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R-MC Football Ranked No. 26 in Preseason National Poll

Double block by R-MC offensive line
Double block by R-MC offensive line

ASHLAND, Va. - Following its deepest run in the NCAA Tournament, the Randolph-Macon football team has been ranked No. 26 in the College Football America Yearbook's 2019 Division III Preseason Top 30.

Head coach Pedro Arruza, entering his 16th season at R-MC, led the Yellow Jackets to an 8-2 regular-season mark in 2018 and a 6-1 record in ODAC play. R-MC won its 11th ODAC title, tying Emory & Henry for the most championships in the history of the conference. The Yellow Jackets earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and received a trip to No 8 John Carroll. R-MC won its first NCAA playoff game in program history with a 23-20 victory over the Blue Streaks. The Yellow Jackets would have their season end at No. 23 Muhlenberg in the second round of the NCAA Championship.

The Yellow Jackets finished No. 18 in the final D3football.com Top 25. R-MC compiled a record of 9-3, tying the program mark for victories in a season. The Yellow Jackets played 12 games for the first time in school history. R-MC was ranked in the D3football.com poll for the first time since the 2010 season. The Yellow Jackets were ranked in the final D3football.com poll of the season for the first time in the 16-year history of the poll. It is R-MC's highest final ranking since finishing No. 5 in the NCAA poll at the end of the 1984 season.

Arruza was named 2018 ODAC Coach of the Year, State Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID), and earned the Willard Bailey Coach of the Year Award by the Touchdown Club of Richmond.

R-MC returns 12 All-ODAC performers from a season ago. Senior quarterback Burke Estes (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) was the ODAC Scholar-Athlete for football. All-ODAC First Team returnees include senior tight end Sam Tanner (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis), senior offensive lineman Jake Wernle (Purcellville, Va./Woodgrove), senior defensive lineman Steve McNair (Elkridge, Md./Howard), senior defensive back Anthony Williams (Ashburn, Va./Woodgrove) and junior kicker Chris Vidal (Wake, N.C./Wake Forest). R-MC brings back three from the All-ODAC Second Team: senior running back Tre Frederick (Angier, N.C./West Johnston), senior linebacker Bryan Sullivan (Boynton Beach, Fla./West Boca Raton) and senior defensive back Calvin Whitehead (Richmond, Va./Hermitage). Three Yellow Jackets return from the All-ODAC Third Team: senior defensive back De'Angelo Barr (Washington, D.C./Fairfax), junior running back Jordan Hall (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and junior offensive lineman Connor Denning (Benson, N.C./West Johnston).

Frederick, Tanner and Wernle were All-Region selections as well.

Randolph-Macon is scheduled to open the 2019 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 5 against fourth-ranked Johns Hopkins at 7 p.m. on Day Field.

2019 College Football America Division III Preseason Top 30

1. Mount Union

2. Mary Hardin-Baylor

3. Wisconsin-Whitewater

4. Johns Hopkins

5. St. Thomas (MN)

6. Saint John's

7. North Central

8. Hardin-Simmons

9. Bethel (MN)

10. Linfield

11. Wesley

12. Muhlenberg

13. Wisconsin-Oshkosh

14. John Carroll

15. Wittenberg

16. RPI

17. Wheaton

18. Delaware Valley

19. Washington & Jefferson

20. Alfred

21. Centre

22. Berry

23. Brockport

24. Whitworth

25. Ithaca

26. Randolph-Macon

27. Illinois Wesleyan

28. Husson

29. Trinity (TX)

30. Trinity (CT)