 82 total points and one first place vote. Defending Big South Champion Kennesaw State received 17 of the possible 18 first place votes and garnered 107 points. Charleston Southern was third with 75 points, Gardner-Webb fourth with 52, Campbell fifth with 36 followed up by Presbyterian with 26. White Jr. set a school record with 74 receptions for 874 yards and eight touchdowns. Berry, a two year starter at cornerback, was a second team all-conference selection in 2017 after leading the Big South in passes defended with 14 breakups. Wetzel and Clayton have combined to start 44 combined games on the offensive line for the Hawks, with Wetzel earning first team all-conference honors a year ago. Guerriero earned preseason all-league honors at two separate positions, after being named first team as a true freshman at both the running back and kick returner spot. In the backfield the electric Guerriero became the Hawks first thousand yard back since 2013 while finishing with 1,408 all-purpose yards. Bahar guided an offense that put up a record 4,748 total yards and a program 32.8 points per game last season. Zubieta finished second on the Hawks with 62 tackles on 11 starts. Kennesaw State quarterback Chandler Burks was chosen as the preseason offensive player of the year while Owl linebacker Bryson Armstrong was selected as preseason defense player of the year. For the full list of Big South preseason honorees visit BigSouthSports.com.
Monmouth opens the season on August 31, 2018 at Eastern Michigan. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 PM and the game will air on ESPN+.