North Central College football enters 2023 as preseason favorites

North Central College football takes the field
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After winning the 2022 Division III football National Championship, North Central College enters this season as the number one ranked team according to the preseason poll. It’s the first time in school history that North Central is ranked number one to start the season.

Cardinals enter 2023 with a record number of All-Americans

The Cardinals received 22 of the 25 first place votes with 2022 runner up Mt. Union receiving the other three votes in the poll. NCC defeated the Purple Raiders 28-21 to win the program’s second National Championship in the past three seasons, finishing the year with a perfect 15-0 record.

Despite the graduation of the Gagliardi Award winning running back Ethan Greenfield, North Central leads the nation with a program record five preseason All-Americans as selected by D3football. Senior wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy, junior tackle Jeske Maples and senior center Jarod Thornton were all first team offense selections. Senior defensive tackle Dan Lester and cornerback Antoine Walker were named to the first team defense.

Mt. Union also has five preseason All-Americans however, the Cardinals are the only team with more than three first team members. Hardy, Maples, Lester and Walker were each first team All-American selections following the 2022 season, while Thornton was an All-Region selection. NCC also returns dual threat quarterback Luke Lehnen, who has led the Cardinals to National Championship game appearances the past two seasons.

North Central opens the 2023 campaign on Saturday, September 2nd at Roosevelt University. The season premiere of The Red Zone debuts on Thursday, September 14th with the home opener following on September 16th against Carthage.