2016 NAIA Football Champions No. 1 in NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Spring 2017
This is USF’s fifth No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Top 25, its first SPRING Top 25 No. 1 ranking
This is USF’s 209th NAIA Top 25 ranking out of the last 221 Top 25 Polls . . .
this is USF’s 25th consecutive Top 25 ranking . . .
USF got its first Top 25 mention in the Oct. 26, 1999 Top 25 at No. 25 Oct. 29, 1999 after just 17 games in the history of the program, which started in 1998
USF notes heading into 2017 Spring Drills . . . .
Offensive Starters Returning – 6
Defensive Starters Returning – 6
Special Teams Returning – 2 at 3 positions
USF won last nine games of the season including NAIA Championship Title Game 38-17 over No. 2 Baker . . . win over Baker was USF’s 12th consecutive road/neutral location win . . . USF won five consecutive games against NAIA Top 25 opponents after losing 35-21 to No. 1 Marian on 10/1/16 . . . Cougars are 24-2 over last two seasons . . . win over Baker was USF’s first win over NAIA No. 1 or No. 2 ranked team since won at No. 1 St. Xavier 25-13 9/29/12 . . . Ferrer has thrown for at least two TDs in 27 consecutive games entering 2017 . . . Green has rushed for 100-plus yds in six of USF’s last seven NAIA Championship games . . . Green’s 296 rushing at No. 3 Reinhardt 22 yards short of the NAIA Championship Series record of 318 yards . . . USF’s win in 2016 NAIA Championship Game was USF’s fourth appearance in title clash . . . USF is 27-15 in 16 NAIA Championship Series appearances . . . USF won its last nine games of the 2016 season. . . USF is 35-3 in last 3 seasons . . .
Ferrer is 25-4 as a starting QB . . . Donley has 13 career double-figure winning seasons, 12 in 19 seasons at USF . . .
Kevin Donley (2 NAIA National Championships—1991 at Georgetown College (Ky.) and 2016 at USF) is winningest active collegiate football coach in any division with 302 wins, NAIA record-holder for most wins . . . 302-129-1 (432 games) .700 winning percentage . . . 2017 will be his 39th as a collegiate head coach, his 35th in NAIA (291-96-1) . . . Donley is 188-44 at USF and 18 consecutive winning seasons at USF heading into 20th season of USF FB program which Donley started beginning with the 1998 season . . . 2016 was Donley’s fifth 13-1 season. . . . Donley is the only coach in Mid-States Football Association history with 100 wins . . . won No. 100 in 2016.
TOP RETURNING USF PLAYERS . . .
Nick Ferrer, QB, SR. 6-4, 225 (Westfield, IN / Westfield H.S.)– No. 2 in NAIA TD passes (51) AND Yds Passing – 4,046 yds; No. 9 NAIA Yds Passing per game (289.0); threw for 16 TDs in 4 NAIA Championship Series games and 1,061 yards . . . All-MSFA First Team QB
Justin Green, RB, Jr. 5-10, 186 (Griffith, IN / Griffith H.S.) – rushed for 762 yds in 4 NAIA Championship games averaging 190.5 yds per game, 9.5 yds per carry, 7 TDs rushing . . . second consecutive 1,000 yd season with 1,367, 12 TD, 7.5 ypc.; All-MSFA Second Team RB . . . No. 8 NAIA All-Purpose Yds / Game w/ 157.4 ypg – 66 yds recvg; 771 yds KOR ranked 3rd most in NAIA.
Spencer Cowherd, LB, SR. 6-2, 195 (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Northrop H.S.) – All-MSFA First Team . . . 7.6 tackles per game . . . 54 solo, 106 total
Piercen Harnish LB, Jr. 6-0, 220 (Bluffton, IN / Norwell H.S.) – All-MSFA First Team . . . 130 total tackles, 46 solo, 6 double figure tackles games, 11 in NAIA Championship game vs. Baker . . . season high of 8 solos in 13 tackle game at No. 3 Reinhardt (GA).
Eric Hemmelgarn DT, Jr. 6-5, 288 (Portland, IN / Jay County H.S.) Led NAIA in Tackles-for-losses with 25.5, 20 solo, 111.5 yds. . . All-MSFA First Team . . . season high 5 TFLs vs. No. 5 Morningside for 28 yds in losses.
Alex Woods OL, Sr. 6-2 265 (Greenwood, IN / Center Grove H.S.) — All-MSFA MEL Second Team
Eric Dunten LB Jr. 6-1 205 (Fort Wayne, IN / Carroll H.S.) — All-MSFA MEL Second Team; No. 43 in NAIA Tackles / Game 8.7
Lee Stewart III DB Sr. 5-11 190 (Lima, OH / Central Catholic H.S.) All-MSFA MEL Honorable Mention
Wilmer Cole DB Jr. 6-1 178 (Indianapolis / Warren Central H.S.) All-MSFA MEL Honorable Mention
2017 Pre-season USF All-American candidates . . .
Ferrer, Cowherd, Hemmelgarn, Green, Harnish
Seth Coate 6-3 WR – AFCA First Team All-America . . . NAIA Championship game Offensive Player of the Game, 3 TD recpt., 180 yds . . . led NAIA in TD receptions with 25 (led NAIA); 95 recpt. Tied for No. 1 in NAIA; 650 yds recvg in four NAIA Championship games, 162.5 yds per game . . . caught at least 1 TD pass in 27 consecutive games. . . 1,693 yards led NAIA . . . 25 TDs No. 2 in all of college FB in 2016. . . 150 points tied USF record for single-season points.
