The Liberty League football coaches have unanimously selected Hobart College as the preseason favorite to win the conference championship. The two-time defending champion Statesmen are coming off a 12-1 season that included the program’s first undefeated regular season in 55 years.
Hobart received seven first-place votes and 49 points (coaches cannot vote for their own teams). Union (41) edged Springfield (39) for second. The University of Rochester (29) was picked fourth, followed by RPI (22), Merchant Marine (21), WPI (14) and St. Lawrence (9).
Hobart is ranked No. 7 in the D3football.com preseason national poll and was picked No. 12 by the Sporting News and No. 13 by Lindy’s Sports Annual. The Statesmen rattled off a school record 10 consecutive wins to finish the regular season with a 10-0 mark, including seven victories against the Liberty League. Hobart added two more victories in the NCAA playoffs, taking down the nation’s No. 1 rushing offense Washington & Lee 38-20 and No. 24 Wittenberg 35-10 before falling in the quarterfinals to No. 3 St. Thomas.
The Statesmen welcome back 35 letter winners from last season, including six offensive starters and seven defensive starters. The defense, which was fifth in the nation last season (241.0 yds/g), will be led by preseason All-Americans Devin Worthington and Tyre Coleman. One of the fiercest pass rushing duos in the nation, they combined for 119 tackles, 52 tackles for loss, and 27.5 sacks in 2012. Worthington is just seven tackles for loss away from matching the Hobart career record set by Rob Gould ’01 while Coleman needs just 2.5 sacks to match the career record established by Dave Russell ’98.
On offense, senior Steven Webb is coming off a league-high 1,197 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The D3football.com third team All-East pick will be running behind a line that returns three starters, including All-Liberty League picks junior Ali Marpet and sophomore DeAndré Smith Hobart was 10th in the nation last season in sacks allowed (0.62 per game, 8 total).
The Statesmen open their 120th varsity season on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Dickinson College. Hobart will play its home opener two weeks later on Sept. 21, hosting Utica College.