Greg Croshaw's Dixie State Rebels are listed numero uno and who can argue with that? They may be JC Grid-Wire's top pick too by the first of September, but it will probably be a dogfight with the likes of San Francisco, Fresno, Grossmont, Canyons from the California side and our favorite darkhorse pick, Northeastern Oklahoma.
Dixie State returns QB Danny Southwick, who should get super protection from Scott Fisher, 6-8, 315 on the leftside and Mark Taylor, 6-9, 300, on the right. Danny is only 6-2, so if those two stand up in front of him it would be like blotting out the sun. Dixie has lost 2,2,l,3 and 1 games in each of the past five years. Always a hot article, somehow, one of those WSFL foes manages to stick a finger in the glue pot and squelch the Rebel hopes.
Dale Patterson lost a lot of talent at NEO the past two years, but still has 35 lettermen back, including RB Charles Elix, who gained 1,708 yards as a freshman in 2003. Their problem is having to cross the Red River for half the schedule in Texas and someone always turns up on the un-neighborly side. The offense is really solid, but freshmen will have to come through on the "D."
Northwest Mississippi is the NJCAA second choice. The Rangers will be good, but maybe not that good with a skimpy handful of D1 prospects on hand and heavy losses at key positions.
We look for Snow (ranked 6 by the NJCAA) to be a major thorn for Dixie State with the potential of taking the top spot. Butler County comes off an amazing 12-0 season and Troy Morrell had a great stockpile of talent on hand for 2004. The Grizzlies ended up tied for the J.C. Grid-Wire national title with CCSF and won the NJCAA crown. Winning draws the talent so placing them 3rd is probably about right. Wake Forest transfer might be the solution at QB.
We agree that Blinn should be the top Texas team. The NJCAA has the Bucs 7th and that could be about right with a torrid passing game featuring Daniel Marshall to Rashod Turner and some big and burly linemen.
Overall we look for Garden City to be in the Kansas hunt, Nassau to rule the East and Joliet to have its usual fine collection of talent. Pearl River is a legitimate sleeper.
Here is the official NJCAA Pre-Season poll. Their first poll of the season comes out September 7.
|1||Dixie State||St. George, UT||10-2|
|2||Northwest Mississippi||Senatobia, MS||8-2|
|3||Butler County||El Dorado, KS||12-0|
|4||NE Oklahoma A&M||Miami, OK||10-2|
|5||Pearl River||Poplarville, MS||10-1|
|9||Georgia Military||Milledgeville, GA||8-3|
|10||Iowa Central||Fort Dodge, IA||10-1|
|11||Nassau||Garden City, NY||7-2|
|14||Garden City||Garden City, KS||5-5|
|15||William Rainey Harper||Palatine, IL||10-1|
|18||Rochester CTC||Rochester, MN||9-3|
|20||Jones County||Ellisville, MS||7-2|
|23||Grand Rapids||Grand Rapids, MI||6-4|
|24||Ellsworth||Iowa Falls, IA||6-4|
|Other schools receiving votes|
|Arizona Western||Yuma, AZ||7-4|
|Hudson Valley||Troy, NY||8-2|
|Mesabi Range CTC||Virginia, MN||10-1|
|Mississippi Delta||Moorhead, MS||7-3|
|Morrisville State||Morrisville, NY||7-4|
|N. Mexico Military||Roswell, NM||5-6|
|Ridgewater CTC||Willmar, MN||6-3|
|Southwest Mississippi||Summit, MS||5-4|
Read the NJCAA's accompanying story, which includes team capsules for the top 10.