Jonathan Spain: Courtesy Elon Athletics
Written By Elon Sports Information Dept.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Led by first-team selection Jonathan Spain at linebacker, the Elon Phoenix football team had four players named to the preseason All-Southern Conference teams as announced at the league's annual media day on Wednesday, July 24.
Spain was joined by second-team selections Clay Johnson (senior offensive lineman), Kierre Brown (junior wide receiver) and Chandler Wrightenberry (senior defensive back).
A Greensboro, N.C., native, Spain was a second-team all-conference honoree as a sophomore.
In 2012 he led the team and ranked third in the league with 120 total tackles, the fourth-highest single-season total in Elon's NCAA Division I history.
His 10.91 tackles per game rated 12th nationally. Spain added 5.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks. With his 20 tackles against Samford, Spain became the first Phoenix player since 2006 to notch a 20-tackle game. He added 16 stops at No. 10 Georgia Southern and tallied at least 10 tackles in each of Elon's final eight games of the 2012 campaign.
Johnson started all 11 games of the 2012 season as Elon's center. The Hickory, N.C., resident has started 19 consecutive games for the maroon and gold and has a total of 21 career starts. He is one of two returning starters on the offensive line for the Phoenix this year.
Brown was Elon's second-leading receiver a year ago, posting 45 receptions for 642 yards and four touchdowns. Against No. 10 Georgia Southern, the Charlotte, N.C., native caught five passes for a career-best 110 yards. In a conference victory over Western Carolina, Brown hauled in a 55-yard touchdown catch, the longest reception of his career. Also a kick returner, Brown averaged 24.6 yards on 25 kickoff returns in 2012.
Wrightenberry, who hails from Asheville, N.C., has started every game for Elon the past two seasons. In 2012, Wrightenberry was third on the team with 70 total tackles. Among those stops were 4.0 tackles for loss. He broke up three passes and recorded a personal-best 10 tackles, all solo, at No. 14 Appalachian State. In his three seasons with the maroon and gold, Wrightenberry has amassed 156 total tackles and broken up 11 passes.
The league also announced its preseason polls with Elon being selected to finish eighth by both the coaches and media. Georgia Southern was tabbed the preseason favorite by both groups.
Elon will open its 2013 campaign at Georgia Tech on August 31. The game is scheduled for a noon start and will air on ESPN3.
Elon Sports Information Dept.