TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology football team has been ranked No. 23 nationally and senior Alec Thompson has been named in a preseason All-American in Street & Smith's 2017 College Football Preview, available on newsstands nationwide.
Rose-Hulman was ranked No. 23 in the publication's preseason Top 25 poll after reaching the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the first time in program history last season. The Fightin' Engineers finished 8-3 overall and won a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship last fall. The Fightin' Engineers shared the league title with Franklin College, but earned a trip to the NCAA Playoffs with its 23-22 win over the Grizzlies last October.
Thompson was named as one of four defensive backs on the Street & Smith's Division III All-America Team after a stellar 2016 season. He is a two-time D3football.com All-North Region selection and has twice earned first-team all-HCAC honors. The standout also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors as a junior in 2016. His career totals include 80 tackles, 8 interceptions and 15 pass breakups.
The 2017 Rose-Hulman football team should be another veteran crew with high expectations. Rose-Hulman is projected to return five offensive, seven defensive starters and the HCAC Special Teams Player of the Year from the 2016 squad. The team ranked among the HCAC leaders in total offense (404.8 ypg) and scoring offense (32.2 ppg), while leading the conference in scoring defense (18.9 ppg), sacks (38) and defensive touchdowns (4).
Reigning HCAC Coach of the Year Jeff Sokol returns an experienced crew featuring eight returning all-conference players. Projected returnees who earned all-league honors last year include defensive back Tyler Brutofsky; running back Stanley Hogan; tight end Michael Iacono; linebacker Kaelen Garner; linebacker Mike Henry; Thompson; offensive lineman Parker Young; and Special Teams Player of the Year Matt Murray.
The No. 23 national ranking marks the first time Rose-Hulman has appeared in an NCAA Division III Top 25 poll since 1988.
The 2017 season begins with a road game Sept. 2 at Illinois College, followed by a three-game September homestand against Millikin, Hanover and Defiance. Other home games include a Homecoming matchup with Mount St. Joseph on Oct. 7, and a Senior Day contest against Franklin on Oct. 21.