Manchester University was slotted for a seventh-place finish on the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's preseason football coaches' poll, released Wednesday, Aug. 9.
The Black and Gold received 37 points, just five behind Defiance College for sixth. Seven-time defending champion Franklin College was the favorite, compiling 88 points and seven first-place votes. Rose-Hulman (80 points – one first-place vote) and Bluffton University (70 points – one first-place vote) rounded out the top three.
Coach Nate Jensen's team had eight individuals noted in the Players To Watch section. They were senior wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.); junior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.); sophomore wide receiver Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind.); senior offensive lineman Eric Beard (Findlay, Ohio); senior linebacker Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.); senior linebacker Mitch Oskam (St. John, Ind.); junior offensive lineman Brady Nyland (Avon, Ind.) and senior wide receiver Bailey Partington (Lapel, Ind.).
Manchester University begins its 2017 season Thursday, Aug. 31, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at in-state non-conference rival Trine University.