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Eagles ranked No. 7
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STATESBORO — Georgia Southern Football team was ranked seventh in a newly released Lindy’s Football Magazine 2012 preseason Football Championship Subdivision top-25 poll.
For the second straight season the Eagles were ranked in the preseason top 10 and are one of three Southern Conference teams in this year’s top 10. SoCon rival Appalachian State was ranked sixth and Wofford is No. 10, according to Sam Houston State is No. 1 on the list.
GSU finished third in the final 2011 FCS coaches poll and fourth in the Sports Network/ poll after their second straight FCS semifinal run, losing to eventual national champion North Dakota State. The Eagles finished 2011 with an 11-3 record and won their ninth Southern Conference title with a 7-1 league record.
The Eagles return eight starters on offense, including SoCon freshman of the year Dominique Swope, who rushed for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. Swope tallied 165 yards on the ground against Wofford to help Georgia Southern lock up the SoCon Title and followed that up with a 255-yard performance in the FCS playoff opener against Old Dominion.
The Eagle defense returns seven starters, including All-American defensive tackle Brent Russell, who was fourth on the team with 67 tackles.  Russell was third in the league with 16.5 tackles for loss and posted 6.5 sacks on the year.
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