July has gotten off to a strong start for the Northwest football program, as the defending MACCC and National Community College Football champions earned their first preseason No. 1 ranking, announced by JCGridiron.com on Monday afternoon.
Compiled each season by JCGridiron.com, a branch of the larger recruiting site Rivals.com, the Dirty 30 rankings include all NJCAA member institutions, as well as programs from the California Community College Athletic Association. The Rangers' top ranking comes after a 6-0 overall record in 2020 and a No. 2 ranking in the final Dirty 30 rankings, which were released in early June following the end of the NJCAA's spring season.
Chasing Northwest in the rankings are Iowa Western at No. 2, NJCAA spring champions Hutchison (Kan.) at No. 3, followed by East Mississippi and San Mateo (Calif.) at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Several other MACCC foes make up the remaining 25 spots in the preseason rankings, including defending South Division champions Mississippi Gulf Coast (7th), Jones College (13th), Northeast (15th), Hinds (24th) and Coahoma (28th). Copiah-Lincoln, Holmes and Itawamba were unranked, but listed as bubble teams.
Northwest returns a healthy group of returners from the 2020 campaign, including reigning JCGridiron.com All-Americans Michael Hiers, Vance Van Every, Jaquerrious Williams, Jacoby Jones, Tyson Keys, Kylan Robinson and Jarvis Townsend. The Rangers' coaching staff also landed several key signees during the spring.
Northwest will kick off the 2021 season on Thursday, September 2 against Copiah-Lincoln at Bobby Franklin Field.