IRVING, Texas — Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler and running back Kenneth Dixon were named to the Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team Wednesday as the league announced its preseason awards and projected order of finish.
The Bulldogs are projected to finish fourth in the league’s West Division this season by a vote of the league’s coaches, ahead of Southern Miss and UTEP.
Butler is expected to move into a starting role this season with the loss of Justin Ellis and Shakeil Lucas to graduation. He registered 41 total tackles last season with 3 tackles for a loss of five yards, three pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. His 41 tackles lead all returning defensive linemen for the Bulldogs.
Dixon played in 10 games but due to injuries only effectively played in eight and still accumulated 917 rushing yards and four touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. His longest run of the year was a 72-yard sprint at UTEP as LA Tech faced 3rd-and-21 on its own one yard line.
North Texas is projected to win the West Division garnering 66 points while Rice closely follows as the Owls garnered 65 points in the predicted order of finish. UTSA received 62 points in what expects to be a closely contested division this fall. LA Tech opens its conference schedule at North Texas on Sept. 11 and closes the regular season at home against Rice on Nov. 29.
In the East Division, Marshall led the way with 91 points followed by Middle Tennessee (73 points) and Florida Atlantic (60). Western Kentucky, who the Bulldogs host on Nov. 1, was slated to finish fourth while newcomer Old Dominion was picked to finish fifth. Louisiana Tech and ODU will face each other for the first time on Nov. 22 in Norfolk, Virginia. LA Tech will face UAB – projected to finish sixth in the East Division – on Nov. 8 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
Louisiana Tech opens the season on Aug. 30 at Oklahoma as the Bulldogs kickoff the second year under head coach Skip Holtz.
The Bulldogs first home game is set for Sept. 20 as Tech will host Northwestern State at Joe Aillet Stadium at 6 p.m.
— Louisiana Tech Sports Information