The Massachusetts football team received yet another reminder that the expectations surrounding the program are heightened entering the 2015 season Monday afternoon.
College football writer Phil Steele named 10 UMass players to his preseason All-Mid-American Conference teams, including five earning first-team honors. It’s an impressive jump for UMass, which received only four such total nominations last preseason in Steele’s annual, acclaimed magazine.
Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel, wide receiver Tajae Sharpe, tight end Rodney Mills, linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox and cornerback Randall Jette were all named to the first-team.
UMass tied both Western Michigan and Bowling Green in total first-team honors with five.
Defensive backs Trey Dudley-Giles and Khary Baily-Smith were both selected to the third-team. Dudley-Giles was named a cornerback on the team while Bailey-Smith was selected as the kick returner.
UMass had an additional three players named to the fourth-team in running back Shadrach Abrokwah, offensive lineman Tyrell Smith and outside linebacker Kessan Messiah.
The announcement comes with more than two months remaining before the Minutemen kick off their season. UMass enters its final year as a member of the MAC conference and returns 19 starters, one of the highest marks in the country.
The Minutemen open their season against Colorado on Sept. 12.
Andrew Cy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.