BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern football team is set to kick off its 2012 campaign at home on Saturday, taking on LaGrange College at 1 p.m. in Panther Stadium.
The Panthers are 2-2 all-time against LaGrange after defeating LC 28-7 last season in LaGrange, Ga.
Returning to the field after the most successful season since the program's reinstatement five years ago, the 2012 Panther Football team returns 15 starters to this year's squad and is ranked 23rd in thenation in Lindy's Magazine's preseason Top 25, and 24th in D3football.com's preseason poll.
On offense, one of the team's key returners is senior tailback Shawn Morris, who was named First-Team All-America last season by D3football.com, and Second-Team Little All-America by the Associated Press. Morris was also the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Offensive Player-of-the-Year as well as First-Team All-Conference. In just nine games last season, he rushed 1,449 yards, averaging 161 yards a game and 8.6 yards per carry. He also led the team with 17 catches for 131 yards.
Heading into 2012, Morris has been named D3football.com Preseason First-Team All-America as well as Division III Preseason MVP by Lindy's.
Leading the offense will be senior quarterback Jimmy Stainback, who was named Second-Team All-Conference last year. He completed 94 passes in 157 attempts (.599) for 1,051 yards, and also rushed for 506 yards.
Other All-Conference players returning are senior right tackle Drew Reece, who earned First-Team All-SCAC accolades last year, as well as senior safety Andrew Shannon, who was also a First-Team selection and a D3football.com All-Region honoree. Shannon recorded 41 tackles, including five tackles-for-loss, last year, with four interceptions, three pass-breakups, a forced fumble and a touchdown.