Hampton University senior linebacker Julio Sanchez was recently named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Sanchez is easily the most outstanding player on the Hampton Pirates team, which was picked to finish fourth in the MEAC this coming season. The Miami, Fla. native was a member of the All-MEAC First Team last regular season after putting up great numbers. He was first on the Pirates and second in the MEAC with 98 tackles (51 solo) in 2009. He also recorded a career-best 16 tackles against Winston-Salem State in an overtime win last season.

But Sanchez wasn’t the only member of Hampton’s defensive unit honored this preseason. Senior defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis of West Palm Beach, Fla., also earned Preseason First Team honors, a year after he finished fifth on the team with 51 tackles. Ellis, who was also named to the All-MEAC First team after the 2009 regular season, was second on the team with 15 tackles for loss last year.

Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Michael Ola (Riverdale, Ga.) was named to the preseason All-MEAC Second Team, along with fellow redshirt-senior linebacker Brandon Peguese (Greensboro, N.C.) and redshirt-senior defensive back Ricardo Silva of Baltimore, Md.

Peguese recorded 53 tackles (20 solo) last season while leading his team and the conference with 7.5 sacks. Sliva finished third on the team in tackles last season with 66 and also snatched two interceptions.

The Pirates will start the regular season on Sept. 2 against Central Michigan, marking the first time the historically Black program has ever faced a team from the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.