We are still two months away from football practice in early August, but football talk has begun! This week, the first preseason Top 25 FCS poll was released by Athlon Sports magazine and the McNeese Cowboys came in at number 24. McNeese was one of 3 Southland Conference teams to make the poll, Sam Houston State was at 4, and Central Arkansas at 17.

The Cowboys finished 6-5 under 1st year head coach Lance Guidry in 2016. The Pokes will return a number of starters on both sides of the ball.

The offense will be led by returning starting QB James Tabary. The SLC and Louisiana Newcomer of the Year finished with 3,036 yards passing and 23 touchdowns. McNeese will also return a number of running backs from last year's team. The Ross brothers, Ryan and Lawayne, combined for 819 yards and 7 TDs. Justin Pratt had 547 yards on the ground, and David Hamm will return after sitting out last year with an injury. The Cowboys will return their top 5 receivers including Darious Crawley who led the team with 41 catches.

On defense, McNeese will return 7 starters. Defensive linemen Jammerio Gross and Chris Livings return on the front line, while Ashari Goins and Christian Jacobs will lead the linebacking corp. In the defensive backfield, Andre Fuller, Damion Morgan, and Jermaine Antoine will provide experienced leadership.

The Cowboys will kickoff the 2017 season in Thibodaux against Nicholls State on Thursday, August 31st. All McNeese football games can be heard on 92.9 The Lake!