Football Is Back! Ferris State Opens Fall Camp Later This Week With High Expectations

Reggie Bell

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Reigning NCAA Division II National Semifinalist Ferris State University football team, which is ranked first nationally in at least one preseason poll, officially reports for the 2017 campaign with big expectations again as fall camp opens later this week in Big Rapids.

The Bulldogs' newcomers will hit campus on Thursday (Aug. 10) for player check-in and meetings along with orientation activities. The Bulldogs' returning veterans report Sunday (Aug. 13) with a Veteran's Only practice later that evening followed by the first full team practice on Monday morning. FSU will practice once per day under the NCAA's recent rules changes.

Ferris' training camp period will not only feature practices and scrimmages, but also meetings, lifting, conditioning, testing, orientation sessions and more leading up to the season opener. FSU will also hold its annual Media/Photo Day in conjunction with a scrimmage on the morning of Aug. 24.

Ferris State has received preseason acclaim as a consensus top five team nationally from several sources this summer, including #1 by College Football America. The Bulldogs, under two-time reigning Football Gazette Super Region Coach of the Year Tony Annese, have posted the best overall record of all collegiate programs in the state of Michigan over the past five years.

The Bulldogs will begin their 109th season of varsity competition this fall with their sights set on making a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Ferris State is coming off another historic campaign as the Bulldogs posted a 12-3 overall record in 2016 while advancing to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for only the second time in school history. In 2016, the Bulldogs also posted a school-record tying 12 victories. Ferris State received the program's third-straight NCAA Football Playoff berth and captured the Super Region Four Championship by beating archrival Grand Valley State during a memorable postseason run. The 15-week campaign, which included three postseason playoff wins, was the school's longest in 108 years of Bulldog Football.

Over the last three seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 34-5 overall record and claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, captured a regional title and reached the national semifinals. Ferris State has also accumulated two Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won four postseason games.

In the five seasons under Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 49-12 overall mark in the last five years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival. 

Overall, Annese has won 83% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 274 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.

Ferris State, which will return nearly 60 letterwinners for the 2017 campaign, opens the year this fall on the road with a non-conference tilt at Findlay (Ohio) on Sept. 9. The home opener is slated for Sept. 16 as the Bulldogs entertain the Northern Michigan Wildcats in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action at Top Taggart Field.

Both season and individual game tickets for all 2017 home contests are on sale and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit for more information.