HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison was tabbed the preseason favorite by HERO Sports, as the Dukes earned the #1 ranking in the HERO Sports FCS Top 25 preseason poll.
The Dukes have reached the FCS playoffs in each of the past five seasons, which included a national championship in 2016 and a national runner-up finish in 2017. JMU is one of only two FCS schools to average 10 wins a season since 2014 and one of just five in all of Division I football (FBS and FCS).
JMU is coming off a 9-4 season last fall, finishing second in the Colonial Athletic Association standings while reaching the second round of the 2018 FCS postseason. The Dukes ranked in the top 10 of five statistical categories, including punt-return offense (21.31), kick-return defense (14.3), sixth in both scoring defense (14.6) and total defense (289.5) and 10th in rushing defense (104.4).
The Dukes return two of four All-Americans in punt returner D’Angelo Amos and defensive lineman John Daka, as well as 12 of 14 All-CAA honorees. JMU brings back 20 of 22 starters, with 10 on each side of the ball, and also returns All-American corner Rashad Robinson, who missed last season to injury.
JMU also ranked #2 in the Athlon Sports FCS Preseason Top 25, which was released on Tuesday. The Dukes were one of four CAA schools to receive preseason recognition from HERO Sports, while five were ranked by Athlon.
Later this summer, STATS and the AFCA will unveil the primary media and coaches polls.