School: Bowie State
Coach: Damon Wilson (third season, 12-9)
Last season: (6-4 overall, 5-2 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association)
Outlook: The Bulldogs are picked to finish third this season, according to the CIAA Football Coaches Association poll. Bowie State, however, has its sites set on a conference championship with 15 returning starters. The defense will be led by senior linebacker Delano Johnson (Dunbar), who broke a school record with seven blocked punts, and defensive back Kenneth Turner, both of whom were selected to the preseason All-Defensive team. Clifton "Dominique" Budd switched from receiver to quarterback early last season and broke several school records, including most passing yards in a season (1,538) and most completions (122).
School: Frostburg State
Coach: Tom Rogish (fourth season, 6-23)
Last season: (2-8 overall, 1-2 Atlantic Central Football Conference)
Outlook: Receiver Anthony Young returns after being one of the team's top playmakers last season. Young caught 56 passes for 739 yards with seven touchdowns. Josh Volpe returns as quarterback after playing in eight games last season. Volpe completed 87 of 152 passes for 947 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. The defense will be led by Marcus Wilson (Randallstown), who had 71 tackles and one interception. Frostburg is entering its inaugural season in the Empire 8 Conference and was picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll.
School: John Hopkins
Coach: Jim Margraff (21st season, 137-78-3)
Last season: (8-3 overall record, 6-2 Centennial Conference)
Outlook: After another impressive campaign and a share of the league title, the Blue Jays were picked to win the Centennial Conference for the sixth time since 2002. Johns Hopkins also won the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl last season. Expectations remain high as Johns Hopkins returns 17 starters — eight on offense and nine on defense. Senior quarterback Hewitt Tomlin will lead the attack after throwing for a school-record 3,309 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. Senior receiver Sam Wernick, who was the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year, also is back after finishing with 69 receptions for 1,265 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. The defense will be led by linebacker Ryan Piatek and safety Mike Milano, both seniors who earned First-Team All-Conference last year. Piatek finished with 111 tackles. Milano had 51 tackles and five interceptions.
Coach: Tim Keating, (19th season, 108-75-3)
Last season: (5-5 overall, 4-5 Centennial Conference)
Outlook: Defensive lineman Sam Cox (Towson) returns and will once again lead the Green Terror's defense after being named first-team All-Centennial Conference in 2010. Cox finished third in the conference with seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Linebacker Diego Weiner will also help anchor the defense. He led the team with 74 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and one sack. Also returning is quarterback Tom Massucci, who completed 163 of 340 passes for 1,578 yards and 15 touchdowns — fourth-best in the league. McDaniel was picked to finish eighth in the conference, tied with Susquehanna, according to the preseason coaches' poll.
Coach: Sherman Wood (13th season, 81-44)
Last season: (7-3 overall, 2-1 conference)
Outlook: The Sea Gulls are expected to finish second in the league, according to the Empire 8 Conference Football Preseason Coaches poll. However, Salisbury has the talent and depth to make a run at the conference title. Four seniors were named to the D3 Senior Classic Preseason All-American teams, including senior running back Randal Smedley, who ran for 947 yards with nine touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry and 118.4 per game. Smedley led all conference running backs in yards per game. Also returning are offensive guard Alex Smith and nose guard Matt Leon, who each earned honorable mention preseason All-American honors. Defensive back Ricky Cassidy (South River) also returns after making 55 tackles with one interception last season.
Coach: Ed Hottle (First season, 9-18)
Last season: (inaugural season)
Outlook: Stevenson will play its first game Sept. 3 at Shenandoah and will host its first-ever home game the following weekend against Christopher Newport. The Mustangs were picked to finish ninth in the Middle Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The team will play in a new, $7 million, 3,500-seat stadium on the Owings Mills campus. Stevenson has more than 20 players from the metro-area, including Brandon Sofia (Perry Hall) and K'Vaunte Smith (Archbishop Spalding).