July 16, 2014
IRVING, Texas - Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler and running back Kenneth Dixon were named to the Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team Wednesday as the league announced its preseason awards and projected order of finish.
The Bulldogs are projected to finish fourth in the league’s West Division this season by a vote of the league’s coaches, ahead of Southern Miss and UTEP.
Butler is expected to move into a starting role this season with the loss of Justin Ellis and Shakeil Lucas to graduation. He registered 41 total tackles last season with 3 tackles for a loss of five yards, three pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. His 41 tackles lead all returning defensive linemen for the Bulldogs.
Dixon played in 10 games but due to injuries only effectively played in eight and still accumulated 917 rushing yards and four touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. His longest run of the year was a 72-yard sprint at UTEP as LA Tech faced 3rd-and-21 on its own one yard line.
North Texas is projected to win the West Division garnering 66 points while Rice closely follows as the Owls garnered 65 points in the predicted order of finish. UTSA received 62 points in what expects to be a closely contested division this fall. LA Tech opens its conference schedule at North Texas on Sept. 11 and closes the regular season at home against Rice on Nov. 29.
In the East Division, Marshall led the way with 91 points followed by Middle Tennessee (73 points) and Florida Atlantic (60). Western Kentucky, who the Bulldogs host on Nov. 1, was slated to finish fourth while newcomer Old Dominion was picked to finish fifth. Louisiana Tech and ODU will face each other for the first time on Nov. 22 in Norfolk, Virginia. LA Tech will face UAB – projected to finish sixth in the East Division – on Nov. 8 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Bulldogs first home game is set for Sept. 20 as Tech will host Northwestern State at Joe Aillet Stadium at 6 p.m.
Season tickets are currently on sale with packages as low as $90. To purchase your season tickets, please contact the LA Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, via email at TechTickets@LATech.edu or online at LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow @LATechFB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
2014 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES PRESEASON AWARDS
Offensive Player of the Year
Rakeem Cato, Sr., QB, Marshall
Defensive Player of the Year
James Rouse, Sr., DL, Marshall
Special Teams Player of the Year
Hunter Mullins, Sr., P, UAB
First Team Offense
QB Rakeem Cato, Sr., Marshall
RB Kenneth Dixon, Jr., Louisiana Tech
RB Aaron Jones, So., UTEP
OL Scott Inskeep, Sr., UTSA
OL Chris Jasperse, Sr., Marshall
OL Cyril Lemon, Sr., North Texas
OL Clint Van Horn, Jr., Marshall
OL Mason Y’Barbo, Sr., North Texas
WR Jamarcus Nelson, Sr., UAB
WR Tommy Shuler, Sr., Marshall
WR Jordan Taylor., Sr., Rice
TE Eric Tomlinson, Sr., UTEP
First Team Defense
DL Vernon Butler, Jr., Louisiana Tech
DL Christian Covington, Jr., Rice
DL Ra’Shawde Myers, Sr., Marshall
DL James Rouse, Sr., Marshall
LB T.T. Barber, Sr., Middle Tennessee
LB Evan McKelvey, Sr., Marshall
LB Andrae Kirk, Jr., Florida Atlantic
DB Kevin Byard, Jr., Middle Tennessee
DB Bryce Callahan, Sr., Rice
DB D’Joun Smith, Sr., Florida Atlantic
DB Triston Wade, Sr., UTSA
First Team Special Teams
K Sean Ianno, Sr., UTSA
P Hunter Mullins, Sr., UAB
KR Autrey Golden, Jr., UTEP
PR Kenny Harrison, Sr., UTSA
LS Jesse Medrano, Sr., UTSA
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
EAST DIVISION Pts
1. Marshall 91
2. Middle Tennessee 73
3. Florida Atlantic 60
4. WKU 57
5. Old Dominion 33
6. UAB 31
7. FIU 19
WEST DIVISION Pts
1. North Texas 66
2. Rice 65
3. UTSA 62
4. Louisiana Tech 38
5. Southern Miss 24
6. UTEP 18