ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Western Illinois landed four Fighting Leathernecks on the Preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference team, as announced by the league office on Monday (Aug. 1). The Leathernecks were picked to finish seventh according to the preseason poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, media and sports information directors.
Defensive back Ryan Davis (Elk Grove, Calif.), offensive lineman Jordan Valle (Peru, Ill.), wide receiver Terriun Crump (Country Club Hills, Ill.) - all seniors - along with sophomore kicker Pat Smith (Quincy, Ill.) represented Western as Honorable Mention selections on the preseason squad.
Davis was a 2010 MVFC All-Newcomer selection, starting nine times in 12 games played. He recorded 29 tackles, six pass break-ups and recovered a fumble. Valle started 10 games at center last year before suffering an injury that caused him to miss the final three contests.
Crump returns as the top receiving threat, finishing his junior year with 56 catches totaling 888 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged nearly 16 yards per reception. Among the Western 'Top 10' season leaders, Crump was tied for eighth in receptions and sixth in yards. Smith took over the placekicking duties during the final six games. He converted all 21 extra point attempts and was 5-of-7 on field goals.
Western responded to the 2010 preseason poll (picked to finish eighth) and went on to a second place finish with a 5-3 mark in league play, 8-5 overall. The Leathernecks were one of three Valley teams to qualify for the Division I playoffs, winning their first round game before falling on the road to the top -seed.
Defending champion Northern Iowa received 29 of the 36 first-place votes, totaling 316 points in the preseason poll. North Dakota State (six first-place votes) was next with 275 points, easily out-distancing Southern Illinois (one first-place vote, 207 points). South Dakota State (172), Illinois State (169), Indiana State (168) and Western (151) were fourth through seventh place, respectively. Youngstown State (88) and Missouri State (74) rounded out the poll.
This year, the Leathernecks return 13 starters (six offense, six defense, one special teams) and 36 letterwinners. Practice opens on Friday afternoon (Aug. 5) with the first game scheduled for Thursday night, September 1st, at Sam Houston State. For ticket information, call (309) 298-1190 or click on www.GoLeathernecks.com.