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Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:43

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Ranked High in National Pre-Season Polls

The Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team, fresh off its trip to the national title game, has been ranked third and fifth, respectively, in Lindy’s and The Sporting News 2014 NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Polls.

The Bears went 13-2 last year and finished ranked No. 2 in the nation after advancing all the way to the NCAA Division II Championship on December 21, 2013, in Florence, Ala. L-R fell to Northwest Missouri State, 43-28, in the title game.

In addition, Lenoir-Rhyne set a school single-season record for wins in a season and won its third consecutive South Atlantic Conference Championship last fall.

L-R returns 17 starters including junior offensive lineman Joe Ray (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.), both of whom garnered preseason All-American accolades.

Ray won the 2013 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given annually to the top offensive lineman in the South Atlantic Conference, while Whitaker finished with 912 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns last season. Whitaker has totaled 2,601 yards and 21 scores during the past three years.

Both players helped Lenoir-Rhyne set an all-time NCAA record for rushing yards in a season (5,563) last fall.

L-R also returns senior running back Jarrod Spears (Bunnlevel, N.C.) and senior quarterback Miles Freeman (Sacramento, Calif.), who finished first and second on the team with 984 and 968 yards rushing, respectively, in 2013.

Lenoir-Rhyne, under first-year Head Coach Ian Shields, opens the season on Saturda, September 6, against Point at home beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Moretz Stadium.

2014 NCAA Division II
National Preseason Polls

The Sporting News
1. Northwest Missouri State
2. Grand Valley State
3. Colorado State-Pueblo
4. Minnesota State Mankato
5. Lenoir-Rhyne
6. West Chester
7. North Alabama
8. Minnesota-Duluth
9. West Texas A&M
10. Henderson State
11. Shepherd
12. Winston-Salem State
13. Ohio Dominican
14. Pittsburg State
15. St. Cloud State
16. Indianapolis
17. Bloomsburg
18. Carson-Newman
19. Delta State
20. American International
21. Tuskegee
22. Emporia State
23. Newberry
24. East Stroudsburg
25. Azusa Pacific

Lindy's
1. Northwest Missouri State
2. St. Cloud State
3. Lenoir-Rhyne
4. Grand Valley State
5. Henderson State
6. Pittsburg State
7. Minnesota-Duluth
8. West Chester
9. Colorado State-Pueblo
10. Shepherd
11. West Alabama
12. Ohio Dominican
13. Emporia State
14. Carson-Newman
15. Winston-Salem State
16. Minnesota State Mankato
17. UNC Pembroke
18. West Texas A&M
19. Indianapolis
20. North Alabama
21. Saginaw Valley
22. Azusa Pacific
23. Bloomsburg
24. Missouri Western
25. Tuskegee

2014 NCAA Division II
Preseason All-American Teams

The Sporting News
OFFENSE
QB - Kevin Rodgers, Henderson State
RB - Tyler Tonderum, Southwest Missouri State
RB - Daiquone Ford, Findlay
OL - Cole Manhart, Nebraska-Kearney
OL - Matthew Reese, Tuskegee
OL - Joe Ray, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL - Cory Tucker, Slippery Rock
OL - Garrison Ushery, West Georgia
TE - Jamie Potts, Grand Valley State
WR - Jere Brown, Shippensburg
WR - Trevor Harman, Shippensburg

DEFENSE
DL - Matt Longacre, Northwest Missouri State
DL - Darius Allen, Colorado State-Pueblo
DL - Charlie Tuaau, Texas A&M-Commerce
DL - Grant Singer, Mary
LB - Ronell Williams, West Chester
LB - Isaiah Fleming, Cheyney
LB - D.J. Gnader, Northwest Missouri State
DB - John Strickland, Indianapolis
DB - Tyler Thornton, Azusa Pacific
DB - Colin Kimball, Mercyhurst
DB - Harold Jones-Quartey, Findlay

SPECIAL TEAMS
K - Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
P - Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands

Lindy's
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB - Kevin Rodgers, Henderson State
RB - Tyler Tonderum, Southwest Missouri State
RB - Terrell Watson, Azusa Pacific
WR - Darius Davis, Henderson State
WR - Trevor Harman, Shippensburg
TE - Jamie Potts, Grand Valley State
OL - Joe Ray, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL - Mitchell Weideman, St. Cloud
OL - Isaiah Shelton, Shepherd
OL - Cole Manhart, Nebraska-Kearney
OL - Matthew Reese, Tuskegee
AP - Marquez Clark, Central Oklahoma
K - Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL - Matt Longacre, Northwest Missouri State
DL - Darius Allen, Colorado State-Pueblo
DL - Charlie Tuaau, Texas A&M-Commerce
LB - Eric Reimer, Northwest Missouri State
LB - Troy Guptil, Mary
LB - Brian Harrington, Stonehill
DB - Sammy Siasia, Mars Hill
DB - Demarco Donaldson, Malon
DB - Colin Kimball, Mercyhurst
DB - E.J. Jacob, Carson-Newman
P - Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB - Chris Bonner, Colorado State-Pueblo
RB - Jeff Seybold, Pittsburg State
RB - Isaiah Whitaker, Lenoir-Rhyne
WR - Dimitri Holmes, Mars Hill
WR - Paul Browning, Colorado State-Pueblo
TE - Lucas Hefty, Upper Iowa
OL - Karl Eichinger, St. Cloud
OL - Derek Schatz, West Chester
OL - Cody Laubach, East Stroudsburg
OL - Shadow Stokes, Midwestern State
OL - Jarrett Stastny, Emporia State
AP - John Moscatel, Southern Connecticut State
K - Jamie McGee, Arkansas-Monticello

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL - Kevin Brewton, Findlay
DL - Jovontay Williams, Johnson C. Smith
DL - Julian Howsare, Clarion
DL - Kenny Allen, Central Oklahoma
LB - Collin Corcoran, Winona State
LB - Tyler Zimmer, Seton Hill
LB - Derrick Bryant, Indianapolis
DB - Jamaris Brown, Walsh
DB - Brion Robinson, Lincoln
DB - Kyler Harris, Northeastern State
DB - Isaiah Davis, Central Washington
P - Kyle Jaski, Lincoln

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