Camels Picked Fifth in PFL Preseason Poll

Kurt Odom
Kurt Odom

ST. LOUIS - Campbell has been picked fifth in the Pioneer Football League's 2012 Preseason Coaches Poll, announced today by the conference office.

"We're excited that people respect our program enough to place us in the middle of the conference," said Campbell head coach Dale Steele. "Every week is a challenge in this conference, as I've said since I came here. On any given week, any team can beat any other team. I think that's also the case going into this year."

Campbell finished 2011 at 6-5 overall and 5-3 in PFL play, marking the program's highest win total since restarting the program in 2008. The Camels led the PFL in rushing for the third straight year (210.45 yards per game), placing 11 on all-conference teams.

San Diego took the top spot in the poll, receiving eight of 10 first place votes for 79 points. Drake, which also took a first place vote, was slotted second with 71 points, while Jacksonville was slated third with 65 tallies.

Dayton was also given a first place vote, and posted 56 points for fourth in the poll. Marist (6th, 42 points), Butler (7th, 34), Morehead State (8th, 27), Davidson (9th, 20) and Valparaiso (10th, 11) rounded out the poll.

"There are a number of good football teams that could be right in the mix with certain breaks and other variables that happen over the course of the season," said Steele. "This could easily change during the year through the week to week conference schedule. We're excited to get started."

The Camels return nine total starters, including five on the defensive side, led by 2011 All-PFL performers Brandon Chandler and Steth Monroe.

Chandler, a Second Team All-PFL selection in 2011 and two-time All-Conference Honorable Mention honoree, totaled 50 tackles for the season, adding a pair of interceptions and a team-best 814 all purpose yards.

Monroe earned Honorable Mention All-Pioneer Football League honors in 2011, and was named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) preseason Defensive Back Award watch list in June. The senior led the league with 15 passes defensed last season, adding four interceptions, good for second in the league. Monroe also recorded 4.5 tackles per game to rank among his position's leaders in the category.

Redshirt junior linebacker Mike Rudisill was a First Team Academic All-PFL and CoSIDA Academic All-District III First Team member last season, collecting 48 tackles, 5.5 for loss and two sacks for the year.

Senior quarterback Braden Smith, a two-time Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week last season and 2012 PFL Academic Honor Roll member, also returns. Smith passed for several school single season records in his first season as a Camels with 1,965 yards, 14 touchdowns, 179 completions, 313 attempts and total offense at 2,254 yards.

Junior running back Kurt Odom collected 534 all purpose yards as a sophomore in 2011, also earning First Team Academic All-PFL, CoSIDA Academic All-District III and PFL Academic Honor Roll honors. The Robbinsville, N.C. native registered 288 yards rushing, 57 receiving and 176 yards returning kicks.

Senior Daniel Ritter, a senior from Ramseur, N.C., will anchor the CU offensive line. Ritter started six games as a junior in 2011 before a season-ending injury, helping the Camels to 1,194 yards and nine touchdowns rushing in the Camels' first six games.

The Camels will kickoff the 2012 football season on Thursday night, Aug. 30, under the lights at Barker-Lane Stadium against Shorter. Campbell will begin its 2012 PFL slate at Butler on Sept. 22.

The PFL will announce its preseason all-conference team tomorrow. 

2012 PFL Preseason Coaches Poll


Team (1st Place Votes)


1. San Diego (8)


2. Drake (1)


3. Jacksonville


4. Dayton (1)


5. Campbell


6. Marist


7. Butler


8. Morehead State


9. Davidson


10. Valparaiso


- Nine points awarded for a first-place vote, with one point less for each succeeding place.

- Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.