Pack Football ranked top 15 in three preseason national polls

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-28 19:54:10-04

The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team is ranked in the top 15 of three national NCAA Division II preseason polls. The ThunderWolves are No. 11 in the College Football America poll, listed at No. 13 from Lindy’s and are No. 14 in the Street and Smith rankings.

In addition to the rankings, College Football America tabbed seniors Brandon Payer and Darius Williams as members of their preseason Starting Line-up. Payer was announced as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year yesterday, while Williams was on the Pro Player Insiders 2018 Senior Bowl projected top 300 seniors list. The list has players from FBS, FCS, and Division II represented, while there were only 11 from DII listed. 

The Pack finished the 2017 season with a 9-3 overall record, while their 9-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference mark was good for a share of the league title. CSU-Pueblo advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs as a seven seed. The ThunderWolves fell 16-13 in overtime to No. 1 overall and No. 2 seed Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Pack were No. 20 nationally following the end of the regular season and moved up to No. 17 in the final poll.

The defense returns 10 starters and 27 letterwinners from a 2017 squad that closed the regular season top 20 nationally in eight categories, red zone defense (3rd, 57.7%), interceptions (4th, 21), team passing efficiency defense (4th, 88.95), defensive touchdowns (7th, 5), scoring defense (10th, 14.3), total defense (10th, 273.5), turnovers gained (11th, 27) and passing yards allowed (18th, 164.6).

The Pack return five starters and 22 letterwinners on the offensive side of the ball and both their starting kicker and punter. The ThunderWolves finished the regular season top 25 in Division II in turnover margin (17th, 1,0), net punting (20th, 36.8), kick returns (23rd, 23.0), red zone offense (23rd, 88%) and scoring offense (24th, 37.6).

The team reports to camp Aug. 4 and will conduct their traditional midnight conditioning run at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6. The first official practice will be conducted on Aug. 6 in preparations for the season and home opener Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. versus Dixie State University. 

2018 College Football America Preseason Top 30
1. West Florida
2. Indiana (PA)
3. Harding
4. Minnesota State
5. Texas A&M-Commerce
6. Central Washington
7. Fort Hays State
8. Ferris State
9. Northwest Missouri State
10. Ashland
11. CSU-Pueblo
12. West Alabama
13. Midwestern State
14. Assumption
15. Indianapolis
16. Shepherd
17. Ouachita Baptist
18. Winona State
19. Virginia State
20. Shippensburg
21. Findlay
22. Delta State
23. Central Missouri
24. Wingate
25. West Georgia
26. Sioux Falls
27. Bowie State
28. Grand Valley State
29. West Chester
30. California (PA)

Street & Smith’s College Football Yearbook
1. West Florida
2. Indiana (Pa.)
3. Minnesota State
4. Fort Hays State
5. Grand Valley State
6. Texas A&M-Commerce
7. Indianapolis
8. Harding
9. Northwest Missouri State
10. Midwestern State
11. Central Washington
12. Shepherd
13. Ashland
14. CSU-Pueblo
15. Sioux Falls
16. West Georgia
17. Assumption
18. Central Missouri
19. Ferris State
20. West Alabama
21. Findlay
22. Carson-Newman
23. Virginia State
24. Edinboro
25. Colorado School of Mines
Lindy’s Sports College Football Preview
1. West Florida
2. Indiana (Pa.)
3. Ferris State
4. Fort Hays State
5. Northwest Missouri State
6. Minnesota State
7. Texas A&M-Commerce
8. Midwestern State
9. West Alabama
10. Central Missouri
11. Central Washington
12. Indianapolis
13. CSU-Pueblo
14. California (Pa.)
15. Ashland
16. Valdosta State
17. Colorado School of Mines
18. Edinboro
19. Assumption
20. Carson-Newman
21. Humboldt State
22. Bowie State
23. Southwest Baptist
24. Hillsdale
25. Adams State

2018 College Football America Division II Starting Lineup


Pos.  Name                                  School                        Yr.

QB     AMIR HALL                          Bowie State                  Sr.
RB     MARCUS JONES                   Gannon                        Sr.
RB     COLE CHANCEY                   Harding                        So.
WR    WESTON CARR                    Azusa Pacific                 Jr.
WR    AUSTIN RYAN                     Bentley                        So.
TE     SETH HEBERT                     Central Missouri             Sr.
OL     JUSTIN GOOSEBERRY         Ouachita Baptist            Jr.
OL     SAMUEL ANTOINE               West Florida                  Jr.
OL     FRANK TRANZILLI              West Chester                Jr.
OL     A.J. ROLAND                       Midwestern State           Sr.
OL     BRANDON ANDERSON         West Alabama               Jr.
PK     CASEY BEDNARSKI             Minnesota State             Sr.
KR     DEONTE HARRIS                 Assumption                   Sr. 


Pos.  Name                                  School                        Yr.

DL     DAVONDRICK LISON           Southern Arkansas        Sr.
DL     TERSHAWN WHARTON        Missouri S&T                 Jr.
DL     ADONIS DAVIS                   Florida Tech                  Sr.
DL     MARKUS JONES                   Angelo State                 Sr.
LB     BRANDON PAYER                CSU-Pueblo                  Sr.
LB     BRUCKS SAATHOFF             Texas A&M-Commerce   Sr.
LB     SAM BLANKENSHIP             Harding                        Sr.
DB     JR STEVENS                        Indiana (PA)                 Jr.
DB     DARIUS WILLIAMS             CSU-Pueblo                  Sr.
DB     ZURIL HENDRICK                Edinboro                       Sr.
DB     MARVIN CONLEY                 West Florida                  Sr.
P       ZACH DAVIDSON                 Central Missouri             So.
PR     BJ MUCKELVENE                 Wingate                        Jr.