NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Eight Manchester University football student-athletes were recognized on the "Players to Watch" section of the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's preseason coaches poll, released Thursday, August 9.
A senior quartet consisting of offensive lineman Brady Nyland (Avon, Ind.), defensive lineman Jacob Cooper (Fairland, Ind.) and Garrett Walker (Valparaiso, Ind.) and defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) led the octet. Three juniors (defensive lineman Nolan Sipe of Fort Wayne, Ind.; running back Donovan Henderson, Jr., of Hollywood, Fla.; and wide receiver Austin Roberts of Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore offensive lineman Connor Bettis (Rockville, Ind.) rounded out the Black and Gold designees. Henderson, Jr., and Nelson are returning all-loop honorees after gaining second-team mention last season, while Cooper, Roberts, and Sipe were all placed on the honorable mention list.
Head coach Nate Jensen's program, coming off a 6-4 overall and 5-3 league record from 2017, was picked fifth, garnering 53 points. Eight-time defending champion Franklin College was slated to top the conference, edging Rose-Hulman 87-84 in points and 6-3 in first place votes. Mt. St. Joseph University (68 points) and Hanover College (65 points) held down the third and fourth spots just in front of the Spartans.
MU begins the season Thursday, August 30, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association member and in-state NCAA Division III rival Trine University.