Aug. 24 (Saturday)
Samford vs. Youngstown State (ESPN/ESPN app), 3 p.m.
ESPN3 and ESPN+ are available on Roku
• The 2019 season marks the SoCon's 98th year of football. College football in general is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
• Samford kicks off the 2019 season with a nationally televised contest against Youngstown State in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff in Montgomery, Alabama, on Saturday, Aug. 24. The contest will air on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern.
• The Bulldogs led FCS in passing offense last season at 392.7 yards per game and were fifth in total offense at 515.9 but must replace two of the most prolific offensive players in school history in quarterback Devlin Hodges wide receiver Kelvin McKnight, who were both consensus All-Americans last year. Hodges, who won the STATS Walter Payton Award as the national offensive player of the year, wrapped his career as the FCS career leader in passing yards (14,584) and the SoCon record-holder with 111 touchdown passes, while McKnight finished as Samford's career leader in receiving yards (4,144), receptions (313) and touchdown catches (32).
• Samford must also replace All-American defensive lineman Ahmad Gooden, who was the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Gooden (Denver Broncos), McKnight (Broncos) and Hodges (Pittsburgh Steelers) are all on NFL rosters at this time.
• Wofford, which has won at least a share of the SoCon title in each of the last two years, is the preseason pick to win the league again in 2019 in separate voting of the SoCon's coaches and media. The Terriers earned seven of the nine first-place votes in the coaches' poll and 21 of 29 in the media poll.
• Full polls and the coaches' preseason all-conference teams can be found on page 2 of these notes. Wofford led all teams with nine total preseason all-conference selections, putting three on the first teams and a league-best six on the second teams. Mercer was second with eight total selections, putting three on the first teams and five on the second teams, while Furman and ETSU had seven total selections each. ETSU and Chattanooga shared league-high honors with four first-team selections apiece.
• Wofford and Furman claimed spots in the two major preseason national polls, with the Terriers landing eighth in the AFCA FCS Top 25 and ninth in the STATS FCS Top 25. Furman is ranked 17th in the AFCA poll and 19th in the STATS poll. The Citadel, ETSU and Chattanooga received votes in both polls, while Mercer and Samford earned votes in the STATS poll.
• Chattanooga junior wide receiver Bryce Nunnelly and Western Carolina redshirt senior quarterback Tyrie Adams were named to the preseason watch list for the STATS Walter Payton Award, which honors the outstanding offensive player of the year. Former Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges won the award last season.
• Three Southern Conference players were named to the preseason watch list for the STATS Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the outstanding defensive player of the year. ETSU redshirt senior defensive lineman Nasir Player and junior defensive back Tyree Robinson are joined on the 25-man list by Furman redshirt sophomore bandit linebacker Adrian Hope.
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