No surprise: Valdosta State begins year at No. 1

When you’re the defending national champions and have your starting QB, two 1,000-yard rushers and three starting WRs coming back, then you’re likely going to start the next season at No. 1.

That’s exactly where Valdosta State will begin this season.

The Blazers, who won their final 10 games on the way to the Division II national title last year, are the No. 1 team in the American Football Coaches Association preseason poll, released Monday.

Valdosta State, which went 12-2 last year, received

Valdosta State and coach David Dean will begin the season where they ended last year: At No. 1. (Photo by Marvin Gentry / US PRESSWIRE)

Valdosta State and coach David Dean will begin the season where they ended last year: At No. 1. (Photo by Marvin Gentry / US PRESSWIRE)

26 of the 32 first-place votes for 766 points to beat out Minnesota State-Mankato, which had three firsts and 726 points. West Texas A&M, which had one first , was third at 707 points. Northwest Missouri State also had a first and 616 points for fourth and Winston-Salem State, which lost to Valdosta State in last year’s national title game, was fifth with 599 points.

The 2013 season marks the third time in the history of the poll that the Blazers will open the season at No. 1 and is the 21st time overall that VSU has been tabbed the top team in the country. The 21 weeks in the top spot are second-most among all NCAA Division II teams since the poll began prior to the 2000 season.

Fort Valley State earned four votes, but isn’t ranked.

Valdosta State has many offensive weapons.

  • QB Cayden Cochran enters this season with 3,658 career passing yards and 34 career TD passes (both eighth in school history), despite only 16 career starts. Cochran threw 26 TD passes and rushed for 11 TDs in 2012.
  • RB Cedric O’Neal had 1,198 yards rushing and 14 TDs.
  • RB Austin Scott had 1,030 yards rushing and nine scores.
  • WR Gerald Ford caught 69 passes for 1,026 yards and 13 TDs despite missing a game.
  • WR Seantavious Jones had 51 catches for 922 yards and 13 scores.
  • WR Regginald Lewis had 58 catches for 736 yards and four TDs.

On a downside for the Blazers, they have to replace all five offensive linemen.

14 comments Add your comment

Dylan W

August 19th, 2013
8:59 pm

Great Coach, super players go #1 Blazers…..

carl

August 19th, 2013
9:46 pm

GO BLAZERS!!!!!!!

shankit

August 20th, 2013
9:33 am

Winnersville Valdosta

FootballTopFan(c)

August 20th, 2013
3:10 pm

FootballTopFan(c) would like to CONGRATULATE the Valdosta State University Blazers for winning the Division ll National Football Championship !!!

To be the TOP team in Division ll is quite an accomplishment that will live in the hearts of VSU fans forever.

The American Football Coaches Association made a wise selection in voting them #1 in their preseason poll.

The Blazers under Coach David Dean have the potential to repeat as champions.

FootballTopFan(c) wish the Valdosta State Blazers the best of luck and success in 2013.

SportsTopFan(c)

August 20th, 2013
4:10 pm

The Tuskegee Golden Tigers are the winningest Black College football program in the United States of America !!!

They will play the Winston-Salem Rams at First Energy Stadium – Home of the Cleveland Browns – in one of the most highly anticipated HBCU match-up of the season.

Winston-Salem went 14-1 last seasom losing only to Valdosta State in the National Championship.

It was the most wins in a season ever by an HBCU school.

The Golden Tigers who have won 634 football games will be a MONSTER new player in Division ll college football playoffs.

ILOVEUGA

August 20th, 2013
5:51 pm

Nice article – GO BLAZERS!!!

HotDawg

August 20th, 2013
8:52 pm

HotDawg

August 20th, 2013
8:55 pm

Valdosta high school is the real football team down there.

GATA!

August 20th, 2013
10:57 pm

News on Valdosta State?! Really? All Georgia Southern has done in the last 12 months is jumped to the FBS, made plans to expand its stadium to the tune of over $30 million, and be pre-season SOCON #1 ranked favorites among other notable news events. Why does the AJC refuse to acknowledge a school that enrolls thousands from the metro-Atlanta area year after year? I guess you’ll have to do a story about these Eagles when we beat Ga. Tech next year right in your own back yard!!! Congrats to Valdosta State by the way. Not for your pre-season ranking, but because you actually got some print recognition in the AJC.

Tater Tot

August 21st, 2013
4:43 am

Go Vikings !!!…….Go Blazers !!……………. Go Dawgs !!!!………… Go Falcons !!!

Valdosta native in Dallas,Texas

Andy Johnston

August 21st, 2013
10:11 am

GATA, I hope to hit all of the state schools in this blog throughout this season. You should see a strong state presence here, including Georgia Southern.

Viking fan

August 21st, 2013
10:18 am

Sorry Hotdawg!
The Wildcats are the third team in town.
————————————————————
Yes, Georgia Southern is also #1 and deserves some print from AJC. 2nd biggest school in State per students.

Viking fan

August 21st, 2013
10:19 am

good job Andy…thanks.

Thomas

August 25th, 2013
6:30 pm

Excellent coverage. With VSU being the state’s only defending national champion and only pre-season #1, it is well deserved. Hope the coverage of in-state teams other than UGA and GT continues and expands.