FOREST, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its 2014 football preseason coaches poll on Friday morning and Washington and Lee is picked to finish fourth among the league's eight football playing institutions for the second straight year.
Hampden-Sydney tops the poll for the third consecutive year after receiving seven first-place votes and 49 total points. Randolph-Macon received the final first-place vote and is second with 42 points. Guilford was third with 37 points, followed by the Generals with 29 points. Bridgewater was selected fifth with 23 points and was followed by Shenandoah (18), Catholic (16) and Emory & Henry (10).
Washington and Lee returns 12 starters and 39 letterwinners from last season's team that finished 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the ODAC. The Generals were decimated by injuries throughout the year, losing nearly half the starting lineup with season-ending injuries.
Headlining the returning players are sophomore running back Marshall Hollerith (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's), senior offensive lineman Micah Fleet (Cordova, Tenn. / Christian Brothers) and junior linebacker Jake Barr (Upper Saddle River, N.J. / Northern Highlands Regional), all of whom earned All-ODAC honors in 2013.
Hollerith rushed for a team-best 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns on 209 carries en route to garnering the ODAC Rookie of the Year Award. He also received Second Team All-ODAC laurels after becoming the first rookie in school history to top 1,000 yards in a season.
Fleet helped the Generals' offense rank second nationally in rushing offense last season, averaging 346.7 rushing yards and 369.2 total yards per game. He has played in all 31 games of his three seasons to date and is a two-time All-ODAC and All-State selection. Last year, he garnered Second Team All-ODAC and First Team All-State honors from the Roanoke Times.
Barr played in nine games last fall and finished fifth on the team in tackles with 49 total stops, 38 of which were solo tackles. He also had one sack and one pass breakup.
Despite the 3-4 conference record a season ago, the Generals are in the midst of one of the most successful periods in program history. W&L is 20-6 against the conference since the beginning of the 2010 season and has produced just two losing campaigns in the last 10 years.
W&L kicks off its 2014 season on September 6 when it travels to Averett University for a 1:00 pm contest.