ROCK HILL - Seven players from the Newberry College Wolves have been named to the 2012 preseason all-South Atlantic Conference teams, as announced by the league office Tuesday.
Running back John Gadson, offensive lineman Lequawn James, linebacker Apollo Stretch and defensive back David Davis were named to the first team, while return specialist Jason Livingston, defensive lineman Adim Obata and punter JoJo Morris were named to the second team.
The Wolves were picked third in the league in Monday's preseason coaches' poll and return 15 starters from last year's 4-6 squad. Newberry starts the season on September 1 by hosting Elizabeth City State in the first of four consecutive home games.
Gadson, a junior from North Charleston, is a returning first team all-SAC selection from 2011. Last season he was Newberry's leading rusher and was seventh in the league in yards per game at 60.2 yards per game despite having his season shortened by injury. He had the sixth-longest rushing play in school history with an 81-yard touchdown carry against UNC Pembroke and had two 100-yard games (181 vs. Tusculum, 111 vs. UNC Pembroke).
James, a senior from North, makes his first appearance on an all-SAC list. He is the returning anchor of an offensive line which finished second in the nation for fewest sacks allowed in 2011. He was a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District selection in 2009 and 2011 and will be a candidate for multiple scholar-athlete awards this season.
Stretch, a senior from Columbia, is the most decorated player on this year's roster, coming off of third team All-American honors from the Beyond Sports Network, two all-region nods and first team all-SAC laurels in 2011. Stretch finished as the South Atlantic Conference leader in tackles per game at 10.5 stops per contest and 105 total tackles. He had eight tackles for loss and three sacks. He had double-digit tackle numbers in five of the 10 games, including 17 in the Bishops Trophy game at Lenoir-Rhyne. He averaged 11.1 stops in conference games last year.
Davis, a junior from Columbia, makes the jump from last year's second team. He was the conference leader in interceptions with three picks. He also finished 35th in the conference with 54 tackles (5.3 per game), and was sixth in total passes defended. He had a career day in the season finale vs. Brevard with 12 tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. He also recovered a fumble at Lenoir-Rhyne.
Livingston, a junior from Conway, makes his first appearance on an all-SAC list at return specialist. He was the SAC Special Teams Player of the Week in the season finale after sealing the win over Brevard with a 90-yard kickoff return for a score. Livingston finished second in the South Atlantic Conference individual rankings in both kickoff and punt return average. He averaged 7.7 yards per punt return and 27.1 yards per kickoff return. He is also expected to be one of the Wolves' top receivers this season.
Obata, a senior from Atlanta, Ga., is another all-SAC newcomer. He finished 2011 with 32 total tackles, with five tackles for loss, three sacks and four quarterback hurries from his defensive tackle spot. He is expected to see additional playing time in his final season for the Wolves.
Morris, a senior from Lancaster, rounds out Newberry's preseason all-SAC listing by repeating on the second team. In 2011, Morris was the first Newberry punter to earn all-SAC honors since Jeff Williams was a second team honoree in 2004. In nine games, Morris averaged 40.3 yards per punt, with a career-long 53-yarder in the win against Tusculum. On 56 total punts, he pinned opponents inside their 20-yardline 14 times, had four punts of 50 yards or more, had six touchbacks and seven fair catches. His 40.3 yard average was the sixth-best in school history.