EMORY, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Football Team has been picked to finish fifth in the 2012 Old Dominion Athletic Conference regular season, ODAC officials announced today. The head football coaches in the league are the voters on the poll.
Recent Prestonsburg High School graduate Alex Garner is headed into his first season with the Emory & Henry football program. Garner signed with Emory & Henry in the spring.
Emory & Henry, led by eighth-year Head Coach Don Montgomery, features standouts on both sides of the ball, led by reigning ODAC Defensive Player of the Year, senior linebacker Devan Sproles (Norton, Va.). A preseason First-Team All-America pick by three different outlets, Sproles led the league in tackles last season with 107 and picked off six passes, including three in the season finale against Guilford.
Also returning on defense are senior defensive backs Anthony Jones (Bristol, Va.) and Daniel Woods (Bristol, Va.), who missed last season due to an injury. Junior defensive backs Jason Hill (Hickory, N.C.) and Tyler Houk (Galax, Va.) round out the secondary. Joining Sproles at linebacker are senior Ross Ellis (Abingdon, Va.) and junior Paul Forney (Newton, N.C.). The Wasps will have a mixture of youth and experience at the defensive front, with junior Cole Beyeler (Stuarts Draft, Va.) anchoring at nose tackle.
The offense is led by junior signal-caller Kyle Boden (Knoxville, Tenn.) and returns nine starters from a season ago. Boden was 256-of-398 on the year for 2,569 yard and 21 touchdowns. The Karns HS graduate set the school record for pass completions and attempts in a season and is second in passing yards in a season.
Though the offensive line has only one senior projected to start this fall, there is a wealth of experience among the E&H front five. Senior and captain Josh Settlemyre (Old Fort, N.C.) will lead the way for the Wasps this year at right guard. Sophomore Joe Vaughn (Gate City, Va.) and senior Zack Santolla (Roanoke, Va.) are set to start at tailback and fullback, respectively.
Emory & Henry will rely on a group of talented receivers this year after changing up their offensive scheme a year ago. Seniors DaVon Ross (Glen Wilton, Va.) and Corey Ware (Buchanan, Va.) bring a wealth of experience to the position while juniors Chad Williams (Elkton, Va.) and Ryan Short (Bridgewater, Va.) and sophomore Lucas Kirby (Covington, Va.) will also make an impact for the Wasps.
Hampden-Sydney College is picked first with 46 points and four first-place votes while Randolph-Macon College is close behind with 44 points and three first-place nods. Washington and Lee University was chosen third and received the remaining first-place pick.
Bridgewater College is fourth in the poll while Emory & Henry is fifth and The Catholic University of America stands sixth. Rounding out the order are Guilford College and Shenandoah University, tying for seventh place.
Emory & Henry will begin the 2012 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 when it travels to Ferrum College to take on the Panthers. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.