Aug. 22, 2011
NAPERVILLE, Ill. - UC Davis senior place kicker Sean Kelley has been named Great West Conference Special Teams Preseason Co-Player of the Year as voted on by the league coaches. Southern Utah's Brad Sorensen, Cal Poly's Asa Jackson and North Dakota's Brett Cameron were also named Preseason Players of the Year. The selections were announced by the conference office on Monday.
Cameron and Kelley share GWC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year honors. Kelley, a senior place kicker from Clovis, Calif., is a three-time all-conference honoree. As a freshman in 2008, he led the league in field goals (10-13, .769) and was perfect on 42 PAT. As a junior, Kelley hit 80 percent of his field goal attempts (12-15), including a career-best 52-yard strike in a win vs. Cal Poly, and last season he set career highs for field goals made (13) and attempted (17) en route to 65 points while successful on all but one of 27 PAT attempts.
Sorensen picked up the GWC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honor as the top returning passer in the FCS ranks in completions per game with an average of 23.73 last season. The junior from Grand Terrace, Calif., is on the Payton Award Watch List and has been tabbed a preseason All-America by numerous publications. Sorensen threw for 21 touchdowns and a school-record 3,231 yards in 2010 while leading the Thunderbirds to their first Great West Conference championship and earning consensus first-team all-GWC honors at the quarterback position.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Jackson, a senior from Sacramento, Calif., is on the Buchanan Award Watch List and was listed as one of the top 10 returning defensive backs for the 2011 season by The Sports Network. The three-time All-GWC first team selection will start at cornerback for the fourth straight year this fall. He had 55 tackles (40 solo), two interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2010 and averaged 12.6 yards on 17 punt returns.
As a sophomore for the Fighting Sioux, Cameron averaged 39.9 yards on 74 punts on his way to Great West honorable mention accolades in 2010. The junior from Winnipeg, Manitoba, had seven 50-plus yard punts, including a season-long 65-yarder at Cal Poly, and pinned 24 punts inside the 20-yard line last season.
The 2011 GWC football season gets underway on September 1, when North Dakota hosts Drake and UC Davis travels to Arizona State for Thursday night contests. The remaining conference teams open their seasons on Saturday, September 3, when South Dakota travels to Air Force, Southern Utah plays at South Dakota State and Cal Poly travels to San Diego State.