From Post staff reports
LEBANON -- Cumberland University opened camp Wednesday morning with 120 players after hearing the team is ranked 19th nationally in the NAIA Football Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll.
The Bulldogs were ranked in seven Top 25 polls last season, including 23rd at the end of the regular season. Cumberland is one of three Mid-South Conference teams ranked in the Top 25, with Georgetown College rated ninth and the University of the Cumberlands ranked 16th.
CU returns 13 starters and 37 letterwinners from last years 8-3 club, just the third eight-win season since the program was revived in 1990.
Six starters and seven other players who saw significant action return for a defense that led the Mid-South Conference and ranked in the Top 10 nationally in almost every statistical category, including All-Conference players Stephon Ransom and Ben Miller at linebacker and cornerbacks Allant McLemore and Chris Simpson.
The offensive line returns almost completely intact for sixth-year head coach Dewayne Alexander along with running back Lemeco Miller, who amassed 1,291 all-purpose yards last season.
Redshirt freshman Reed Gurchiek, who was injured in the 2010 season opener at Austin Peay, begins fall camp as the starting quarterback.
Cumberland was ranked 18th in the Victory Sports Network Preseason Poll while Ransom was recognized as a Preseason All-American by Consensus Draft Services. Ransom, punt returner Daniel Dayton and punter Tyler Emmetts were all named top players at their positions by the Victory Sports Network heading into the 2011 campaign.
Season tickets on sale -- Season and single-game tickets for the 2011 Cumberland University football season are now on sale. New chairback season tickets will cost $200 per seat in 2011, with half of the fee serving as a personal seat license. Season ticket prices will reduce to $100 per seat in 2012.
General admission season tickets are $30; single game general admission tickets will be $10 per game; $8 tickets for senior citizens. Children 10 and under are admitted free for all Cumberland athletic events. A season pass may also be purchased for $150, allowing fans general admission to all CU home events.
Fans may purchase season tickets or a season pass by calling Jo Jo Freeman at 615-548-1350.