RICHARDSON, Texas -

Hardin-Simmons junior kick returner Jessie Ramos was named the preseason American Southwest Conference special teams player of the year and the Cowboys have been picked to place third in the league in s vote of the head coaches, sports information directors and select media.

Mary Hardin-Baylor has been picked to win the league and received 95 points in the preseason poll and recorded 15 out of a possible 16 first-place votes. The Cru recorded a 13-1 record in 2013 to claim their ninth consecutive ASC championship and 11th overall.

Louisiana College is ranked second in the preseason poll with 79 points and one first-place vote.

Six-time ASC champion Hardin-Simmons is ranked third with 59 points and have finished no less than fourth in the league standings in each of the last 18 seasons.

East Texas Baptist was picked fourth with 44 points. Howard Payne was the fifth-place pick coming in just three points behind ETBU with 41 points, and Sul Ross State was tabbed sixth with 18 points.

Easton Melancon of Louisiana College and Deshon Kinsey of Mary Hardin-Baylor were named the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year.

In 2013 Ramos led the NCAA Division III with three kickoff returns for a touchdown and recorded more than 1,000 return yards (1,013). He also led the ASC in all-purpose yards (169.5) and was equally impressive for the Cowboys' offense ranking third in the ASC in receiving touchdowns (8), fourth in receptions (58) and fifth in receiving yards per game (62.0). He has five kickoff returns for touchdowns in his two-year career.

The 2014 season is the 19th in ASC history and will get underway Sept. 4. The NCAA Division III Football Championship playoff is scheduled for a Nov. 22 start, with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl national championship game on tap for Dec. 20 in Salem, Va.

2014 ASC Preseason Football Poll

Team Votes - 2013 Record

1. Mary Hardin-Baylor 95 (15) - 13-1/6-0 ASC

2. Louisiana College 79 (1) - 7-3/5-1 ASC

3. Hardin-Simmons 59 - 4-6/2-4 ASC

4. East Texas Baptist 44  - 3-7/1-5 ASC

5. Howard Payne 41 - 4-6/2-4 ASC

6. Sul Ross State 18 - 1-9/1-5 ASC

(First-place votes)

Information for this story provided by Hardin-Simmons Athletics.