Football Picked 13th in The Sports Network Preseason Poll

Aug. 19, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University has been picked 13th in the 2003 Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Preseason Poll. The Dolphins have been nationally ranked in one of the three national polls (Don Hansen's Weekly Football Gazette; Dopke.com) for 19 of the last 25 weeks since entering the polls at the start of the 2001 season. JU, which has been picked to finish fourth in the Pioneer Football League South Division in the 2003 PFL Preseason Coaches' Poll, returns 10 starters from last year's young squad, which finished the season 3-7.

Dayton, last year's winner of The Sports Network Cup as the nation's top mid-major program, begins the 2003 season in a familiar position - number one - marking the second consecutive season the Flyers have been tabbed the nation's best I-AA mid-major team. Dayton, which has won four straight Pioneer Football League titles, has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 for 27 of the possible 28 weeks since the poll's inception in 2001. Duquesne, which finished last season 11-1, was ranked No. 2, followed by Albany (8-4) at No. 3 and defending PFL South champion Morehead State at No. 4. Stony Brook (8-2) rounds out the top five. All totaled, the poll features seven teams from the PFL (Dayton, Morehead State, Davidson, San Diego, Jacksonville, Austin Peay and Drake).

The Dolphins return five starters on offense, including All-PFL quarterback Mike Sturgill (Vero Beach, Fla.) and All-PFL running back Chad Davis (Tallahassee, Fla.). Sturgill threw for a school-record 1,876 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, while Davis accounted for a team-best 116.4 all-purpose yards per game. JU also returns preseason All-Americans Jimmy Willman (Ocala, Fla.) at tight end and Matt Meyer (High Springs, Fla.) at left tackle. Defensively, the Dolphins also return five starters, but All-PFL and Preseason All-America free safety Charlton Williams (Lynn Haven, Fla.) is JU's lone returning starter in the secondary. Williams led the team last season with 69 tackles.

The Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Top-10 poll includes the 26 programs of the MAAC, NEC and Pioneer Football League, which play at a non-scholarship or limited scholarship level. An updated poll, which is based on the votes of selected media members and I-AA mid-major media relations directors, will be announced each Monday during the regular season. The team voted first in the final I-AA mid-major poll is the recipient of the Sports Network Cup, to be awarded on Dec. 18, 2003, at the 17th Annual College Football Awards in Chattanooga, Tenn.

2003 Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Preseason Top-10 Poll (First-place votes in parentheses)

Team 2002 Points Final Record 2002 Rank 1. Dayton (12) 11-1 199 1 2. Duquesne (7) 11-1 190 2 3. Albany (2) 8-4 169 3 4. Morehead St. 9-3 128 5 5. Stony Brook 8-2 122 4 6. Sacred Heart 7-3 88 7 7. Davidson 7-3 77 6 8. Wagner 7-4 49 8 9. San Diego 5-5 35 NR 10. Marist 7-4 24 9 Others receiving votes (in order of points, minimum five required): Saint Peter's, Robert Morris, Jacksonville, Central Connecticut, Austin Peay, Drake