|by Brent Harris • August 3, 2011|
The Little Giants were picked to finish second in 2011 by the North Coast Athletic Conference football coaches in the league's annual preseason poll. Wittenberg edged Wabash by one point the poll to take the top spot.
Wabash and Wittenberg each received four of the nine first-place votes from the coaches. Wooster, the Little Giants' opening game opponent, garnered the other top pick. Wittenberg scored a total of 74 points, one more than Wabash's total of 73. The Fighting Scots were third with 66 points, followed by Allegheny (56), Denison (37), Ohio Wesleyan (34), Oberlin (32), Hiram (19), and Kenyon (14).
The Little Giants return 17 starters and 54 varsity letter winners from their 8-2 team in 2010. Three All-Americans — NCAC Defensive Player of the Year CJ Gum (left), offensive lineman Weston Kitley, and special teams star Jonathon Koop — are back on the Wabash roster, along with 2009 All-American return specialist and All-NCAC wide receiver Wes Chamblee. Chamblee missed nearly the entire 2010 season after suffering a knee injury in the opening contest against Wooster.
Quarterbacks Tyler Burke and Chase Belton are also back after splitting time at that position last season. The duo combined for 2,451 passing and 541 rushing yards. Jonathan Horn topped the receivers' list with 59 catches for 1,012 yards and eight TDs.
Wabash opens the 2011 campaign September 10 at Wooster, followed by the home opener September 17 against Ohio Wesleyan. Wittenberg and Wabash will meet on November 5 in Crawfordsville. The Tigers handed Wabash its only loss in conference play in 2010 with a 34-17 in Springfield.