MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) announced its 2017-preseason poll on Tuesday as voted by the league's eight head coaches.
Defending ECFC Champions, Husson University, earned the top spot on the poll, receiving six, first-place votes and 62 total points. The Privateers of SUNY Maritime came in at a projected second-place finish with one first-place vote and 53 points. Mount Ida College and Castleton University ranked third and fourth respectively with 43 and 42 points each. ECFC newcomer, Dean College, rounded out the top five with 35 total points and one first-place vote.
Complete 2017 ECFC Coaches Preseason Poll
|1. Husson University (6)||62|
|2. SUNY Maritime (1)||53|
|3. Mount Ida College||43|
|4. Castleton University||42|
|5. Dean College (1)||35|
|6. Gallaudet University||24|
|7. Alfred State||16|
|8. Anna Maria College||13|
(First-Place votes in parentheses)
Husson returns the league's offensive and defensive players of the year in running back John Smith and defensive lineman Luke Washburn. Smith led the ECFC in rushes (277), yards (1,715), yards per game (171.5), and touchdowns (17) without a turnover. Washburn anchored a defensive unit that allowed the least points per game (15.4), total yards per game (162.2) and rushing yards per game (28.7). He also led the league in sacks (12) and sack yards (77) while being tied for first in tackle for loss yards (95).
Maritime will look to senior quarterback Tom Wright to anchor the offense. Despite being limited to only six games last season he led the team with 968 passing yards and also added six touchdowns. Defensive lineman Wesley Joseph returns after notching honorable mention ECFC honors when he registered seven sacks and led the Privateers with 17.5 tackles for loss in 2016.
Mount Ida returns a trio of senior offensive lineman to anchor the Mustang offense. Chris Stafford, Ollie Sylvestre and Vincent Tucker were part of an o-line that surrendered only 16 sacks last season. The Mustangs will look to sophomore Dwayne Hunter-Parker for another standout season on the defensive side of the ball. Hunter-Parker led the team with seven broken-up passes and added two picks in 2016.
The ECFC's leading tackler from 2016 in Jakob Trautwein is back for Castleton. The senior linebacker notched 142 tackles and led a defensive united that surrendered only 218 passing yards per game (2nd ECFC). Second-team ECFC quarterback Mitch Caron is back for his junior campaign after ranking second in the league in passing yards despite being limited to eight games.
It will be Dean's first year in the ECFC as they continue their transition as an NCAA Division III athletic program. Dean faced fellow league opponents Husson and Alfred State last season, losing to Husson and beating Alfred State 47-19. The Bulldogs ended the 2016 season with five straight wins, outscoring their opponents 188-50.
Gallaudet will look to standout Dylan Mento to build off his impressive freshman campaign. Mento led the Bison with 27 catches, 287 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Timel Benton is back at quarterback as he looks to build on last season after averaging 64.7 yards per game. Junior defensive back Louie Akuffo will anchor the Bison secondary after posting 47 tackles and five tackles for loss in 2016. His 47 tackles are tops amongst all Gallaudet defensive returners.
Alfred State will look to junior linebacker Brandon Davis as he returns to the defensive unit after racking up 99 tackles in 2016, the tops among all Pioneer returners. Alfred State also returns junior defensive end John Lauretti who posted 58 tackles, three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season.
Anna Maria will look to first-year Head Coach, Dan Mulrooney, to build on last year's 1-6 ECFC campaign. The AMCATS return junior running back Joe D'onfrio who was second in the ECFC in all-purpose yards last season with 1,483. His 846 return yards were a league-high. Trai Weaver is yet to miss a game in his collegiate career, playing 30 games over the past three seasons while notching over 1,100 career-receiving yards.
The season kicks off on Thursday, August 31 as Alfred State travels to the United States Coast Guard Academy for a 7pm kickoff. Six of the seven remaining ECFC members are in action that weekend against nonconference opponents.