The Hobart football team will begin the 2009 season ranked 17th in the nation according to the Sporting News college football preview issue. Cornerback Drake Woodard was named a preseason All-American by the publication, the only sophomore to be so honored.
In 2008, the Statesmen, who were ranked 17th in the final D3football.com poll, posted a 9-2 record, winning their eighth Liberty League Championship since the conference was founded in 1995. Hobart earned its fifth consecutive and seventh overall NCAA Playoff bid, topping Lycoming in the first round before falling to eventual national champion Mount Union.
Hobart will welcome back 36 lettermen, including 14 starters (7 defense, 7 offense). The ECAC Northwest and Liberty League Rookie of the Year, Woodard (42 tkls, 7 INT in ’08) is the most decorated of those returnees. He finished second in the conference in picks, one shy of teammate Lance Boyington ’09, and tied for 14th in the nation in interceptions per game (0.64). Woodard was a unanimous selection to the All-Liberty League first team, and was the only first-year to earn a place on the D3Football.com All-East first team.
The Statesmen will open their 116th varsity season on Sept. 12 at Dickinson. Hobart’s home opener against Carnegie Mellon on Sept. 19 will be televised by Time Warner Cable Sports. The Statesmen will also host St. Lawrence (Oct. 3), Merchant Marine (Oct. 24), and Rensselaer.