Southeast Missouri senior linebacker Zach Hall was named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and the Redhawks were picked second in this year's OVC Preseason Poll.
Hall led a group of six Preseason All-OVC selections for SEMO. Senior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, senior wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, senior defensive tackle Clarence Thornton, senior outside linebacker Justin Swift and junior defensive back Bydarrius Knighten also claimed Preseason All-OVC accolades.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Hall is coming off a massive 2018 campaign. He won the Buck Buchanan and Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (ADA) National Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2018. Hall finished the year with a SEMO single-season record and FCS leading 168 tackles. He also added 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, a blocked kick and a safety. Hall ranked 13th in the nation in forced fumbles (0.31 per game).
SEMO, which tallied 115 points and secured four first-place votes in the OVC Predicted Order of Finish that is selected by the league's Head Football Coaches and Communication Directors. For the sixth-straight year and eighth time in the past 10 years, Jacksonville State has been picked the preseason favorite. The Gamecocks topped the poll with 126 points and 14 first-place nods. SEMO wrecked the Gamecocks 36-game conference winning streak last season.
SEMO kicks off its 2019 season against longtime rival Southern Illinois on Thursday, Aug. 29. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m., CT, at Houck Field.
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