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Xavier Jennings
Xavier Jennings of nearby Burns High School in Shelby, was named preseason first team in the Piedmont Division at offensive line.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Picked Third, While Seven Named to Preseason All-SAC

With less than a month until the 2023 kickoff for the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team, the Bears were predicted for a third-place finish in the preseason South Atlantic Conference Coaches’ Poll. Seven players from LR were tabbed as Preseason All-Conference selections.

The Bears trail Newberry and Wingate in the preseason poll and did earn one first place vote. LR accumulated 101 points in the preseason poll after earning a share of the Piedmont Division title in 2022. LR went 8-3 a year ago and finished 7-2 in SAC play while narrowly missing the playoffs.

The Preseason All-SAC was broken down into each division getting a First Team. The Bears had seven on the First Team All-Piedmont Division. Offensively, LR had a pair of offensive linemen in Xavier Jennings and Blake Jefferson earn the nod along with RB Dwayne McGee and WR Kelin Parsons.

On the defensive side of the ball, LR had a trio earn All-Piedmont Defense led by possible SAC Defensive Player of the Year candidate in DL Andre Jefferson. LB Jon Ross Maye and DB C’Darius Kelley join Jefferson and give the Bears a Preseason All-League selection at all three levels on defense.

The Bears kick off the 2023 season on September 2 when St. Augustine’s visits Moretz Stadium.

2023 SAC Football Preseason Poll

Rank School (First Place Votes) Score
1. Newberry (6) 114
2. Wingate (4) 109
3. Lenoir-Rhyne (1) 101
4. Limestone (1) 88
5. Mars Hill 85
6. Tusculum 79
7. Carson-Newman 58
8. Barton 48
9. Emory & Henry 41
10. UVA Wise 33
11. Catawba 22
12. Erskine 14

QB – Dustin Noller, Limestone
RB – Dwayne McGee, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB – Jordan Terrell, Barton
RB – Tre Stewart, Limestone
WR – Jelani Baker, Limestone
WR – Kelin Parsons, Lenoir-Rhyne
WR – Drew Dixon, Limestone
OL – Blake Jefferson, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Noah Mangum, Newberry
OL – Luke Bond, Limestone
OL – Xavier Jennings, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Alex Buschow, Barton
TE – Tommy Washington, Newberry
LS – Blake Arnoult, Newberry
RS – Kujuan Pryor, Catawba


DL – Devante Gambrell, Newberry
DL – Marquise Fleming, Wingate
DL – Malik Devine-Brown, Newberry
DL – Andre Jefferson, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB – Jaquan Edwards, Wingate
LB – Shane Perry, Barton
LB – Jon Ross Maye, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB – Chandler Matthews, Limestone
DB – Tre Morrison, Wingate
DB – C’Darius Kelley, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB – Ahmond Glass, Limestone
DB – Jaheim Mullen, Wingate
P – Bryan Frey, Limestone