Jul. 10, 2018
Wildcats Ranked 11th in Street and Smith's 2018 Preseason Football Poll
The 2018 Street & Smith's College Football Yearbook has Central Washington ranked 11th in its preseason rankings. The Wildcats are the only Great Northwest Athletic Conference program ranked in the Top 25, a one of six teams from Super Region 4 (#3 Minnesota State, #6 Texas A&M Commerce, #10 Midwestern State, #15 Sioux Falls, #25 Colorado School of Mines).
The Wildcats finished 2017 ranked 7th in the nation after finishing the regular season 11-0 and earning the top overall seed in the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 Championships.
Central Washington returns 40 letter winners from a year ago, including 13 starters. All eight returning starters on the offensive side of the ball come upfront or in the backfield.
Four of the five starters on the offensive line return and big things are expected from this star-studded veteran unit. Last season, the Wildcats ranked 11th in rushing offense and top 15 in sacks allowed. The offensive line is anchored by All-American left tackle James Moore, who did not give up a sack in the Wildcats first 10 games of the season. The o-line group also features all-Region guard Nicholas Streubel, and all-GNAC tackle Luke Asbjornsen.
At signal caller GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Reilly Hennessey, looks for an encore performance in 2017 where he threw for 2,552 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also ran for a CWU record 572 yards and five scores, and threw five touchdowns in three consecutive games, which also set a new program record.
Joining Hennessey in the backfield is a talented running back core. Returning from injury a year ago is Christian Cummings who totaled 594 yards and five touchdowns before missing the final five games of the season. As a team, the Wildcats ran for 2,908 yards and 32 touchdowns aided by the duo of Hasani Childs and Jordan Tufaga who accounted for 703 yards.
The Wildcats bolstered the offensive backfield with the addition of transfers Cedric Cooper (Southwestern Oklahoma State, Zach Floyd (Portland State), and Michael Roots (Southern Oregon).
On the defensive end of things, the Wildcats return five starters, most notably DB Tyler Hasty, ad DL Billy Greer. Hasty was a first-team all-American on many 2017 lists after leading the conference with 8 interceptions and 20 pass breakups.
Billy Greer established himself as one of the nation's best pass rushers after snatching 11.0 sacks in 10 games, ranking in the top 15 nationally in sacks per game. Greer also had 15.0 tackles for loss and 8 QB hurries.
Linebacker Tevin Gray is the top tackler from a year ago with 54 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5 breakups and an interception.
Central Washington will open the 2018 season on the road at Eastern Washington University on Sept. 1.
Street and Smith's Magazine Preseason DII Top 25 Poll
1. West Florida (11-4)
2. Indiana, Pa. (13-1)
3. Minnesota State (13-1)
4. Fort Hays State, Kan. (11-1)
5. Grand Valley State, Mich. (8-3)
6. Texas A&M Commerce (14-1)
7. Indianapolis (11-1)
8. Harding, Ark. (11-4)
9. Northwest Missouri State, 9-3
10. Midwestern State, Texas (10-1)
11. Central Washington (11-1)
12. Shepherd, W.V., 10-1
13. Ashland, Ohio, 11-2
14. Colorado State-Pueblo, 9-3
15. Sioux Falls, 9-3
16. West Georgia, 9-4
17. Assumption, 11-2
18. Central Missouri, 9-3
19. Ferris State, Mich., 11-2
20. West Alabama, 10-3
21. Findlay, Ohio, 10-3
22. Carson-Newman, Tenn., 8-3
23. Virginia State, 10-1
24. Edinboro, Pa., 7-4
25. Colorado School of Mines, 7-4