SALEM, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference hosted its annual football media day on Tuesday afternoon at the Salem Civic Center. Washington and Lee was picked to finish second in the league's preseason coaches poll, which was unveiled at the event.
Bridgewater was selected as the top team after receiving 45 points and five first-place votes. The Generals received two first-place votes and 42 points and were followed by Guilford (33), Emory & Henry (28), Hampden-Sydney (26), Catholic (13) and Randolph-Macon (9).
Washington and Lee ended Bridgewater's run of five-straight conference titles last season, when it claimed its first ODAC Championship since 1985. The Generals went 7-4 overall and 5-1 in league play, earning a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history. W&L returns 15 starters and 31 letterwinners from last season's team. Included in that total are nine defensive starters, including the team's top five tacklers from a year ago.
Headlining the list of returnees are senior cornerback Mark Snoddy (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster), senior linebacker Bryant Fulk (Oceanside, Calif./St. Augustine), senior wide receiver Jack Martin (Clayton, Mo./Hun School) and sophomore quarterback R.J. Varner (Birmingham, Ala./Spain Park).
Snoddy earned First Team All-ODAC honors and was named the Roanoke Times Virginia Division II-III Defensive Player of the Year and runner-up for the Dudley Award (Virginia Division II-III Player of the Year) following a tremendous junior campaign. Snoddy ranked sixth nationally with nine interceptions and set the school's career interception record (17) in the process.
Fulk, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end, was named First Team All-ODAC and the Virginia Division II-III Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Richmond. He totaled 72 tackles, including a team-high 14.5 tackles for a loss, to go along with 6.0 sacks.
Martin, a preseason All-America selection, completed the 2006 season with 32 catches for 583 yards and nine touchdowns. He tallied 70 passes for a school-record 1,353 yards and a school-record 15 receiving touchdowns as a sophomore when he finished second in Division III in receiving yards per game. He enters his senior campaign with 111 catches for 2,060 yards and 25 touchdowns. He needs 51 catches and 253 yards to become W&L's all-time leader for catches and yards. He has an 18.6 career yard per catch average, also among the best all-time.
Varner was the ODAC Rookie of the Year a season ago when he completed 61.0 percent of his passes for 1,101 yards and eight touchdowns. Had he played in enough games to qualify for the ODAC stats, Varner would have ranked second in the conference in passing efficiency.
Washington and Lee opens its 2007 season on September 8 when it hosts Franklin & Marshall for a 1:00 pm contest.
-- GENERALS --