Thursday, August 07, 2014
Mount St. Joseph University, which finished third in the conference standings in 2013 with a 6-2 record and a 6-4 overall mark, has been chosen second in the 2014 HCAC Coaches’ Preseason Football Poll. Franklin College, last year’s HCAC champion (tying Rose-Hulman with a 7-1 conference mark), was chosen first. The Grizzlies garnered seven first place votes and 79 points while the runner-up Lions received two first place votes and 65 points. Hanover (50 points), Rose-Hulman (48) and Defiance (48) rounded out the top five. They were followed in the poll by Bluffton (43), Manchester (34), Earlham (26) and Anderson (12).
The Lions will look to compete for a league title this fall and put an end to Franklin’s reign. The Mount ranked third in the HCAC in total offense (376.2 ypg) and second in scoring offense (35.8 ppg) during league play last season. Senior wide receiver Leonard Riston (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow) led the team with 58 receptions for 765 yards and four touchdowns last fall, earning first-team All-HCAC honors. MSJ also returns first-team All-HCAC selections Brandon Keller (Flowery Branch, Ga./H.S.) and Shane Kelly (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin). Keller was a First-Team selection on the offensive line, while Kelly earned HCAC Special Teams MVP honors. Kelly scored 68 points for the Lions last season, converting a school-record 11-of-13 field goals and 35-of-39 extra points. Mount St. Joseph will open the season at home against Augustana College on September 6.
The following Mount players were selected as “Players to Watch” this season:
Brandon Keller Senior Offensive Line Flowery Branch, Ga./H.S.
Leonard Riston Senior Wide Receiver Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow
Konnor Blevins Senior Linebacker Cincinnati, Ohio/Lakota West
Brent McCleerey Senior Linebacker Mooresville, Ind./Monrovia
Denzel Norvell Sophomore Running Back Dayton, Ohio/Thurgood Marshall
Marvin Draper Junior Defensive Back Columbus, Ind./Whetstone
Shane Kelly Junior Kicker Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin
Click here for the entire press release from the HCAC.