FAIRFIELD, CT (August 2, 2012) - The Sacred Heart football team was picked to finish eighth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll announced Thursday afternoon via a media teleconference. The Pioneers placed three players on the 2012 Preseason All-NEC team in seniors Tyler Foehr (Florence, NJ) and Justin Martel (Manchester, NH) and r-sophomore Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY).
The University at Albany Great Danes claimed six of the nine first place votes to sit atop this year's poll. The Great Danes are the defending champions after sharing the title with the Duquesne Dukes last fall. The Dukes were picked second and received one first-place vote. The Bryant Bulldogs, starting their first season of NCAA Division I postseason eligibility, was slated third with the remaining two first place votes.
For the third year running, the Northeast Conference will reward its champion with an automatic berth into the NCAA FCS playoffs.
The Pioneers are coming off a 5-6 season in 2011 where they finished 3-5 in the NEC, tied for sixth in the final standings. SHU was also picked to finish eighth last season. The 2012 season will open with three-straight road contests on Saturday, September 1st with a stop at Morgan State of the MEAC. SHU will also play at Colgate and at Dartmouth in non-conference play this season. The first of just four home games on Campus Field will be "2012 Homecoming" on Saturday, September 29th when NEC in-state rival Central Connecticut State comes to town.
On offense, the Pioneer front five will be anchored at left tackle by Martel, a two-year returning starter. Martel has started at both tackle positions but will be protecting quarterback Tim Little's blind side this season. Defensively, Foehr had a break-out season at defensive end last fall and will move to outside linebacker this year, still playing with his hand on the ground. Foehr notched 46 tackles and was second on the club with six sacks. He also forced a fumble and had eight QB hurries last season.
Last season's All-NEC placekicker make the preseason list in Rogers. Just named to the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List this week, Rogers posted 63 points last fall, making all 11 field goals he attempted on the season. In addition to all-conference accolades, Rogers was also named All-New England.
The Pioneers will open preseason training camp this Sunday. Check back to SacredHeartPioneers.com and on Facebook at Sacred Heart University Pioneers for training camp previews heading toward kick-off on September 1st!