The Mercer Bears were picked by the media and coaches to finish 5th in the Southern Conference at the Conference's annual football media day today.

With 11 first place votes in the media poll and seven in the coaches' poll, Wofford was selected as the consensus team to win the SoCon in the 2017 season.

The Citadel, Samford, Chattanooga and Mercer rounded out the top five in both polls.

The fifth-place finish is Mercer's second-highest predicted finish in their four years in the SoCon.

Seven players, a school record, were also selected for the conference's preseason teams.

Senior offensive lineman Thomas Marchman, redshirt junior tight end Sam Walker and junior kicker Cole Fisher were named to the preseason All-SoCon first team while junior wide receiver Marquise Irvin, senior offensive lineman Caleb Yates, redshirt junior defensive lineman Isaiah Buehler and senior return specialist Chandler Curtis were named to the preseason All-SoCon second team.

The seven players selected topped last year's school record of six and ranked third in the SoCon. Chattanooga (10) and Wofford (8) were the only teams with more players selected to the preseason All-SoCon teams.

Devlin Hodges, a redshirt junior quarterback from Samford, was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. Senior defensive back Kailik Williams from the Citadel was selected as the defensive player of the year.

Mercer kicks off the 2017 season on August 31 at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville at Five Star Stadium. Tickets are available here.

2017 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll

TEAM (First-Place Votes)

  1. Wofford (11)
  2. The Citadel (6)
  3. Samford (3)
  4. Chattanooga (2)
  5. Mercer
  6. Furman
  7. Western Carolina
  8. East Tennessee State
  9. VMI

2017 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll

TEAM (First-place votes)

  1. Wofford (7)
  2. The Citadel (2)
  3. Samford
  4. Chattanooga
  5. Mercer
  6. Western Carolina
  7. Furman
  8. East Tennessee State
  9. VMI

All-SoCon Teams

First-Team Offense

  • QB: Devlin Hodges, Redshirt Junior, Samford
  • RB: Cam Jackson, Senior, The Citadel
  • RB: Detrez Newsome, Senior, Western Carolina
  • OL: Tyler Davis, Junior, The Citadel
  • OL: Matthew Schmidt, Senior, Furman
  • OL: Thomas Marchman, Senior, Mercer
  • OL: Josh Cardiello, Senior, Chattanooga
  • OL: Roo Daniels, Senior, Wofford
  • TE: Sam Walker, Redshirt Junior, Mercer
  • WR: Kelvin McKnight, Junior, Samford
  • WR: Terryon Robinson, Redshirt Senior, Western Carolina

First-Team Defense

  • DL: Ahmad Gooden, Redshirt Junior, Samford
  • DL: Isaiah Mack, Junior, Chattanooga
  • DL: Miles Brown, Junior, Wofford
  • DL: Tyler Vaughn, Senior, Wofford
  • LB: Shaheed Salmon, Senior, Samford
  • LB: Dale Warren, Senior, Chattanooga
  • LB: Allan Cratsenberg, Senior, VMI
  • LB: Datavious Wilson, Sophomore, Wofford
  • DB: Kailik Williams, Senior, The Citadel
  • DB: Omari Williams, Senior, Samford
  • DB: Lucas Webb, Senior, Chattanooga
  • DB: Devin Watson, Junior, Wofford

First-Team Specialists

  • PK: Cole Fisher, Junior, Mercer
  • P: Ian Berryman, Redshirt Junior, Western Carolina
  • RS: Detrez Newsome, Senior, Western Carolina

Second-Team Offense

  • QB: Alejandro Bennifield, Senior, Chattanooga
  • RB: Antonio Wilcox, Senior, Furman
  • RB: Richardre Bagley, Senior, Chattanooga
  • OL: Alex Rios, Senior, ETSU
  • OL: Caleb Yates, Senior, Mercer
  • OL, Malcolm White, Sophomore, Chattanooga
  • OL: Nathan Dalton, Redshirt Junior, Western Carolina
  • OL: Ross Demmel, Junior, Wofford
  • TE: Chandler Gouger, Senior, Wofford
  • WR: Marquise Irvin, Junior, Mercer
  • WR: James Stovall, Senior, Chattanooga

Second-Team Defense

  • DL: Ken Allen, Junior, The Citadel
  • DL: Jonathan King, Senior, The Citadel
  • DL: Jaylan Reid, Redshirt Junior, Furman
  • DL: Isaiah Buehler, Redshirt Junior, Mercer
  • DL: Taylor Reynolds, Senior, Chattanooga
  • LB: Myles Pierce, Senior, The Citadel
  • LB: Dylan Weigel, Redshirt Junior, ETSU
  • LB: Ryan Francis, Redshirt Senior, VMI
  • DB: Aaquil Annoor, Junior, Furman
  • DB: Trevor Wright, Senior, Chattanooga
  • DB: Greg Sanders, Senior, VMI

Second-Team Specialists

  • PK: JJ Jerman, Junior, ETSU
  • P: Austin Barnard, Redshirt Senior, Samford
  • RS: Chandler Curtis, Senior, Mercer