Lucas Sparks 6-1 DE – NAIA Championship Game Defensive Player of the Game; MSFA Defensive Player of the Year; AFCA All-America, second team; 23 TFLs, No. 4 NAIA; 12.5 sacks, No. 6 in NAIA.
Ryan Nix PK – finished No. 2 in scoring in 2016 with 97 pts for USF – 6-for-9 FGs including USF record long 44-yds in NAIA Championship . . . made 79 of 82 PATs . . . also handled kickoffs.
Brian Gegner 6-3 CENTER — NAIA Rimington Award Recipient. . . All-MSFA MEL First Team
Keegan Bruner 6-1 OL — NAIA All-AFCA Second Team, All-MSFA MEL First Team
Montay McDowell WR
Zach Minardo OL
Christian Johnson DL
Josh Spitnale P
TOP NEWCOMERS 2017 . . .
Eli Wallace RB 5-11 205 LaGrange, IN / Lakeland H.S. — 202 rushes, 1920 yds, 9.5 avg, 29 tds, 213yd per game avg (9 games) SENIOR YR.
Caleb Hankenson LB 6-0 210 Decatur, IN / Bellmont H.S.
Hankenson, played running back on offense running back this past fall Hankenson tallied 184 carries for 1,291 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. He added 15 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown. . . .Defensively, 82 tackles, 6 TFLs, 2 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries. . . . IFCA 3A senior all-state linebacker . . . Associated Press 3A all-state honorable mention selection. . . . Over the past two seasons he racked up 3,049 rushing yards, 39 total TDs, 148 tackles, & 5 INTs.
Dylan Hunley WR 6-1 180 Kendallville, IN / East Noble H.S.
95 receptions, 1,479 yards and 21 touchdowns, 134.5 yards per game.
Rece Roney OL 6-4 265 Columbus Grove, OH / Columbus Grove H.S. — all Northwest Conference and all-district honors in Northwest Ohio.
Casey Coll WR 6-1 205 Lizton, IN / Tri-West Hendricks H.S. — two-way standout for the Bruins, Coll was responsible for 11 of Tri-West’s scores this past year. Running the Bruins’ wildcat and catching passes, Coll was a dual threat on offense as well as on defense. He finished second on the team in tackles with 140 and had seven TFL.
Anthony Moore, Jr. CB/S 6-2 183 Toledo, OH / St. John’s Jesuit H.S. — all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference Honorable Mention
From: Nikki Sherrill [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 2:14 PM
Subject: 2017 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Spring (April 10)
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2017 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Spring (April 10)
Defending national champion Saint Francis heads into spring at No. 1
April 10, 2017
By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After claiming its first red banner in 2016, the Cougars of Saint Francis (Ind.) claim the No. 1 ranking in the 2017 spring installment of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national off ice announced Monday. The Cougars swept all first-place votes and earned 314 total points to remain in the top spot. The 2017 preseason ranking will be announced in early August.
Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 1999)
• For just the fifth-time in program history and second-consecutive poll, Saint Francis holds a No. 1 ranking in the Coaches’ Poll. Capturing all first-place votes and 314 total points, the Cougars head into the new season as the top team.
• The Cougars earned their first No. 1 ranking of the 2016 season in the postseason poll. }
• In 2016, Saint Francis won its first-ever national title in football as it defeated No. 2 Baker (Kan.) in Daytona Beach, Fla., 38-17. This victory gave the Cougars their first red banner to take back to Indiana.
• Led by Kevin Donely, who is the NAIA leader in career wins at 302 and entering his 20th season at USF, the Cougars will open their 2017 campaign on the road against Jamestown, N.D. September 2. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two.
• Saint Francis will see key pieces of the winning squad back on the field in the fall. Eric Hemmelgarn, who ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in tackles for loss (25.5) and earned 63 tackles last season. Seth Green also returns for the Cougars behind his 1,367 total rushing yards last season. Besides the returning players, Saint Francis signed 30 commits in the off-season as it starts its journey to a second-consecutive title.
• The top 18 teams in this installment remained the same from the postseason edition last December. National runner-up Baker comes in at No. 2 for the ninth-straight poll. The remainder of the top five includes No. 3 Reinhardt (Ga.), No. 4 Eastern Oregon and No. 5 Marian (Ind.).
• No. 23 Georgetown (Ky.) highlighted the positive movement with a two-spot jump. The only other forward advancement went to No. 19 Montana Western who improved its ranking by one. No. 20 Concordia (Neb.), No. 24 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 25 William Penn (Iowa) each fell one place in the spring installment.
• Overall, 11 different conferences are represented on the poll. The Frontier Conference, Great Plains Athletic Conference, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and Heart of America North led the way with three programs each.
• No new teams joined the Top 25.
• Overall, 42 teams were ranked in 2016.
• Carroll (Mont.) owns the most No. 1 rankings with 58, followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55), Georgetown (25), Morningside (20) and Saint Xavier (14).
• Morningside holds the longest active streak with 113-straight Top 25 mentions.
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences.
• Each conference is given one rater for every four schools in the league.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low rating) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appear on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes.”
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.
2017 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Spring (April 10)
|Rank||Last Week||School (1st Place Votes)||2016 Record||Total Points|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (14)||13-1||314|
|8||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||11-2||231|
|9||9||Grand View (Iowa)||9-3||216|
|14||14||Dickinson State (N.D.)||9-4||157|
|15||15||Robert Morris (Ill.)||7-3||137|
|16||16||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||8-3||122|
|25||24||William Penn (Iowa)||7-4||34|
Dropped from Top 25: None
Others Receiving Votes: Warner (Fla.) 9; Saint Mary (Kan.) 7; Saint Xavier (Ill.) 5
^ Top 25 ranking from Dec. 20, 2016 Top 25 Poll