MTSU's Reid Blankenship and Khalil Brooks were named to the first-team All-Conference USA preseason squad as selected by the league's coaches on Monday.
As a sophomore safety last season, Blankenship was named the Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week October. He had 17 tackles (nine solo and three for losses) and added a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in a victory over Old Dominion.
He also earned first-team All-CUSA honors last season as he led MTSU with 107 tackles, including eight for losses, four interceptions and seven pass deflections.
The Athens, Alabama, native also was named to the Bednarik Watch list on Monday as well.
Brooks, a senior linebacker, has been second-team All-CUSA the past two seasons. He had 68 tackles, including 14 1/2 for losses last season.
The duo is expected to lead a defense that returns six starters from a team that allowed 26 points a game last season.
MTSU opens the season Aug. 31 at Big Ten and top five foe Michigan.
The following is the All-CUSA preseason team:
2019 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES PRESEASON AWARDS
Offensive Player of the Year
Mason Fine, Sr., QB, North Texas
Defensive Player of the Year
Sage Lewis, Sr., LB, FIU
Special Teams Players of the Year
Jonathan Cruz, So., K, Charlotte
QB Mason Fine, Sr., North Texas
RB Spencer Brown, Jr., UAB
RB Benny LeMay, Sr., Charlotte
OL Levi Brown, Sr., Marshall
OL Josh Dunlop, Sr., UTSA
OL Derron Gatewood, Sr., UTEP
OL Sosaia Mose, Sr., North Texas
OL Miles Pate, Sr., WKU
TE Harrison Bryant, Sr., Florida Atlantic
WR Rico Bussey, Jr., Sr., North Texas
WR Adrian Hardy, Jr., Louisiana Tech
WR Quez Watkins, Jr., Southern Miss
DL Channing Hames, Sr., Marshall
DL LaDarius Hamilton, Sr., North Texas
DL Alex Highsmith, Sr., Charlotte
DL Garrett Marino, Sr., UAB
DL DeMarrio Smith, Sr., Southern Miss
DL Jacques Turner, Jr., Southern Miss
LB Khalil Brooks, Sr., Middle Tennessee
LB Sage Lewis, Sr., FIU
LB Racheem Boothe, Jr., Southern Miss
DB Reed Blankenship, Jr., Middle Tennessee
DB Ky'el Hemby, Jr., Southern Miss
DB Amik Robertson, Jr., Louisiana Tech
DB Chris Jackson, Sr., Marshall
K Jonathan Cruz, So., Charlotte
P Alvin Kenworthy, Sr., North Texas
KR Brett Winnegan, Sr., UTSA
PR Maurice Alexander, Sr., FIU
LS Matt Beardall, Sr., Marshall