VALDOSTA (WTXL) - Last fall, the Valdosta State Blazer football team put together their strongest season since 2012's National Championship run, and if the national preseason recognition for the upcoming 2015 campaign is any indication of what's to come, Blazer Nation has plenty to look forward to this fall.
One week after Lindy's Sports and Sporting News released national Division II football polls, in which the Blazers ranked 8th and 11th, respectively, Valdosta State placed five players on the American Football Networks 26th Annual USA College Football Division II Preseason list of All-Americans.
The Blazers were well represented on both sides of the ball, as Sharmaine Washington, Larry Murphy, and Kenny Murphy earned recognition as part of the defensive contingent, while wide receiver Chris Anderson and running back Cedric O'Neal served as representatives of the offensive unit. Kenny Murphy earned First Team honors in the release, and Second Team honors went to the remaining selections. All five returnees earned All-Gulf South Conference honors following the 2014 season, and each are expected to serve as impact players in 2015.
O'Neal headlines the group as a three-time All-GSC running back. All eyes will be on the senior this fall, as he takes the gridiron to pursue Valdosta State's all-time rushing record. In three years, O'Neal has collected 3,046 rushing yards and stands just 813 yards shy of claiming the top position in the record books. He also currently stands in third place in school history with 32 rushing touchdowns. In the VSU record books, he trails Aaron Jenkins, who rushed for 34 career touchdowns, and Dominique Ross, who established a new record in 1994 with his 36th career touchdown on the ground.
Beyond the preseason All-American selections, Austin Scott adds tremendous depth to VSU's rushing game and provides an alternative to O'Neal's threatening presence in the backfield. Scott, a senior out of Columbus, Ga., ranks seventh in Blazer football history with 2,646 rushing yards heading into his final year. Additionally, his 18 rushing touchdowns place him in a tie for 6th in VSU history with Vincent Brown (2004-05).
Valdosta State kicks off the highly anticipated 2015 season on September 5th, for a road contest in Albany, Ga. against the Golden Rams of Albany State. The following weekend marks the second annual Cobb County Clash against Winston-Salem State, and two weeks later, the Blazers will host Cumberland on September 26th for the 2015 home opener.
Press release courtesy of: Valdosta State Athletics