Street & Smith’s Gives Eagles, Prater Jr. Preseason Plaudits

Street & Smith’s Gives Eagles, Prater Jr. Preseason Plaudits

LINK – ASHLAND UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL PAGE

The calendar doesn't officially recognize summer until June 21.

There are, however, those who already are looking ahead to the fall. Street & Smith's employs such folks, and in its 2018 college football preview magazine, Ashland University's football team is ranked No. 13 in its NCAA Division II preseason poll, while senior defensive end James Prater Jr. is a D-II preseason All-American.

In 2017, the Eagles finished 11-2 with a first-round D-II postseason home win and a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Eagles ended the campaign ranked 10th in the final 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches' Top 25 poll.

Heading into the 2018 campaign, Ashland returns 12 starters – six on offense, five on defense and one on special teams.

This fall's schedule will feature three opponents also ranked in the Street & Smith's preseason Top 25 – No. 2 Indiana (Pa.) to open the season on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, No. 19 Ferris State on the road on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m., and No. 5 Grand Valley State on the road on Nov. 3.

Prater Jr. is coming off one of the most dominant seasons for an Ashland defensive lineman in a generation in 2017, racking up a program-record 23½ tackles for loss, resulting in 104 yards in losses; 42 solo tackles, 10 sacks, 63 total stops, an interception, eight pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

Entering his senior campaign, Prater Jr. has 31 career tackles for loss, fourth-most in program history.

 

2018 STREET AND SMITH'S PRESEASON TOP 25 – NCAA DIVISION II FOOTBALL

1. West Florida

2. Indiana, Pa.

3. Minnesota State

4. Fort Hays State

5. Grand Valley State

6. Texas A&M-Commerce

7. Indianapolis

8. Harding

9. Northwest Missouri State

10. Midwestern State

11. Central Washington

12. Shepherd

13. ASHLAND

14. Colorado State-Pueblo

15. Sioux Falls

16. West Georgia

17. Assumption

18. Central Missouri

19. Ferris State

20. West Alabama

21. Findlay

22. Carson-Newman

23. Virginia State

24. Edinboro

25. Colorado School of Mines

 

 

AU

FB/DS