If games truly are won in "the trenches," then Marshall should be in a very advantageous position in 2017.

The Mavericks are blessed with three Division I FBS recruits on the offensive line, and figure to have a size advantage against every team on their schedule this season.

For that reason, and one another big one, the Mavs are ranked No. 6 in ETSN.fm's Preseason Class 6A/5A poll.

Marshall is the third team from District 16-5A to appear in the poll thus far, ahead of No. 8 Sulphur Springs and No. 10 Pine Tree.

Oh and that other factor? Its new head coach.

Marshall head football coach Claude Mathis meets offensive guard Chasen Hines for the first time. An LSU commit, Hines will be Mathis' first big recruit. (Mike Graham, ETSN.fm)

Claude Mathis, who turned DeSoto into a state power at the 6A level, was hired away from SMU, where he served as running backs coach under Chad Morris the previous two seasons.

Mathis built DeSoto into a perennial state title contender during his seven-year tenure at the south DFW school. He compiled an overall record of 74-18, led his team to consecutive state semifinal berths in 2012 and 2013, and oversaw about 40 of his players sign with FBS college programs.

Marshall has four FBS targets on its roster currently, led by its O-line trio of seniors Chasen Hines (6-3, 353, LSU commit) and Kameron King (6-2, 275, North Texas), and junior Christian Hood (6-2, 290), who holds an early offer from Southern Miss.

The Mavs' other Division I recruit is defensive end and Baylor pledge Marje Smith (6-6, 210).

In all, Marshall is bringing back 13 starters (seven offensive, six defensive) from last year's 5A Division II bi-district finalist team that finished 6-5.

The offense lost standout running back Cam Haller, a Texas A&M baseball signee who put up 4,548 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns during his three-year varsity career.

The Mavs do welcome back promising junior Dekendrick Bender, along with Corteze Hurd and Tahj Washington in the receiving corps.

Hurd will also be a factor on defense, playing a linebacker/safety hybrid position. Tre Macon is back at safety after racking up close to 100 tackles in 2016.

If Marshall can get solid quarterback play, it could be a scary team come mid-November.

ETSN.fm Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll