RICHMOND, IND. - The Defiance College football team, under the guidance of first year head coach Manny Matsakis, was selected to finish seventh in the nine team Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches' poll announced Thursday afternoon.
Defending HCAC Champion, Franklin, captured the top seed with 87 total points and six first place votes. Rose-Hulman claimed the second spot, followed by Mount St. Joseph in third, Hanover in fourth, Manchester in fifth, and Bluffton in sixth.
The Purple and Gold also placed five members on the HCAC preseason players to watch list in senior Jalin Nealy (LB) (Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield), sophomore Cody Drumm-Turner (DB) (Homer, Mich.), junior Jason Santora (WR) (Avon), senior Cody Brown (LB) (Grass Lake, Mich.), and senior Beau Barkley (S) (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Churubusco).
Nealy appeared in 10 games last season for the Yellow Jackets with 78 total tackles, including a team-high 57 solo tackles. The senior tallied five sacks, recorded 13 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Drumm-Turner returns to DC after claiming All-HCAC honors last season. The defensive back saw action in seven games as a freshman tallying 24 tackles (16 solo, 8 assisted).
Santora will look to play a much bigger role this season at wide receiver as he ranked second on the team in 2017 in receptions with 29. The junior averaged 10.3 yards per catch and had a season-best six receptions against Bluffton on Nov. 11.
Brown appeared in all 10 games for Defiance last season ranking third on the team in tackles with 61 and fourth on the team in tackles per game averaging 6.1.
Barkley made eight appearances in 2017 at safety. The senior recorded 56 total tackles and tallied two pass breakups.
The Yellow Jackets open the 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 as they welcome Albion to Justin F. Coressel Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1:30 PM.
2018 HCAC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL
|1.||Franklin||87 (6)||8-3 (8-0 HCAC)|
|2.||Rose-Hulman||84 (3)||8-2 (7-1 HCAC)|
|3.||Mount St. Joseph||68||6-4 (5-3 HCAC)|
|4.||Hanover||65||4-6 (4-4 HCAC)|
|5.||Manchester||53||6-4 (5-3 HCAC)|
|6.||Bluffton||45||4-6 (4-4 HCAC)|
|7.||Defiance||32||2-8 (2-6 HCAC)|
|8.||Anderson||31||1-9 (1-7 HCAC)|
|9.||Earlham||21||0-10 (0-8 HCAC)|