With all 12 schools preparing for Conference USA Media Day Sunday in Memphis, the league office announced the C-USA Preseason Team as voted upon by the coaches. UCF had a total of five players on the squad, which was the most of any program in the East Division and the second-most in the conference, trailing only Houston which had six.
Representing UCF on the offensive side of the ball were senior offensive lineman Nick Pieschel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and senior tight end Adam Nissley (Cumming, Ga.). Meanwhile, junior defensive backs Kemal Ishmael (Miami, Fla.) and Josh Robinson (Sunrise, Fla.) were chosen on defense, and junior kick returner Quincy McDuffie (Orlando, Fla.) was tagged as part of the special teams unit.
Among the 29 players who were named to the preseason squad, only seven were not seniors and that included Ishmael, Robinson and McDuffie.
UCF’s starting right guard in all 14 games of the Knights’ championship season, Pieschel was an All-CUSA Honorable Mention pick in 2010 and has started 32-career games on the offensive line. He will likely move over to right tackle in 2011 to fill in the gap left by NFL Draft pick Jah Reid.
Also an All-C-USA Honorable Mention selection last year, Nissley started 12 games as the Knights’ tight end, posting six receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown against Rice. The 6-foot-6 Georgia native has 17 receptions in three seasons in Black and Gold, starting at least 10 games each year since 2008.
The Knight who sealed UCF’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl victory over Georgia by knocking down a Hail Mary attempt in the endzone on the game’s final play, Ishmael served on the All-C-USA First Team and was on the CollegeFootballNews.com All-Bowl Team. He racked up 93 tackles a year ago, and has 163 tackles in just two campaigns in Orlando.
Robinson has appeared on three preseason watch lists (as well as one more as a punt returner) highlighted by the Bronko Nagurski Trophy list for the top defensive player. After pulling in six interceptions as a freshman, he totaled two picks as a sophomore with 13 break-ups, and sits in sixth all-time at UCF with eight interceptions overall. Robinson was named to the 2010 All-C-USA First Team, as well as an honorable mention pick as a punt returner.
A member of the 2011 College Football Performance Awards Kick Returner Trophy Watch List, McDuffie was an All-C-USA First Team honoree as well as an All-American kick returner in 2010. He ranked second in the nation with a 32.2-yard average, taking back two kicks for touchdowns and finishing with 869 yards on 27 returns. McDuffie already ranks third all-time at UCF with 1,813 career kick return yards.