Southeastern selected No. 3 in Preseason FCS Coaches’ Poll
Information provided by Southeastern Athletics
HAMMOND – When Southeastern Louisiana opened up fall practice on Monday, it did so with the highest-ranked football team the school has boasted in over 50 years.
The defending Southland Conference champions were selected No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches poll, which was released on Monday. Southeastern peaked last season with its No. 6 finish in the final poll. The Lions previously cracked the top three in various polls in both the 1960 and 1961 seasons.
The two teams that have claimed the last four FCS national championships were the only teams ranked above SLU. Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State took the No. 1 spot, while 2010 champion Eastern Washington was selected No. 2.
Southeastern also received one first-place vote. The Lions joined NDSU, EWU and 2013 national runner-up Towson as the only teams to receive first-place nods.
SLU is one of three Southland Conference schools listed in the top 25, as McNeese State, who visits Strawberry Stadium on Nov. 15, is at No. 9 and Sam Houston State, one of two league rivals who the Lions won’t play in 2014, is currently No. 14.
Three other teams that will come to Hammond to face the Lions were among the teams receiving votes. Central Arkansas (Oct. 18), Southern Utah (Sept. 6) and Jacksonville (Aug. 30) were just outside of the top 25.
“Any time we can receive national recognition, it’s great for our program and our university,” Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts said. “We’re excited about the coming season and we’re heading into fall practice focusing on continuing to improve as a team.”
The Lions, coming off an 11-3 season and a FCS quarterfinal appearance, have garnered tremendous preseason recognition in the past month. Southeastern was the overwhelming choice to repeat as Southland champions by both the league’s coaches and sports information directors and features 15 preseason all-conference choices.
Senior quarterback Bryan Bennett has been named to the Walter Payton Award watch list, while junior defensive back Harlan Miller is a Buck Buchanan Award candidate. Bennett, Miller, senior linebacker Isiah Corbett, junior kick returner/wide receiver Xavier Roberson, junior running back Rasheed Harrell and senior defensive lineman Jacob Newman have each earned various preseason All-American nods.
Bennett, Miller, Corbett, Roberson, senior defensive back Marice Sutton, senior tight end Jeremy Meyers and senior punt returner Devante Scott were all named to watch lists for awards recognizing the best FCS players at their positions by College Football Performance Awards. Roberson is the reigning CFPA FCS Kick Returner of the Year.
The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference. The other major poll, the Sports Network Poll, selected by the media and sports information directors, is scheduled to be released on Friday.
SLU took the field with 93 players for a night practice on Monday. The Lions will return to the practice field on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Lions will open up the 2014 season on Aug. 30, hosting Jacksonville at 7 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium. That contest will open a six-game home schedule for SLU. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or by visiting LionSports.net or LionUp.com.