JMU Picked To Win Sun Belt East, Land 4 On All-SBC Teams

Jul 24, 2023 Updated 1 hr ago
Leading up to its inaugural Sun Belt Conference season last year, James Madison wasn’t content with its preseason poll selection: sixth in the East.
But that feeling isn’t in the air this time around as the Dukes found themselves in the opposite scenario — East Division favorite — on Monday afternoon.
JMU was picked to win its division by the league’s coaches and select media in its annual preseason poll. The Dukes finished with four first-place votes, which tied Appalachian State, but the purple and gold surpassed the Mountaineers via total points.
Coastal Carolina was picked to finish third, while Marshall, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Old Dominion rounded out the East Division projection. Troy was selected to win the West Division with South Alabama not far behind in second — both teams JMU will face in the 2023 campaign.
Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while ODU linebacker Jason Henderson earned the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors.
In addition to being the conference’s favorite to win the division, JMU landed four players on the preseason all-conference teams — up from one last July (wide receiver Kris Thornton)
Defensive lineman James Carpenter, offensive lineman Nick Kidwell and punter Ryan Hanson were first-team picks, while linebacker Taurus Jones garnered second-team honors.
Carpenter and Kidwell were second team All-Sun Belt selection at the conclusion of last season, while Jones was an honorable mention. Hanson was previously a third team selection in 2021 while he was at Arkansas State.
JMU will appear at the Sun Belt’s media days on Wednesday and will hit the podium at 1:30 CT/2:30 ET inside the Sheraton New Orleans. Coach Curt Cignetti will be joined by Carpenter and Kidwell for the annual preseason festivities.

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