Murray State’s 2017 football season had its unofficial kickoff Monday at the annual OVC Media Day in Nashville, Tennessee.

Head coach Mitch Stewart and seniors Jordon Gandy and Lamont Crittendon represented the Racers and took questions from local and league-wide media. Two of the main themes of the day were the rise of the Murray State defense and the battle at quarterback.

All three Racers also emphasized the fact that Murray State will return 17 starters on offense and defense for 2017. Another positive that was talked about was the fact with so many players returning for 2017 that the Racers will be able to build on existing on team chemistry right away rather starting from scratch as in previous years.

The day began with Gandy and fellow senior D’Montre Wade of the Murray State football team were named to the 2017 Preseason All-OVC team, the league announced at its annual media day Monday.

Gandy had a breakout season for Murray State in 2016, pulling down 62 catches for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 976 yards is the eighth-highest single-season total in program history, while the 11 touchdowns is the fifth highest. The Athens, Alabama native racked up five games of at least 100 yards on the year, including a 218 yard outburst at Eastern Kentucky, the third highest single-game total ever by a Racer. Gandy led the OVC in receiving yards (976) and receiving yards per game (88.7), was third in receptions per game 5.6 and was second in the league and ninth nationally in receiving touchdowns at 11.

Wade also had a stellar 2016 in which he lead the league and finished third in the nation in passes defended per game at 1.6 with 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. The Columbia, Tennessee native finished his junior season in blue and gold with 50 tackles, 33 of which were solo, 1.0 tackle-for-loss and a blocked kick. Wade, along with Marquez Sanford, proved to be one of the most dangerous defensive back duos in the league as they combined for 27 total pass breakups and 30 total passes defended.

by Parker Griffith

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