GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Furman Paladins are ranked fifth in the 2023 HERO Sports Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Preseason Top 25, it was announced today.

The Paladins, coming off a 10-3 campaign a year ago that in one stretch featured seven consecutive wins, including a decisive 31-6 first round playoff game triumph over CAA member Elon, shared fifth place with Idaho.  Furman was the highest ranked Southern Conference member school in the poll, which included Samford (8th) and Mercer (19th). Chattanooga also received votes.

Defending champion South Dakota State earned the No. 1 ranking in voting conducted by Hero Sports staff.

Furman was No. 6 in Athlon Sports’ Preseason FCS Top 25 rankings announced last week.

The Paladins were a consensus No. 10 in 2022 final polls conducted by the AFCA and StatsPerform.

Furman head coach Clay Hendrix, entering his seventh season at the helm this fall, is set to welcome the return of 18 starters and 38 players off the Paladins’ 44-man two-deep.

The Paladins kick off the 2023 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 31 when they play host to Tennessee Tech in a 7:00 p.m. contest at Paladin Stadium, and the next week (Sept. 9) take on South Carolina in a 7:30 p.m. SEC Network/ESPN+ televised contest.

2023 HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top 25

1. South Dakota State (3 first-place votes)

2. North Dakota State

3. Montana State

4. Holy Cross


T5. Idaho

7. William & Mary

8. Samford

9. Incarnate Word

10. Sacramento State

T11. Southeast Missouri State

T11. Weber State

13. North Carolina Central

14. New Hampshire

15. Southeastern Louisiana

16. Montana

17. North Dakota

18. UC Davis

19. Mercer

20. Jackson State

21. Eastern Kentucky

22. Gardner-Webb

T23. Richmond

T23. Youngstown State

25. Rhode Island