OVC Media Day: E. Illinois 2nd in Preseason Poll

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BRENTWOOD, TN  (EIU Athletics) – Eastern Illinois football has been picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference as the preseason poll was released on Monday at the conference’s annual football media day in Nashville.  Four players were named to the preseason All-OVC team.

Evan Kanz on offense joined defensive players Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dino Fanti and Jourdan Wickliffe as preseason All-OVC selections.

Jacksonville State was the preseason OVC favorite picking up 16 of 18 first place votes and finishing with 128 overall points.  Eastern Illinois was second with 107 points while Eastern Kentucky was third with 106 points and the other two first place votes.  UT Martin was selected fourth followed by Tennessee State, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee Tech, Murray State and Austin Peay.  

EIU opens the 2015 season on Sept. 3 at Western Illinois.  After a Sept. 12 game at Northwestern, the Panthers open the home schedule on Sept. 19 against Illinois State.  Also on this year’s home schedule are Southeast Missouri, Tennessee Tech, Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky.  Season tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com 

Kanz was a second team All-OVC selection last year after starting at both guard and tackle during the year.  He blocked for a Panthers offense that finished in the top 20 in the nation in total offense.

Grugier-Hill was a first team All-OVC selection last season leading EIU with 97 tackles.  The linebacker ranked 10th in the OVC in tackles.  He was named a preseason third team FCS All-American earlier this month by STATS.

Fanti was a second team All-OVC selection last season making 64 tackles with a 15.5 tackles for loss.  The defensive tackle ranked third in the OVC in tackles for loss last year.

Wickliffe has been a first team All-OVC selection at safety each of the last two years.  He made 62 tackles with four interceptions which ranked fourth in the OVC.

In addition to the league’s predicted order of finish and preseason teams, the OVC announced its preseason offensive and defensive players of the year.  Dy’Shawn Mobley of Eastern Kentucky was the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Devaunte Sigler of Jacksonville State was the preseason Defensive Player of the Year. 

Order of Finish
1. Jacksonville State (16)               128
2. EASTERN ILLINOIS                       107
3. Eastern Kentucky (2)                 106
4. UT Martin                                       78
5. Tennessee State                         66
6. Southeast Missouri                    63
7. Tennessee Tech                          45
8. Murray State                                 38
9. Austin Peay                                   17
(first place votes in parenthesis)
 

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