The Eastern Kentucky University football team is ranked No. 14 in the Sporting News’ FCS Preseason Top-25 poll, which was released in late May.
The No. 14 ranking is the highest preseason ranking the Colonels have received under head coach Dean Hood, who took over the program in 2008. EKU was also ranked No. 21 in Athlon’s preseason poll.
Eastern Kentucky returns eight starters on both offense and defense from a squad that finished 9-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA FCS playoffs in 2014.
Three all-conference players return on the offensive side of the ball including 2014 OVC Offensive Player of the Year Dy’Shawn Mobley. The senior running back led the league in rushing (1,491 yards) and rushing touchdowns (20) last year. His rushing total was the sixth most in a single season by an EKU player. Mobley set a program record and equaled an OVC mark when he scored six touchdowns in the win over Murray State on Nov. 15, 2014.
Senior offensive linemen Brett Eyckmans and Trey Shelton came away with All-OVC accolades a year ago as well.
On defense, five of the eight returning starters are heading into their senior campaign. Defensive back Stanley Absanon led the squad with four interceptions last fall. Absanon tallied two interceptions in EKU’s thrilling 17-10 win at FBS foe Miami (Ohio). Meanwhile, fellow seniors Trey Thomas and Marquise Piton combined for 20 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks up front in 2014.
Eastern Kentucky opens its 2015 slate on Thursday night, Sept. 3 with a home game against Valparaiso.