The Midwestern State Mustangs have been slated as a top five team in the ranking of a pair of preseason magazines.
Midwestern, coming off a 10-0 regular season before falling in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, is ranked fourth nationally by Lindy's Sports College Football Preview and fifth by USA Today 2012 College Football.
Lindy's has MSU behind defending national champion Pittsburg State in the top spot, with Minnesota-Duluth (the 2010 national champ) second and Northwest Missouri State third. Defending runner up Wayne State (Mich.) is fifth, followed by Delta State (Miss.), Winston-Salem (N.C.), Colorado State-Pueblo, Grand Valley State (Mich.) and New Haven (Conn.) in the top 10.
Lindy's, who picked a top 25, placed Lone Star Conference foe Abilene Christian 13th, with 2012 opponent West Alabama 14th.
USA Today placed the Mustangs fifth in their top 10 rankings, keeping Pitt State, Minnesota-Duluth and Northwest Missouri as the top three and moving Grand Valley to fourth. Colorado State-Pueblo is sixth, followed by Missouri Western, West Alabama, Abilene Christian and California (Pa.).
The magazines highlight returning senior quarterback Brandon Kelsey, who finished fourth in the Harlon Hill Award voting as a junior, and junior running back Keidrick Jackson, as a key reason the Mustangs are expected to have a great season.
Kelsey, who threw for 1,951 yards last season while rushing for 967, was the Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. Jackson led the LSC in rushing with 1,044 yards or 94.9 per game.
Offensive tackle Ken Van Huele, a 6-4, 320 pound senior from Hurst/L.D. Bell, was chosen to Lindy's first team preseason All-America team. He helped anchor an offensive line that saw the Mustangs lead the LSC in scoring offense (48.6 points per game), total offense (531.9 yards a game), rushing offense (323.5 ypg) and pass efficiency offense (161.2 rating).
Kelsey and Jackson were both named second team preseason All-America by Lindy's.
The LSC was also represented on Lindy's list by ACU's Mitchell Gale, who was the first team quarterback and preseason MVP. Texas A&M-Kingsville's Jonathan Woodson who was tabbed second team all-purpose player and Tarleton State's Marquis Wadley was chosen second team linebacker.
Midwestern opens the season on Saturday, Sept. 8 at Tarleton State, with the Mustangs first game at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 29 against Incarnate Word.
USA Today Division II Top 10
1. Pittsburg State (13-1 in 2011)
2. Minnesota-Duluth (11-3)
3. NW Missouri St. (11-3)
4. Grand Valley St. (8-3)
5. Midwestern St. (10-1)
6. Colorado State-Pueblo (11-1)
7. Missouri Western St. (9-3)
8. West Alabama (8-4)
9. Abilene Christian (8-3)
10. California (Pa.) (10-3)
Lindy's Sports Preseason Top 25