The Tyrant Ten: Pre-Season power rankings in the FCS

 Pre-Season Top 10 Power Rankings

Gold denotes Tyrant Scouting Pre-Season All Americans: 1st Team

Blue denotes Tyrant Scouting Pre-Season All Americans: 2nd Team

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James Madison QB Bryan Schor passed for 3,002 yards and 29 touchdowns last season.

1.  James Madison (14-1)

Key Returning Players

QB Bryan Schor

LT Aaron Stinnie

S Raven Greene

LG A.J Bolden

LB Andrew Ankrah

RB Trai Sharp

 

Analysis:

James Madison capped off a very successful season with a win in Frisco against Youngstown State. The nucleus of this team has returned. The Dukes lost Mitchell Kirsch and Matt Frank on the offensive line, but return Aaron Stinnie, Aj Bolden and Tyree Chavious. They also return one of the most important pieces in signal caller Bryan Schor, who passed for 3,002 and 29 touchdowns.  Don’t sleep on the defense either. Safety Raven Greene had 6 interceptions last year. Also, cornerback Jimmy Moreland had 2 interceptions, but was second on the team with pass breakups (9). Look for James Madison to come out of the gate hot, and keep that momentum into another deep playoff run.

 

 

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DT Nate Tanguay will be returning for his Senior campaign, and will be trying to guide his team back to another National Championship.

2. North Dakota State (12-2)

Key Returning Players

DT Nate Tanguay

LB Nick DeLuca

DE Greg Menard

QB Easton Stick

FS Tre Dempsey

 

Analysis:

No surprises here, as North Dakota State ranks at the top of our list. An already formidable defense returns their leader, middle linebacker Nick DeLuca. He was granted a fifth year, and looks to rebound from last year’s injuries. A very tough defensive line will be the catalyst for this team, and no quarterback in the FCS should feel comfortable. Defensive end Greg Menard had 11 sacks last season, and 15.5 tackles for a loss. Caleb Butler also chipped in 5 sacks. Easton Stick will have another year to fine tune his control of the offense, and as usual, the Bison will lean heavily on the run game.

 

 

 

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Our top rated FCS prospect, TE Dallas Goedert will be a focal point for South Dakota State’s offense.

3. South Dakota State (9-4)

Key Returning Players

TE Dallas Goedert

WR Jake Wieneke

QB Taryn Christion

DT Kellen Soulek

 

Analysis:

South Dakota State boasts one of the scariest offenses in the FCS, and will look to ride NFL prospects Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke to a championship. TE Dallas Goedert is an exceptional talent, and had 1,293 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Wieneke had a ridiculous 16 touchdowns. Quarterback Taryn Christion returns as well, after racking up 3,714 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. This trio will spearhead any playoff run.

 

 

 

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Senior Safety Cole Reyes (8) looks to get North Dakota back to the playoffs.

4. North Dakota (9-3)

Key Returning Players

S Cole Reyes

CB Deion Harris

QB Keaton Strudsrud

RB John Santiago

 

Analysis:

North Dakota will look to build on last year’s success, which saw them reach their first ever playoff berth. They have a fierce secondary, led by Deion Harris and Cole Reyes. Harris had 5 interceptions last season and Reyes had 3.  North Dakota’s offense leans heavily on an option style running game, and signal caller Keaton Strudsrud is very efficient managing it. RB John Santiago had 1,030 yards and 7 touchdowns, while his partner in crime Brady Olivera had 919 yards and 10 touchdowns.

 

 

 

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Eastern Washington DT Jay-Tee Tiuli is another prospect generating some NFL buzz.

 

5. Eastern Washington (12-2)

Key Players Returning

DT Jay-Tee Tiuli

QB Gage Gabrud

CB Nzuzi Webster

C Spencer Blackburn

 

Analysis:

Eastern Washington’s nasty passing attack took a hit during this off-season, they lost wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Shaq Hill, and Kendrick Bourne. The man who orchestrated it all, head coach Beau Baldwin, left Eastern Washington for an offensive coordinator job at the University of California at Berkeley. He was replaced by former offensive line coach, Aaron Best, who has over twenty years with the program.

