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Furman Ranked 23rd In STATS FCS Top 25 Preseason Poll

Furman vs. Elon, Playoffs (2017)
Furman vs. Elon, Playoffs (2017)

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman is ranked 23rd in the preseason STATS FCS Top 25 poll, which was released today.

The ranking marks Furman's first preseason tab since 2014 when the Paladins were ranked 21st in the preseason poll.

Furman is coming off a 2017 season that netted an 8-5 record and second round appearance of the FCS playoffs under first-year head coach Clay Hendrix.  Furman defeated Elon, 28-27, on the road in a first round playoff matchup a year ago.  The Paladins and Phoenix will square off Sept. 8 at Elon.

Furman finished last year ranked No. 19 in the STATS FCS Top 25 poll, one spot ahead of Elon, which climbed to 12th in the preseason poll — one of a platoon of nine teams to out-poll the Paladins in the preseason after finishing below Furman last year.

Furman returns 15 starters and 51 lettermen from a year ago.

Defending FCS national champion North Dakota State was an overwhelming No. 1 in the national media poll, collecting 151 of the 157 first-place votes and 3,919 points. The Bison were followed by national runner-up James Madison, which gained the other six first-place votes, and fellow semifinalists South Dakota State and Sam Houston State as the top four spots remained unchanged from the final 2017 rankings.

The Southern Conference was paced in the poll by Wofford (10th), followed by Samford (12th).

Eight FCS conferences placed teams in the preseason rankings, led by CAA Football with six, the Missouri Valley Football Conference five and the Southland Conference four.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, and writers select the STATS FCS Top 25. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

The Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon during the regular season, except for Sunday morning, Nov. 18, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff field. A final Top 25 will follow the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

The STATS FCS Preseason Top 25:

1. North Dakota State (14-1), 3,919 points - 151 first-place votes; Final 2017 Ranking: 1
2. James Madison (14-1), 3,764 - 6; Final 2017 Ranking: 2
3. South Dakota State (11-3), 3,470; Final 2017 Ranking: 3
4. Sam Houston State (12-2), 3,228; Final 2017 Ranking: 4
5. Kennesaw State (12-2), 3,120; Final 2017 Ranking: 8;
6. Jacksonville State (10-2), 3,041; Final 2017 Ranking: 9
7. New Hampshire (9-5), 2,873; Final 2017 Ranking: 12
8. Weber State (11-3), 2,815; Final 2017 Ranking: 5
9. Eastern Washington (7-4), 2,541; Final 2017 Ranking: 21
10. Wofford (10-3), 2,087; Final 2017 Ranking: 6
11. Samford (8-4), 2,003; Final 2017 Ranking: 18
12. Elon (8-4), 1,812; Final 2017 Ranking: 20
13. Northern Iowa (8-5), 1,612; Final 2017 Ranking: 17
14. North Carolina A&T (12-0), 1,480; Final 2017 Ranking: 7
15. Delaware (7-4), 1,470; Final 2017 Ranking: NR
16. Central Arkansas (10-2), 1,383; Final 2017 Ranking: 10
17. McNeese (9-2), 1,133; Final 2017 Ranking: 22
18. Nicholls (8-4), 1,056; Final 2017 Ranking: 25
19. Villanova (5-6), 920; Final 2017 Ranking: NR
20. Stony Brook (10-3), 798; Final 2017 Ranking: 11
21. Illinois State (6-5), 795; Final 2017 Ranking: NR
22. Austin Peay (8-4), 709; Final 2017 Ranking: NR
23. FURMAN (8-5), 685; Final 2017 Ranking: 19
24. Montana (7-4), 626; Final 2017 Ranking: NR
25. Youngstown State (6-5), 541; Final 2017 Ranking: NR

Others Receiving Votes: South Dakota (8-5) 496, Western Illinois (8-4) 401, Southern Utah (9-3) 357, Northern Arizona (7-5) 312, Grambling State (11-2) 289, Idaho (4-8) 287, Yale (9-1) 252, Sacramento State (7-4) 208, San Diego (10-3) 202, Richmond (6-5) 91, Monmouth (9-3) 53, Colgate (7-4) 45, Lehigh (5-7) 27, Central Connecticut State (8-4) 23, North Dakota (3-8) 13, UC Davis (5-6) 12, Western Carolina (7-5) 10, Bethune-Cookman (7-4) 9, Montana State (5-6) 8, Stephen F. Austin (4-7) 7, Mercer (5-6) 6, Eastern Illinois (6-5) 6, Harvard (5-5) 4, Southern Illinois (4-7) 4, Howard (7-4) 4, Duquesne (7-4) 3, North Carolina Central (7-4) 3, Columbia (8-2) 3, Dartmouth (8-2) 3, Alcorn State (7-5) 2, The Citadel (5-6) 2, UT Martin (6-5) 1, Southeastern Louisiana (6-5) 1