Energy and activity are the buzzwords for many two-year college campuses around Minnesota this week, as most community and technical colleges began classes to kick off the 2017-18 academic year. Weeks before faculty, staff and students jostled for parking spots and stood in line at the bookstore, football programs in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference were also hard at work during preseason camp, preparing for the 2017 football campaign.
With new rules regarding college football preseason camps in place, many programs are welcoming the extra preparation that a September 2nd opening day offers their squads. Coaches - both veteran and new - are using this added time to implement new offensive schemes, tweak their defense and look to determine their special teams standouts. The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is pleased to offer fans, families and followers of MCAC Football a weekly update with scores, summaries and links to stories about all things football in the only NJCAA Division III football conference in the country.
Read on to learn more about Minnesota College Athletic Conference 2017 Football season in this Preview Week edition.
Central Lakes College, the reigning MCAC Champion and 2016 Red Grange Bowl participant, comes into 2017 ranked #13 in the preseason NJCAA poll. With the Raiders idle in week one of the national football calendar, Coach Greg Medeck's squad will watch and wait for the opportunity to compete on September 2nd, when they travel to Worthington, Minnesota to face Minnesota West CTC.
Also in the national rankings, North Dakota State College of Science, who is receiving votes in the national poll, is looking to go one final step further in 2017. The Wildcats battled their way to the MCAC 2017 State Championship game, where they fell just short, losing 36 - 28 to Central Lakes. NDSCS kicks off their MCAC schedule on September 2, playing at home against Vermilion Community College.
2016 MCAC Standouts 'Rowing the Boat':
College football fans around the state are closely watching the University of Minnesota, where PJ Fleck is looking to turn around the Gopher's ship in the Big Ten and on the national stage. The 2017 edition of varsity football at the University of Minnesota includes two 2016 football athletes from the Minnesota College Athletic Conference.
Jack Leius, who played at Itasca Community College and Vince Magana, from Central Lakes College, both are now members of Fleck's squad at the University of Minnesota. Leius will suit up wearing #29 and is listed as a defensive back in the Gopher lineup. Magana, #53, will take his spot in the offensive line this fall at U-of-M. All eyes will be on the Gophers - and Fleck - as Minnesota looks to rock and row the boat on Thursday, August 31st, when Minnesota hosts the University of Buffalo. Kickoff is at 6pm at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Several other NCAA Division I roster spots have included athletes from around the MCAC. Christian Vinson, a wide receiver, will suit up for Florida International University; Vinson competed for Northland Community & Technical College in 2016 and he will get a feel for high-level college football when FIU takes on University of Central Florida next week. Central Lakes College former defensive stalwart, Tykeise Johnson , is playing at the University of North Dakota.
From North Dakota State College of Science, NCAA Division I athletes include Cameron Rampersaud, who will wear #45 and line up at defensive tackle for Alabama State and Kezelee Flomo, a former Totino-Grace H.S. running back who will wear #30 at the University of Kansas. Earning perhaps the most frequent flier miles among MCAC products is long-snapper Tim O'Donnell, a native of Queensland, Australia who is now at New Mexico State University, as is fellow former Wildcat, Komotay Koffie, who is a defensive back for the Aggies.
Staying in the Minnesota State system:
Over 35 players from 2016 Minnesota College Athletic Conference have matriculated to four-year college football programs at the various NCAA Division II, III and NAIA levels. A handful of those remained both in state and within the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, with Bemidji State University drawing significantly from MCAC teams. The Beavers have picked up several Conference student-athletes in the past two years, listing eight MCAC alums on the current roster.
Former Raiders Maurice Willis (#23), Andrew Walock (#30) and Vamough Kanneh (#47) of Central Lakes College, join Alex Partidge (#91) of Ridgewater College, as well as Northland products Mark Webster (#92)and Michael Washington (#3). Also on the BSU squad, fans will see Roshea Grays (#42) from Itasca Community College, as well as Andre Chisley, Jr. (#46) a NDSCS product.
On their 2017 roster, Winona State University will deploy Jorgen Erickson at linebacker, wearing #58, while at Southwest Minnesota State, linebacker Emmanuel Ehrich (NDSCS) and Diondre Green (RCTC) team up for the Mustangs.
Saint Cloud State University, host of the 2017 MCAC State Championship game on Sunday, November 12th, has Kenny Reid, a defensive lineman from Minnesota West CTC and Gregory Lewis III, from Central Lakes College taking the field this fall. Minnesota State Moorhead also has found success recruiting the MCAC with Casey Paskey a linebacker from North Dakota State College of Science and kicker Hobet Diaz, a M-State Fergus Falls product, suiting up this year.
Around the Corner:
All MCAC teams kickoff the 2017 season on Saturday, September 2nd. Week 1 match-ups are as follows:
|Dakota College-Bottineau||@ Itasca CC||1:30pm||Grand Rapids, Mn|
|Ridgewater College||@ Fond du Lac||2pm||Superior, WI|
|Vermilion CC @||@ (rv) NDSCS||2pm||Wapehton, ND|
|#13 Central Lakes College||@ Minnesota West CTC||2:30pm||Worthington, Mn|
|Rochtester CTC||@ Northland CTC||3pm||Thief River Falls, Mn|
|M-State Fergus Falls||@ Mesabi Range College||3pm||Virginia, Mn|
For more information on the 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference football season, be sure to bookmark these links:
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference website main page is: http://www.mcacsports.org/landing/index
This release sponsored in part by Gopher Sport.
Gopher Sport, based in Owatonna, is an industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment. Gopher Sport is dedicated to providing programs and departments with the products to improve fitness, develop skills, create fun and reach a high standard of learning and living. Gopher Sport has diligently served teachers, coaches and athletic directors around the world for over 65 years.