UNA Picked 4th in GSC

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FLORENCE — With just five returning starters from last season, the University of North Alabama football team has been picked to finish fourth in the Gulf South Conference in 2012 in a pre-season poll of the league’s head coaches.

Valdosta State received three first-place votes and 15 overall points to rank as the favorite to win the GSC title. West Alabama was second with two first-place votes and 14 points. Delta State is ranked third with 10 points, followed by North Alabama with six and West Georgia with five.

Bobby Wallace, who is set to begin the first season of his second term as UNA’s head football coach, said the poll doesn’t surprise him.

“Our team has so many new players, I think it is really hard for anyone to gauge where they think we will finish,” Wallace said. “We don’t have a lot of returning starters but we do have quite a few players who didn’t play last year that are very good players and should be differened makers on this team.”

That list includes five projected starters in defensive back Nick Williams, defensive lineman Dominique Duster, offensive lineman Blake Ray, running back Lamonte Thompson and receiver Brian Sutherland.  

UNA had four players selected for the pre-season All-GSC team in junior receiver Jason Smith, senior defensive lineman Dominuque Duster, sophomore defensive lineman Taylor Carney and senior defensive back Rod Woodson. 

Smith, from Gurley, Ala., had 38 catches for 537 yards last season and four touchdowns. He became a deep threat for the Lions, including an 84-yard touchdown reception against Delta State in the NCAA playoffs. 

Duster (6-0. 275), a Florence, Ala., native who missed the 2011 season, was a starter on playoff teams for the Lions in 2009 and 2010. Carney (6-2, 267), from Killen, Ala., was named UNA’s Freshman of the Year a year ago after making 21 tackles in his first season of collegiate football. Woodson (5-11, 199), from Olive Branch, Miss., was a first-team All-GSC pick following the 2011 season. He finished as UNA’s fourth leading tackler with 50 total stops. 

Courtesy: UNA Media Relations

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