“I’ve taken a few notes about how to throw the football forward, so we’re not going to put our hands in the dirt and become a wishbone triple-option team.”

Aaron Best -HC Eastern Washington

The Eagles return a very talented quarterback in Gage Gabrud, who passed for 5,160 yards and 48 touchdowns. While the scheme looks to change a bit, Gabrud’s arm should remain the offensive centerpiece.

 

 

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Sam Houston State QB, Jeremiah Briscoe, had an eye popping 57 touchdowns last season.

6. Sam Houston State (12-1)

Key Returning Players

QB Jeremiah Briscoe

DE P.J Hall

WR Yedidiah Louis

OG Sam Hardy

RB Corey Avery

 

Analysis:

A very dynamic offense powers this team, and it goes through quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe. Last year, he set the world of fire with 4,602 yards and 57 touchdowns. Star defensive end, P.J Hall, will be a key cog in a defensive unit looking to improve on last season.

 

 

 

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Richmond’s senior quarterback looks to bounce back from an injury that cut his season short.

7. Richmond (10-4)

Key Returning Players

QB Kyle Lauletta

S Brendan Coniker

OT Alex Light

WR Jarmal Bevels

TE Garrett Hudson

 

Analysis:

Richmond’s success this season will be riding on the health of star quarterback Kyle Lauletta. Before injury derailed his season, Lauletta had compiled 3,022 yards and 24 touchdowns. With the departure of star wideout Brian Brown, expect more targets to go to wide receivers Jarmal Bevels and Tyler Wilkins. Garrett Hudson should help fill the void as well. Safety Brendan Coniker also returns, he posted 94 tackles last season (ranked 2nd on the team) and 2 interceptions.

 

 

 

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Jacksonville State Safety Marlon Bridges (43)

8. Jacksonville State (10-2)

Key Returning Players

OG Justin Lea

DE Darius Jackson

RB Roc Thomas

CB Jaylen Hill 

S Marlon Bridges

Analysis:

Eli Jenkins is gone now, and Jacksonville State will look to replace last year’s leading passer and rusher. His backup last year, Bryant Horn will be first in line to fill the void. Former Auburn back Roc Thomas will look to shoulder more of the rushing load this season, behind a very good offensive line that includes standouts Justin Lea and Dylan Cline. The defense will be the spark for the team, and includes defensive end Darius Jackson, cornerback Jaylen Hill, and safety Marlon Bridges. Jackson had a team high 10 sacks last season. Hill and Bridges had 10 interception between the two of them.

 

 

 

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Villanova Safety Rob Rolle (4) goes for a tackle on current Pittsburgh Steeler James Conner.

9. Villannova (9-4)

Key Returning Players

S Rob Rolle

RB Aaron Forbes

TE Ryan Bell

LB Ed Shockley

QB Zach Bednarczyk

 

Analysis:

Zach Bednarczyk and Aaron Forbes will guide the offense in the upcoming season. Bednarczyk passed for 2,158 yards and 19 touchdowns, and added another 539 rushing yards on the ground. TE Ryan Bell chipped in 434 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. Ballhawking safety Rob Rolle returns to lead the defense in 2017, he had 7 interceptions last season and returned one for a touchdown. Linebacker Ed Shockley was tied for a team high 86 tackles last season.

 

 

 

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Lehigh QB Brad Mayes takes over a very potent passing attack.

10. Lehigh (9-3)

Key Returning Players

WR Troy Pelletier

WR Gatlin Casey

QB Brad Mayes

RB Dominick Bragalone

S Sam McCloskey

 

Analysis:

The high octane Lehigh passing attack shouldn’t miss a beat this year, as quarterback Brad Mayes replaces Nick Shafnisky. Lehigh will still chuck the ball around, and star wideouts Troy Pelletier and Gatlin Casey will be hard to stop. They combined for 26 touchdowns last season, and will be looking to build on that. RB Dominick Bragalone keeps defenses honest, and had 1,192 and 14 touchdowns. Safety Sam McCloskey returns and will be assuming more of a leadership role this season.

 

 

 

 

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