After winning six of its final eight games of the 2015 season to finish with a 6-4 mark, Fairmont State is picked to finished fifth in the 2016 Mountain East Conference Preseason Poll.
The Falcons tallied 58 points in the votes casted by the MEC coaches, finishing tied with Notre Dame College in the fifth slot.
Fairmont State returns 15 starters in 2016, including five that earned all-conference honors. The Falcons welcome back six starters on offense, including one of the top quarterback-wide receivers duo in the league in Cooper Hibbs and Fabian Guerra. Hibbs and Guerra continue to climb the school’s all-time leaderboards for passing and receiving as they enter their senior campaign.
On defense, the Falcons return nine of 11 starters from 2015, including four that earned All-MEC postseason honors. Cornerback Jacob Jean-Charles was the lone FSU player to earn first team all-conference honors, finishing second on the team in tackles (52) and pass break-ups (6).
Leading tackler Marcus Porter returns in the linebacker core for the Falcons along with defensive lineman Quincy Redmon, who finished last season with 14.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Porter and Redmon both earned second team All-MEC honors following the 2015 season. Starting safety Emanuel Ivey also returns in 2016 after racking up 43 tackles and earning MEC honorable mention.
The Shepherd Rams have been picked to win the 2016 Mountain East Conference football title after a vote conducted by the league’s coaches. Shepherd received 99 points and was picked to finish first on nine of the 11 ballots.
The Rams were followed closely in the poll by the University of Charleston. The Golden Eagles finished with 92 points and the remaining two first-place votes. Both Shepherd and UC represented the MEC in the NCAA Playoffs in 2015.
Concord was chosen third with 74 points, followed in a pack by Glenville State (61), Fairmont State (58), Notre Dame (58), West Liberty (55) and West Virginia State (49). West Virginia Wesleyan (23), Urbana (18) and UVa-Wise (18) rounded out the poll.