Florida Tech Picked To Finish Fifth In Gulf South By Coaches
By Florida Tech // August 8, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Entering its third season, the Florida Tech football team has been picked to finish fifth in the Gulf South Conference by the GSC member coaches.
The Panthers garnered 17 points in the 2015 GSC Football Preseason Coaches Poll, a mere two points behind fourth place selection Valdosta State. Defending national semifinalist West Georgia tops the poll after receiving five of six first place votes.
“I’ve always said about preseason standings and voting that I think a lot of that is based on the previous year,” said Panther head coach Steve Englehart.
“It’s probably right, West Georgia made it furthest in the playoffs and had a great season last year. It goes down the line, Delta State, North Alabama and Valdosta State all made the playoffs and beat us but we won against West Alabama and Shorter. Coaches tend to vote how things went the year before.”
Although Englehart and the Panthers don’t pay the preseason poll too much mind, he conceded that the recognition from some of the conference’s coaches does mean something.
“Our team isn’t necessarily concerned with preseason rankings but the fact that some teams are voting us in third and fourth place a few times is a tribute to what our players have done over the last three years,” he said.
FIT placed six student-athletes on the 2015 Preseason All-GSC Team, tied for second most in the conference with Delta State and West Georgia.
Following a breakout season, redshirt-sophomore signal caller Mark Cato is the lone quarterback named to the team. Cato also joins West Georgia center Harley Vaughan as the only sophomores selected.
Proving to be one of the most dangerous tight ends in the entire country, Gabe Hughes is the GSC’s only tight end to be recognized after collecting numerous All-American laurels in 2014.
After leading the conference in rushing a season ago, redshirt-junior Trevor Sand is one of three running backs named All-GSC. Sand is joined by one of the key cogs in setting up his rushes, redshirt-senior offensive tackle Matt Garcia.
On the defensive side, redshirt-senior edge rusher J.J. Sanders has been honored after proving himself to be an absolute nuisance to opposing offenses. Redshirt-junior Manny Abad was also named to the team, garnering recognition following a conference-high 12 passes defended in 2014-15.
“Those guys all had great seasons last year,” said Englehart. “Having the other coaches in our conference notice those players is a great honor and I’m sure they are grateful that their hard work has paid off.”
Additionally, the GSC lists four top newcomers from each team for the upcoming season. For FIT, senior linebacker Demetrius Allen, senior receiver T.J. Lowder, junior offensive lineman Cory Sanicky and junior offensive lineman Blake Stone made the cut.
The Panthers open preseason camp next Monday, Aug. 10 at Panther Field next to the Varsity Training Center. The 2015 season will commence in just over a month on Sept. 5 as the Panthers host Newberry at 7 p.m. ET at the newly named Florida Tech Panther Stadium.
Season tickets for the 2015 season are available. Premium season tickets are only $70 for adults and $45 for FIT employees with ID, seniors ages 65 and above and children ages 5-16.
General admission season tickets are $50 for adults and $30 for FIT employees, seniors and children.
Season tickets can be purchased at FloridaTechSports.com, in-person by appointment at the Clemente Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by calling the FIT Ticket Office at 321-674-6228.
For questions on tickets, please call the ticket office at the number listed above or e-mail AthleticsTickets@fit.edu.