The Monmouth University football team was selected fifth in the Big South preseason poll, league officials announced at Big South Media Day on Thursday. The Hawks enter their first season in the Big South Conference in 2014.

Monmouth Hawk (Monmouth Athletics)

Coastal Carolina and Liberty tied for the conference title in 2013, and both were chosen atop the 2014 preseason poll. The Chanticleers received 14 first-place votes and were chosen to win the league again, while Liberty garnered four first-place votes and were selected to finish second. Charleston Southern was picked third and Gardner-Webb was chosen fourth ahead of fifth place Monmouth, who earned 32 points in its inaugural preseason poll. Presbyterian was slotted to finish sixth.

Coastal Carolina’s junior quarterback Alex Ross and senior linebacker Quinn Backus were named Preseason Big South Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.

Monmouth, who played last season as an independent, returns 13 starters, including seven on offense and six on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, K.B. Asante (Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake/WVU) returns at running back after rushing for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago and Neal Sterling (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan), who is third all-time in receptions and touchdowns, is back at wide receiver. The defensive line will see the return of rising sophomore Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard), who compiled 7.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman, and senior captain Pat O’Hara (Souderton, Pa./Lansdale Catholic), who had seven tackles for loss in 2013.

The Hawks open preseason camp on Sunday, August 3 with the season opener scheduled for August 30 at 1:00 p.m. against Delaware State at Monmouth Stadium. Hear every game on Newstalk WOBM AM 1160 and 1310 and online at

2014 Big South Conference Preseason Poll

1: Coastal Carolina (14)
2: Liberty (4)
3: Charleston Southern
4: Gardner-Webb
5: Monmouth
6: Presbyterian

Greg Viscomi is the Assistant Athletics Director at Monmouth University