Coming off an 0-10 campaign, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets football team is picked to place 10th in the newly revamped American Southwest Conference in head coach Braxton Harris' first season.
The Yellow Jackets, who open their regular season Sept. 2 at Southwestern Assemblies of God, received 52 points in the preseason coaches and media poll, which was revealed Friday. Howard Payne's conference opener takes place Sept. 9 at McMurry, while HPU's home opener falls Sept. 16 against ASC rival Hardin-Simmons.
Joining recent ASC additions McMurry and Belhaven, Texas Lutheran returns to the conference for football only, while Southwestern is coming aboard for football only as well.
Defending NCAA Division III national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (15-0, 6-0) is again the preseason ASC favorite, receiving 297 points and 27 of 30 first-place votes. Hardin-Simmons (9-2, 5-1) received the other three first-place votes and amassed 272 points. The rest of the poll features East Texas Baptist (7-3, 3-3, 214 points) in third place, Sul Ross (6-4, 4-2, 201 points) in fourth, Louisiana College (4-6, 1-5, 156 points) in fifth, Southwestern (7-3, 129 points) in sixth, Texas Lutheran (2-8, 126 points) in seventh, McMurry (4-5, 122 points ) in eighth, Belhaven (2-8, 82 points) in ninth and the Yellow Jackets in 10th place.
Preseason players of the year include Mary Hardin-Baylor junior quarterback/receiver T.J. Josey on offense, UMHB senior defensive tackle Haston Adams on defense, and Hardin-Simmons return specialist Alex Bell for special teams.