Picking the Penguins third in the preseason poll


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by Joe Scalzo - "A blog about YSU Penguin athletics, not the insides of penguins."   | 155 entries

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UPDATE: YSU was selected fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference's preseason poll, with senior center Chris Elkins the lone Penguin to earn preseason first team all-conference.

Here are the official results, released July 29:

2013 Valley Football Preseason Poll

Team (first-place votes) Points

1. North Dakota State (39) 390

2. South Dakota State 323

3. UNI 269

4. Illinois State 264

5. Youngstown State 253

6. Indiana State 197

7. Southern Illinois 188

8. Missouri State 123

9. Western Illinois 77

10. South Dakota 61

2013 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team
Name, School Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown / High School
QB- Brock Jensen, NDSU 6-3 226 Sr. Waupaca (Wis.) High
RB- Shakir Bell, INS 5-8 185 Sr. Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central
RB- David Johnson, UNI 6-3 214 Jr. Clinton (Iowa) High
RB- Zach Zenner, SDSU 6-0 215 Jr. Eagan (Minn.) High
FB- Jordan Neukirch, ILS 6-2 235 Sr. Algonquin (Ill.) Huntley High
WR- Dorian Buford, MSU 6-0 184 Sr. St. Louis (Mo.) McCluer North
WR- Ryan Smith, NDSU 5-7 178 Sr. Wahpeton (N.D.) High
TE- MyCole Pruitt, SIU 6-3 250 Jr. St. Louis (Mo.) Kirkwood High
OL- Chris Elkins, YSU 6-3 300 Sr. Beaver Falls (Pa.) High
OL- Jimmy Holtschlag, WIU 6-5 300 Sr. Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame
OL- Dan Kruger, UNI 6-5 320 Sr. Wesley (Iowa) West Hancock High
OL- Billy Turner, NDSU 6-6 311 Sr. Shoreview (Minn.) Mounds View High
OL- Bryan Witzmann, SDSU 6-7 300 Sr. Houlton (Wis.) Somerset High
PK- Adam Keller, NDSU 6-1 200 Jr. Lewisberry (Pa.) Red Land High

DL- Cole Jirik, NDSU 6-4 245 Sr. Northfield (Minn.) High
DL- Doug Peete, SDSU 6-3 255 Sr. Olathe (Kan.) Olathe North High
DL- Leevon Perry, NDSU 6-3 276 Sr. Cottage Grove (Minn.) Saint Agnes HS
DL- Colton Underwood, ILS 6-4 255 Sr. Washington (Ill.) High
LB- Grant Olson, NDSU 6-0 222 Sr. Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata High
LB- T.J. Lally, SDSU 6-0 225 So. Chicago (Ill.) Marmion Academy
LB- J.J. Raffelson, WIU 6-3 235 So. Lake Zurich (Ill.) High
LB- Tyler Starr, USD 6-5 230 Sr. Little Rock (Iowa) George-Little Rock
DB- Calvin Burnett, INS 5-9 160 Sr. Orlando (Fla.) Freedom High/Hofstra
DB- Martinez Davis, WIU 5-10 180 Jr. Madisonville (Ky.) Air Force Prep
DB- Caleb Schaffitzel, MSU 6-0 214 Jr. Fair Grove (Mo.) High
DB- Marcus Williams, NDSU 5-11 197 Sr. Minneapolis (Minn.) Hopkins High
P- Ben LeCompte, NDSU 5-10 195 So. Barrington (Ill.) High
RS- Ryan Smith, NDSU 5-7 178 Sr. Wahpeton (N.D.) High

Honorable Mention:
  QB Sawyer Kollmorgen, UNI; QB Kurt Hess, Youngstown State; WR Brett LeMaster, UNI; OL Josh Aladenoye, Illinois State; OL Jermaine Barton, Illinois State; OL FN Lutz III, Indiana State; PK Tyler Sievertsen, UNI; DL Anthony Grady, MIssouri State; LB Jake Farley, UNI; LB Travis Beck, North Dakota State; P Austin Pucylowski, Southern Illinois.


I've never been a fan of voting in preseason polls, particularly when the ballots are due two weeks before training camp begins, but voting in this year's Missouri Valley Football Conference poll does have one benefit: It allows me to update a YSU blog that hasn't been updated since late April.

(So, for the 10 people who noticed, my apologies.)

A couple notes about my selections:

1. Most of the all-league choices are easy: You just take the guys who made first or second team all-conference last year and eliminate the seniors. I also looked at a couple preseason All-America lists and, in the case of two of the three YSU selections, added my own choices.

2. I think there are several YSU players who are capable of making this list at the end of the season — QB Kurt Hess, OL Kyle Bryant, LBs Travis and Teven Williams, to name just a few — but I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude. The Penguins looked good in the spring but let's see how they look under the lights.

3. YSU was picked to finish third in last year's preseason poll and sank to sixth. While I doubt the Penguins will get picked third again this year, I'd be pretty surprised if they didn't finish in the top four and earn a playoff spot.

4. The only preseason pick I feel confident in is North Dakota State. I think the Bison will win a third straight national title and I'd be pretty surprised if they didn't go undefeated in the league. They are absolutely loaded.

5. The results will be announced on July 29.


Preseason poll:

1. North Dakota State

2. South Dakota State

3. Youngstown State

4. Northern Iowa

5. Southern Illinois

6. Illinois State

7. Indiana State

8. Missouri State

9. Western Illinois

10. South Dakota


QB — Brock Jensen, North Dakota State

RB — Shakir Bell, Indiana State

RB — Zach Zenner, South Dakota State

FB — Jordan Neukirch, Illinois State

WR — Dorian Buford, Missouri State

WR — Ryan Smith, North Dakota State

TE — MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois

OL — Chris Elkins, Youngstown State

OL — Billy Turner, North Dakota State

OL — Bryan Witzmann, South Dakota State

OL — Dan Kruger, Northern Iowa

OL — FN Lutz, Indiana State

PK — Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa


DL — Leevon Perry, North Dakota State

DL — Colton Underwood, Illinois State

DL — Cole Jirik, North Dakota State

DL — Doug Peete, South Dakota State

LB — Grant Olson, North Dakota State

LB — TJ Lally, South Dakota State

LB — Tyler Starr, South Dakota

LB — JJ Raffelson, Western Illinois

DB — Marcus Williams, North Dakota State

DB — Calvin Burnett, Indiana State

DB — Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State

DB — Dale Peterman, Youngstown State

P — Nick Liste, Youngstown State

RS — Ryan Smith, North Dakota State

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