Buies Creek – Campbell has been voted fifth in the 2016 Pioneer Football League preseason coaches’ poll.
San Diego was picked to win the league’s regular season race for the sixth-consecutive year.
San Diego, which shared the 2015 regular-season title with Dayton, was followed by the Flyers in polling. San Diego and Dayton combined to receive all available first-place votes. Coaches could not vote for their own team.
A group of six teams – separated by only 15 points – were bunched behind the lead duo. Drake was picked third, followed closely by Morehead State and Campbell. Marist was picked sixth and was followed by Butler and Jacksonville.
Stetson was given a ninth-place nod with Valparaiso and Davidson rounding out the preseason poll.
Campbell kicks off the 2016 season Thursday night, September 1, hosting Bluefield at Barker-Lane Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Campbell returns seven offensive and five defensive starters, as well as 32 total letterwinners from 2015.
The Camels ranked fifth in the nation in total defense in 2015 (279.3 per game), standing third in team sacks per game (3.55) and ninth in scoring defense (17.7). The team shattered program records for all three categories, adding single season marks for tackles for loss (85.0) and total sacks (38.0).
Leading all returners is senior running back De’Shawn Jones, who topped the PFL in rushing with 1,072 yards, adding eight touchdowns. He ran for 100-plus yards four times on the way to First Team All-PFL honors. The junior, who is already Campbell’s all-time rushing leader (1,991), reset his own CU single game school record with 201 yards in a three TD performance at Davidson.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jack Ryan also returns after being named the PFL’s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. The Matthews, N.C. native totaled 66 tackles, ranking sixth among FCS freshmen, with 11.0 stops for loss, including 2.0 sacks and two interceptions.