Two-time defending champion Monmouth University is the favorite to capture another football title in the 2021 Big South Conference Preseason Poll which was released during media day in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Monmouth won all three of their conference games during an abbreviated spring schedule, losing only to eventual National Champion Sam Houston 21-15 in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs on April 24. They return 21 of 22 starters, including running back Juwon Farri and defensive back Anthony Budd who were each named preseason players of the year.

The Hawks received 16 of 18 possible first-place votes to easily finish at the top of the poll followed by Kennesaw State, newcomer North Carolina A&T and Charleston Southern.  Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Hampton and Robert Morris round out the preseason rankings.

Farri was the Big South Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 520 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns in just four games during the spring.  The 5'10, 195lb redshirt junior is from Germantown, Maryland and was a consensus 2nd team All-American for his performance.

Photo credit to Willis Glasgow

Budd, a fifth year senior from Riverdale, Maryland is a two-time all-league selection who led the Hawks in interceptions and was third in tackles from his safety position.

Photo credit to Willis Glasgow

Farri and Budd are among a record 15 Hawks who were named to the Big South Preseason all-conference team.  On offense quarterback Tony Muskett, tight end Gene Scott, wide receivers Lonnie Moore IV and Terrance Greene Jr. and lineman Justin Szuba, AJ Farris, Manny Christian and Mahmoud Shabana were all saluted. Defensive players recognized were lineman Kahari Scarlett, linebackers Da'Quan Grimes and Eddie Hahn and defensive back Justin Terry.  Also named was long snapper Kent Vines.

Monmouth opens the season on September 4 with a trip to Middle Tennessee State.  Following three consecutive road games the Hawks home opener is September 25 when they host Holy Cross at Kessler Stadium.

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