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Bemidji State football ranked No. 22 in USA Today Preseason Top 25

Bemidji State defensive end Jordan Lardinois, center, celebrates with the BSU defense after the intrasquad spring scrimmage in April. The junior is one of several all-conference players returning in 2010. Pioneer File Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State football team was ranked in the USA Today Division II Preseason Top 25 released Tuesday.

The Beavers are ranked No. 22 and are one of only two NSIC teams in the Top 25. Minnesota-Duluth is No. 4.

The poll was released in the USA Today Special Edition College Football Preview Magazine.

The Beavers return to the preseason national rankings after appearing in three national publications prior to the 2007 season.

Bemidji State finished the 2009 season with an 8-3 overall record (7-3 NSIC) and finished third in the NSIC North Division.

2009 was a resurgent season for the Beavers after finishing 5-6 in 2008. Bemidji State won two of the four games it played against nationally ranked opponents last season.

Last season also marked the fifth time in 14 seasons under head coach Jeff Tesch that the Beavers won at least eight games.

BSU opens the regular season Aug. 26 at Minot State and most of last season's standout players will return in 2010.

All-NSIC First-Team quarterback Derek Edholm will be back for his senior season and defensive end Jordan Lardinois will help anchor the defensive unit in his junior season.

All-NSIC Second Team players returning are: center Cory Immerman, offensive tackle Davis Mickelson, junior wide receiver Andrew Schultz, linebacker Andrew Eagan and punter Jesse Sundby.

NSIC North Division Honorable Mention players returning are running back Dustin Kroeplin, tight end Brian Leonhardt and safety Brody Scheff.

USA Today Division II

Preseason Top 25

1. Northwest Missouri State

2. Grand Valley State

3. North Alabama

4. Minnesota Duluth

5. West Liberty

6. Abeline Christian

7. Central Washington

8. Cal (PA)

9. Washburn

10. Texas A&M-Kingsville

11. Nebraska-Kearney

12. West Alabama

13. West Texas A&M

14. Saginaw Valley State

15. Carson-Newman

16. Missouri Western

17. Midwestern State

18. East Stroudsburg

19. Tuskegee

20. North Carolina at Pembroke

21. Nebraska-Omaha

22. Bemidji State

23. West Chester

24. Delta State

25. Hillsdale