July 10, 2012. Led by first-team honorees Jeremy Kimbrough (Decatur, Ga./Cedar Grove) and Demetrius McCray (Covington, Ga./Newton), three Appalachian State University football student-athletes were named to The Sports Network’s preseason all-America teams on Monday.
In addition to Kimbrough and McCray anchoring the first-team defense, punter Sam Martin (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill) received third-team recognition. Appalachian State is one of four programs with two representatives on the first team while the Mountaineers’ three total honorees are tied for third nationwide.
Kimbrough is the anchor of Appalachian’s defense at middle linebacker, where he earned first-team all-American accolades from College Sports Journal, second-team recognition from The Sports Network and Phil Steele Publications and was an honorable-mention selection by College Sporting News as a junior last season. The 5-11, 240-pounder led the Apps and ranked fifth in the Southern Conference with 105 tackles last season and was one of only two SoCon players to rank among the league’s top 11 in tackles, tackles for loss (12) and sacks (4) in 2011.
McCray was a fourth-team all-America selection by Phil Steele Publications last season after leading the SoCon and tying for eight nationally with five interceptions as a junior. He also tied for 12th nationally with 14 passes defended and ranked fifth on the team with 48 tackles in his first season as a full-time starter at right cornerback.
Martin ranked 27th nationally a year ago with a 40.9-yard punting average despite battling nagging injuries throughout the campaign. In addition to boasting a strong leg, hang time and accuracy are the forte of the fifth-year senior, who has had 38 percent of his punts fair caught, 33 percent downed inside the 20 yard line and only 19 percent returned over the course of his career.
Appalachian opens preseason practice on Aug. 3 in preparation for the Sept. 1 season opener at East Carolina. The Mountaineers open the home portion of their schedule the following week with a highly anticipated NCAA Division I FCS intersectional showdown versus Montana.