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Four Zips footballers honored by College Sports Madness

Ulysees Gilbert named preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Akron v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

This week will mark the Mid-American Conference’s annual media day, where your friendly neighborhood MAC experts will touch base with the coaches and players who will dictate what happens on the gridiron in your favorite rust belt conference this fall. As well, all of us in the media will name their preseason honorees. Today marks the first salvo in that preseason award bonanza

Four Akron Zips football players were named to College Sports Madness’ 2017 preseason All-Mid-American Conference teams. Named the preseason MAC Defensive Player of the Year and earning preseason first-team All-MAC accolades was junior LB Ulysees Gilbert III. Third-team honorees were redshirt junior PK Tom O’Leary, junior KR Van Edwards, and senior S Zach Guiser.

Last season saw the Zips finish 5-7 (3-5 MAC) and for 2017 to be better, Grant, and others, will need to step up production immensely. The Zips closed last season with four straight losses, including their season closer, a 9-3 loss to MAC East champ Ohio.

Akron returns 57 letterwinners, including 15 starters, to its spread offense and 4-3 defense. The Zips open the 2017 season at Penn State on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Noon on ABC. In the home opener, Akron hosts Arkansas Pine Bluff on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6:30 p.m.on ESPN3.