The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team has been ranked in the top five nationally in the first two preseason Top 25 Polls to be released. Cru standouts Jefferson Fritz and Anthony Avila have also been named Preseason All-America by both of those publications.

UMHB is ranked second in the country by College Football America Yearbook. That publication has Mount Union in the #1 spot, followed by the Cru, North Central, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wheaton College. UMHB is ranked fourth nationally by Lindy’s Magazine in its preseason Top 25 Poll. Lindy’s also has Mount Union in the top spot with Wisconsin-Whitewater ranked second. North Central is just ahead of the Cru in the #3 position and Delaware Valley rounds out the top five.

Fritz and Avila were both named to College Football America’s Starting Lineup, the publication’s version of a preseason All-America Team. Lindy’s lists Avila as a First Team Preseason All-American and placed Fritz on the All-America Second Team. Fritz is a senior safety and punter from Kaufman High School. He recorded 28 total tackles and led the Cru with three interceptions in the spring. Fritz was voted American Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned First Team All-America honors at both safety and punter. Avila is a senior kicker from Troy High School. He hit a pair of field goals and went 15-17 on extra points for 21 total points in an injury shortened spring season. Avila was an Honorable Mention ASC All-Conference selection this spring after earning All-America honors following the 2019 season.

The Cru expects to return nine offensive starters and ten defensive starters from a team that finished 5-0 in the spring and won the ASC title with a 23-15 win over Hardin-Simmons. UMHB will open practice on Thursday, August 12th, with returners practicing in the morning and newcomers hitting the practice field in the evening. The Cru will open the 2021 season with a home game against Simpson College on September 4th.