FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The University of Saint Francis will open its 20th season as the No. 1 team in the 2017 Street & Smith’s College Football Yearbook NAIA Preview Top 10.
The S&SCFY magazine is now out on newsstands.
USF was 2016 NAIA Champions after shocking second-ranked Baker (KS) University 38-17 handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season after winning 14 consecutive games without a loss in 2016. This is USF’s first No. 1 mention since 2007 when the Cougars were ranked No. 1 after appearing in their third consecutive NAIA Championship Game in 2006.
USF junior linebacker Piercen Harnish has been named to the S&S Preseason NAIA All-America Team. USF was ranked No. 3 in the 2016 (then Sporting News) Yearbook and USF junior quarterback Nick Ferrer was named to the SNCF Pre-season NAIA All-American Team. Ferrer was Mid-States Football Association Mideast League Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2015.
Defending Mid-States Football Association champion (Mideast League) Marian University (Indianapolis) is No. 3. USF opens its 2017 MSFA schedule at Marian on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. in Indianapolis.
USF, which finished 11-1 in 2015 and won its 12th MSFA MEL title, was No. 4 in the NAIA Football Coaches Spring Top 25.
The Cougars return 14 starters (6 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams) from its first championship team including Harnish, Ferrer and additional All-MSFA First Team selections Spencer Cowherd (LB) and Eric Hemmelgarn (DT). USF All-MSFA Second-Team returnees include Justin Green (RB), senior Alex Woods (OL), sophomore Eric Dunten (LB). Honorable mention returnees include senior Lee Stewart III and junior Wilmer Cole.
USF opens practice for its 20th season on Aug. 14 in preparation for their season-opening game at the University of Jamestown (N.D.) on Sat., Sept. 1. The Cougars and their head coach Kevin Donley, the winningest active coach in college football with a 302-129-1 record in 38 seasons, open the home portion of the 2017 season on Sat., Sept. 9 at noon against University of St. Francis (Ill.) in an MSFA crossover game. The USF Fighting Saints are a member of the MSFA Midwest League.
Year Poll Preseason All-America Team
2007 USF No. 1 Tim Farrell, Jr., DE
2008 USF No. 3 none
2009 USF No. 5 Daniel Carter, Sr., RB
2010 USF No. 10 Brendan Carragher, Sr., OL
2011 USF No. 4 none
2012 did not publish yearbooks
2013 USF No. 7 Taylor Brown, Sr., DB
Kollin Carman, Sr., P
2014 NR Keith Harris, Sr., LB
2015 NR none
2016 USF No. 3 Nick Ferrer, Jr., QB
2017 USF No. 1 Piercen Harnish, Jr., LB