Huntingdon football ranked preseason No. 23 by USA TODAY

McLEAN, Va. --- Following its first appearance in the postseason and a record-tying eight victories in 2009, the Huntingdon football team has earned its first ranking in a preseason poll after being ranked 23rd in the USA Today Sports Weekly Football Preview Special Edition.

The Hawks were among others receiving votes in the 2006 preseason poll, after finishing the 2005 season with a 7-2 record.

Huntingdon returns 30 letter winners from the 2009 squad that finished with an 8-3 record, but just eight starters. The Hawks return three starters on offense, offensive lineman Dino Tampary and wide receivers Cody Pearcy and Brian Watts, while returning five starters on defense in linebackers Quinn Hambrite and Kaleb Futral, as well as defensive backs Shani Smith, DeAngelo Hill and 2009 All-South region performer Keith Anthony.

In addition to their own ranking, the Hawks will face one other team ranked in the preseason top 25, when No. 3 ranked Wesley College visits Sanford Stadium on October 2. The Wolverines have also been ranked third in the Lindy's preseason poll and fifth by The Sporting News.

Source: Huntingdon College sports information

Defending national champion earned the top spot in the poll, followed by national runner-up Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The preview story and poll compilation for the preview was done by Pat Coleman, the publisher of and a former sportswriter at USA Today.

The Hawks open their 2010 campaign on Saturday, September 4, when they host Maryville College at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff for the contest is slated for 1 p.m.

2010 USA Today Division III Preseason Top 25 Poll

1. Mount Union (Ohio)
2. UW-Whitewater
3. Wesley (Del.)
4. St. Thomas (Minn.)
5. Linfield (Ore.)
6. Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas)
7. Wittenberg (Ohio)
8. Delaware Valley (Pa.)
9. St. John's (Minn.)
10. Central (Iowa)
11. UW-Stevens Point
12. Thomas More (Ky.)
13. Ohio Northern
14. Monmouth (Ill.)
15. Otterbein (Ohio)
16. North Central (Ill.)
17. Willamette (Ore.)
18. Hardin-Simmons (Texas)
19. Washington and Jefferson (Pa.)
20. Coe (Iowa)
21. Wabash (Ind.)
22. Trine (Ind.)
23. Huntingdon (Ala.)
24. Cal Lutheran
25. DePauw (Ind.)