BLUE DRAGONS PICKED 4TH IN 2017 KJCCC FOOTBALL POLL

Blue Dragon Football Coach Rion Rhoades speaks at the annual Jayhawk Conference Media Day at Newman University in Wichita. The Blue Dragons were picked to finish fourth in the 2017 Jayhawk Conference football season. (Steve Carpenter/HCC Sports Information)
Blue Dragon Football Coach Rion Rhoades speaks at the annual Jayhawk Conference Media Day at Newman University in Wichita. The Blue Dragons were picked to finish fourth in the 2017 Jayhawk Conference football season. (Steve Carpenter/HCC Sports Information)
2017 Jayhawk Conference Football
Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Garden City (12-0 in 2016)

2. Dodge City (7-4)

3. Independence (5-4)

4. Hutchinson (5-6)


5. Butler (7-4)

6. Highland (7-4)

7. Coffeyville (6-5)

8. Fort Scott (4-7)
 
Click to watch the 2017
Jayhawk Conference Football Media Day

HCC Sports Information
Friday, July 28, 2017

WICHITA – With the air of change apparent at Friday's annual Jayhawk Conference Media Day at Newman University, the Hutchinson Community College football team was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coached poll.

The change that was alluded to by several of the conference coaches was the unlimited roster size and unlimited out-of-state rules that were voted in last year.

Speaking at his 11th Jayhawk Conference Media Day, Blue Dragon head coach Rion Rhoades talked about the 2017 Blue Dragons, who are looking to improve from back-to-back 5-6 seasons.

 "This league is competitive. It's big time," Rhoades told the gather of media, coaches and league officials. "We have a great product. We have a lot of great coaches. We have a lot of great players. When you have guys going to the National Football League, it's a big deal.

"The parity in this conference has been incredible. There have been four different teams to win the league championship in the last four years and Garden City won the national championship last year."

Hutchinson's fourth-place predicted finish is the lowest since being predicted fourth in 2010.

Defending national champion Garden City earned the preseason No. 1 selected. Dodge City was picked second and Independence was selected to finish third. After Hutchinson were Butler, Highland, Coffeyville and Fort Scott.

Twenty-one total players, 19 who started at least one game in 2016, are back for the Blue Dragons, who lost all six games in 2016 by a combined total of 24 points.

The Blue Dragons have two quarterbacks who started games last season – Chris James and Cam Jones. The Dragons return two starting running backs in DeShawn Waller and Otis Williams. Dominic Taylor started all 11 games for the Blue Dragons on the offensive line.

The defensive backfield and linebacking corps have the most experience returning. Linebackers Quen Head and Guy Victoria, the Blue Dragons' Nos. 1 and 3 tacklers in 2016, are both back, along with injured starter Colby Turner. Adrian Cross, Michael Witherspoon, Storey Jackson and Lawson Holbert make up potentially a very good secondary.

All-conference defensive tackle Taylan Humphrey will anchor a young defensive line.

The Blue Dragons will open fall camp on Wednesday, August 2.

Hutchinson will open the 2017 season at home at noon on Saturday, August 26 against the Coffeyville Red Ravens.

The Blue Dragon home games in 2017 are Coffeyville, Rezolution Prep on September 9, Highland on September 23, Iowa Central on September 30, Butler on October 21 and Fort Scott on November 4. All home games again will be at noon.