Conference USA announced its 2014 Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Awards on Wednesday morning and WKU has been picked to finish fourth in the East Division. Marshall was selected as the East Division favorite while North Texas was picked to win the West Division.

The Hilltoppers received 57 points in the poll, voted on by C-USA’s 13 head coaches, which trailed Florida Atlantic’s 60 points, Middle Tennessee’s 73 points and Marshall’s 91 points. WKU was picked ahead of Old Dominion (33 points), UAB (31 points) and FIU (19 points). Marshall, the defending East Division champions, was unanimously chosen as the preseason division favorite.

WKU exceeded its preseason predicted order of finish in two of its last three seasons in the Sun Belt Conference, finishing third in 2013 after being picked fourth in the preseason poll and placing second in 2011 after being picked seventh by league coaches.

North Texas (66 points) narrowly edged Rice (65 points) as the Preseason West Division favorite while UTSA (62 points), Louisiana Tech (38 points), Southern Miss (24 points) and UTEP (18 points) followed in the predicted order of finish.

The 10th annual Conference USA Football Championship game, pitting the East and West Division champions, will be held Saturday, Dec. 6.

Marshall senior quarterback Rakeem Cato was tabbed the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Marshall senior defensive lineman James Rouse was named the Defensive Player of the Year and UAB senior punter Hunter Mullins earned Special Teams Player of the Year honors.

Twenty-eight players were selected to the Preseason All-Conference USA First-Team by league coaches. Marshall led the way with seven selections while UTSA landed five on the preseason all-league team. Rice and UTEP both had three players honored on the preseason squad.

WKU was one of four programs not to have a player selected to the preseason all-conference team, as selected by league coaches.

For the most up-to-date information on WKU Football, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUFootball or on Facebook by liking `WKU Football.’

 

 

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

EAST DIVISION                                  Pts

1. Marshall                                            91

2. Middle Tennessee                          73

3. Florida Atlantic                                60

4. WKU                                                  57

5. Old Dominion                                  33

6. UAB                                                   31

7. FIU                                                     19

 

WEST DIVISION                                 Pts

1. North Texas                                     66

2. Rice                                                   65

3. UTSA                                                 62

4. Louisiana Tech                               38

5. Southern Miss                                  24

6. UTEP                                                 18

 

Offensive Player of the Year

Rakeem Cato, Sr., QB, Marshall

 

Defensive Player of the Year

James Rouse, Sr., DL, Marshall

 

Special Teams Player of the Year

Hunter Mullins, Sr., P, UAB

 

First Team Offense

QB          Rakeem Cato, Sr., Marshall

RB           Kenneth Dixon, Jr., Louisiana Tech

RB           Aaron Jones, So., UTEP

OL           Scott Inskeep, Sr., UTSA

OL           Chris Jasperse, Sr., Marshall

OL           Cyril Lemon, Sr., North Texas

OL           Clint Van Horn, Jr., Marshall

OL           Mason Y’Barbo, Sr., North Texas

WR          Jamarcus Nelson, Sr., UAB

WR          Tommy Shuler, Sr., Marshall

WR          Jordan Taylor., Sr., Rice

TE           Eric Tomlinson, Sr., UTEP

 

First Team Defense

DL           Vernon Butler, Jr., Louisiana Tech

DL           Christian Covington, Jr., Rice

DL           Ra’Shawde Myers, Sr., Marshall

DL           James Rouse, Sr., Marshall

LB           T.T. Barber, Sr., Middle Tennessee

LB           Evan McKelvey, Sr., Marshall

LB           Andrae Kirk, Jr., Florida Atlantic

DB           Kevin Byard, Jr., Middle Tennessee

DB           Bryce Callahan, Sr., Rice

DB           D’Joun Smith, Sr., Florida Atlantic

DB           Triston Wade, Sr., UTSA

 

First Team Special Teams

K             Sean Ianno, Sr., UTSA

P             Hunter Mullins, Sr., UAB

KR           Autrey Golden, Jr., UTEP

PR           Kenny Harrison, Sr., UTSA

LS           Jesse Medrano, Sr., UTSA