Conference Newcomer, Wesley, Selected as Favorite in NJAC Football
Wesley enters first season in NJAC
After competing as an independent the past four seasons, Wesley College enters as one of four new associate football members if the New Jersey Athletic Conference. After advancing to the national semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament and finishing 12-2, Wesley was voted the favorite to win the NJAC in 2015. The school received nine of the ten first place votes in the preseason coaches poll.
In 22 years as the head coach of the Wesley Wolverines, Mike Drass has an overall record of 198-54-1 and 11 NCAA Tournament berths. The program won eight league titles, including six straight from 2005 to 2010 as a member of the Atlantic Central Football Conference, before becoming independent. Now, they look to continue their success as a member of the NJAC.
After sharing the conference title with Montclair State last season, the Rowan Profs return eight all-conference players. Among those are senior preseason All-American running back Withler Marcelin and senior linebacker Darren Dungee. Rowan was selected to finish second this season, while receiving one first place vote.
Salisbury University, another new associate football member, was selected third.
2014 NJAC co-champ, Montclair State was fourth in the voting. The Red Hawks are coached by Rick Giancola, the winningest active football coach in NCAA Division III. Montclair State returns seven all-conference players from last season, including senior quarterback Ryan Davies, senior running back Denzel Nieves, and 2014 NJAC Defensive Rookie of the Year in sophomore linebacker Joshua Betts.
Christopher Newport University won the 2014 USA South Conference Championship last season and now enter the NJAC. They were voted fifth in the coaches poll.
Frostburg State University was selected to finish sixth, but got the vote as the conference dark horse. The Bobcats come into the NJAC after competing in the Empire 8 Conference.
Kean, William Paterson, The College of New Jersey, and Southern Virginia round our the preseason rankings. The 47th season of NJAC football kicks off Friday, September 4 when Salisbury travels to non-conference foe, Albright. The first conference match-up takes place the following day when Christopher Newport hosts TCNJ. The winner of the NJAC championship receives the conference’s automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.
2015 NJAC Football Preseason Coaches Poll
4. Montclair State
5. Christopher Newport
6. Frostburg State
8. William Paterson
9. The College of New Jersey
10. Southern Virginia
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