VSU Picked to Finish Second In GSC

| August 8, 2017

VALDOSTA – If the Gulf South Conference Preseason Release is any indication of what lies in store for the Valdosta State football program in 2017, Blazer Nation has plenty to be excited about, as the Blazers have been predicted to finish in second place in the GSC. Furthermore, five student-athletes made their way on to the list of Preseason All-GSC honorees.

In the annual poll taken of GSC head coaches throughout the league, the Blazers picked up 54 votes, including one first place vote, to finish eight points behind the North Alabama Lions, who earned 62 points and seven first place votes heading into their final season before an upcoming transition to the Division I ranks. Falling in at third place were the West Georgia Wolves with 49 points, followed closely by the Florida Tech Panthers, who secured 47 points for a predicted fourth place finish. West Alabama and Delta State landed 32 and 31 points, respectively, to claim the fifth and sixth place positions.

Rounding out the poll in the bottom three positions were West Florida at number seven with 25 points, followed by Mississippi College in the eighth place spot with 16 points. Eight votes placed Shorter in the final ninth place position.

As for individual honors, the Blazers were well represented on both sides of the ball. Adam Robles, Valdosta State’s primary starter at the quarterback position in 2016, earned recognition heading into his junior season with the red and black. The Ocala, Fla. native tossed 18 touchdown passes and averaged over 200 yards passing per game last year, with his top performance coming against Kentucky State, when he threw for 401 yards and three touchdown passes. Alongside Robles on the offensive side with his first career Preseason All-GSC honor was Brandon Kemp, an upcoming sophomore out of Stone Mountain, Ga. As a red-shirt freshman last season, Kemp made a big splash at the offensive tackle position and earned both All-GSC and All-Region honors. Kemp was also joined by returning senior and offensive guard Josh Adams, who has been a starting lineman for the Blazers since 2015.

Representing the Black Swarm, Brandon Roe headlined Valdosta State’s defensive unit in recognition of a 2016 junior season in which he picked off five passes for a second-place tie among all GSC defensive backs. In addition, Roe helped lead the Blazer secondary to a nation-leading 27 interceptions last season and added two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Malik Slater also joined the fray after a 2016 season that included 32 tackles, a pass breakup, and 0.5 tackles for loss at the linebacker position.

The preseason release comes on the exact day that the Blazers report to camp, where the members of the team are in the process of picking up equipment and finalizing paperwork. Head Coach Kerwin Bell‘s team will take the field for the first time on Friday morning for a helmets-only practice at 8:00 a.m. The opening week will continue with another helmets-only session at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, before the team takes the field at the same time on Sunday morning for an upgraded shells practice.

Another shells session on Monday at 8:30 a.m. sets the stage for the teams’ first practice in full pads, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

Other notable events scheduled to take place prior to the Blazers’ season opener on September 2nd in Albany, Ga. include a student-night scrimmage on August 13th at 7:00 p.m., a faculty and staff appreciation day scrimmage at 9:00 a.m. on August 19th, and the program’s annual Meet the Blazers event on Saturday August 26th at 8:00 a.m. at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. Meet the Blazers is a free event designed for the area youth, who will have an opportunity to play games with and score autographs from the entire Blazer football team and coaching staff.

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