No. 4 Jacksonville St. leads ASN dozen in Athlon’s FCS Preseason Top 25

Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins runs by TSU's Gabe Terry during the Jacksonville State at Tennessee State football game. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

Jacksonville State, which ended last season the No. 2-ranked FCS team in the nation, is fourth in the Athlon FCS Preseason Top 25 — the highest preseason ranking in school history.

The defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Gamecocks (10-2 overall, 8-0 conference), No. 7 in the Sporting News’ FCS Preseason Top 25, return seven starters on an offense that produced a school-record 510.8 yards per game, including quarterback Eli Jenkins (1,870 yards and 12 touchdowns passing, 813 and six touchdowns rushing) and wide receiver Josh Barge (56 catches for 919 yards and four touchdowns).

Athlon’s rankings are compiled by Craig Haley of The Sports Network. The other ranked ASN-affiliated teams by conference:

  • CAA: Villanova at No. 5, New Hampshire at No. 9, James Madison at No. 14, Richmond at No. 20
  • Big South: Coastal Carolina at No. 7, Liberty at No. 12
  • Ivy League: Harvard at No. 22
  • Ohio Valley: Eastern Illinois at No. 15, Eastern Kentucky at No. 21
  • Southern: Chattanooga at No. 8, Western Carolina at No. 23

Athlon’s FCS Preseason Top 25

  1. North Dakota State
  2. Illinois State
  3. Sam Houston State
  4. Jacksonville State
  5. Villanova
  6. Eastern Washington
  7. Coastal Carolina
  8. Chattanooga
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Youngstown State
  11. Northern Iowa
  12. Liberty
  13. Montana State
  14. James Madison
  15. Eastern Illinois
  16. McNeese State
  17. Montana
  18. Idaho State
  19. South Dakota State
  20. Richmond
  21. Eastern Kentucky
  22. Harvard
  23. Western Carolina
  24. Cal Poly
  25. Indiana State

On the cover: Jacksonville State’s Eli Jenkins, who accounted for 2,683 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. (JSU photo courtesy Steve Latham)