By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)
Earlier this week – Tuesday, to be exact – the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) unveiled its preseason coaches poll with Husson University claiming the top spot.
The Eagles, who won the league last season, earned six first-place votes, while securing 62 total points. SUNY Maritime and Mount Ida College checked-in second and third, respectively, while Castleton University (fourth) and Dean College (fifth) rounded out the top five. The Privateers of SUNY Maritime earned one first-place vote, as well as the Bulldogs of Dean.
Gallaudet University, which welcomes back 16 starters, was picked to finish sixth, while Alfred State and Anna Maria College checked-in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Husson, which advanced to last season’s NCAA Division III Tournament, welcomes back 13 starters from last season, including halfback John Smith, who led the conference in multiple categories, including rushing touchdowns (17). Smith will certainly be tasked with carrying the Eagles this season due to gradation losses to Deon Wiggins and Kadeem Edge. Quarterback Cory Brandon returns this fall, along with key members of the defense, including defensive lineman Luke Washburn.
The Eagles will begin its title defense on Saturday, September 2 when they entertain Union College before visiting Dean College on Saturday, September 9. Last season, the Eagles defeated the Bulldogs, 43-23, thanks to four rushing touchdowns by Smith. Smith would conclude the contest with 280 yards on 39 carries. He also hauled in two catches for 25 yards.