Electrifying Playmakers

Neal Seaman
Mount Union
Jr. | QB | 6-1 | 200

Seaman returns to guide the Mount Union offense again after pushing the Purple Raiders to the 2010 national championship game, when he suffered an injury in the squads' 31-21 loss to eventual titlist Wisconsin-Whitewater. Before being sidelined, Seaman completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,190 yards and 28 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. He helped Mount Union rank in the top 25 nationally for total offense and scoring offense while cruising to its sixth consecutive season with at last 14 victories. 

Brad Boyle
Coe
Sr. | QB | 6-4 | 201

Key Notes:
• Finished 20th nationally with 270.2 passing yards per game in 2010
• Also had 24 TDs while tossing only six INTs 

Levell Coppage
Wisconsin-Whitewater
Sr. | RB | 5-9 | 180

Key Notes:
• 2011 preseason first-team All-American
• Ranked sixth in nation with 150.5 rushing yards per game as a junior 

Justin Autera
Cortland State
Jr. | RB | 6-1 | 200

Key Notes:
• Gained 1,380 yards to rank 22nd in rushing yards per game at 115.0
• Posted a season high of 232 rushing yards against Ithaca

Luke Heinsohn
Washington & Lee
Jr. | RB | 6-0 | 205

Key Notes:
• Ranked 13th in rushing yards (1,321) and 17th in rushing yards per game (120.1)
• Had season-best 232 yards vs. Guilford 

Sam Wernick
Johns Hopkins
Sr. | WR | 5-10 | 185

Key Notes:
• Ranked in top 10 nationally for receiving yards per game (10th, 115.0 ypg) and total receiving yards (4th, 1,265) 
• Added 17 TDs

 

In the Trenches

Chris Mayes
Wesley
Sr. | DE | 6-3 | 253

Mayes returns as a preseason All-American by several publications after ranking third nationally with 17.0 sacks. His sack yardage total -- 140 yards lost -- led the country as he was one of only four players with more than 100 yards in sacks. Mayes also ranked second nationally in TFLs with 32.5, helping Wesley reach the national semifinals. Against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the quarterfinals, he had 4.0 sacks, setting Mayes up to compete for national defensive player-of-the-year honors in 2011.

Silvio Diaz
Mary Hardin-Baylor
Jr. | DE | 6-0 | 260

Key Notes:
• Second nationally among freshmen in sacks per game (.73 spg, 9.5 total)
• Also added 15.0 TFLs and 52 total tackles

Mitch Elliott
Bethel
Jr. | OT | 6-4 | 290

Key Notes:
• Helped Bethel to 373.2 yards of total offense per game
• Part of O-line last season that allowed  just 13.0 sacks

Logan Allemand
Wisconsin-Whitewater
Sr. | OL | 6-3 | 310

Key Notes:
• Could be fourth UW-W All-America OL in two years
• Helped UW-W rank 10th in total offense last year

Dan Terhune
Wooster
Sr. | DT | 6-0 | 270

Key Notes:
• 2010 second-team All-American
• Ranked ninth in sacks per game while finishing with 11.0 sacks and 14.5 TFLs

Rian Younker
Cal Lutheran
So. | DL | 6-0 | 270

Key Notes:
• 2011 preseason All-American
• Nearly one-quarter of tackles as freshman were for loss, including 3.5 sacks

 

Defending Interests

Josh McLeod
North Central
Jr. | S | 6-1 | 195

McLeod posted eye-popping numbers as a sophomore when he helped North Central to a school-record 12 wins and a spot in the national quarterfinals for the first time in program history. The leader of the secondary, McLeod will try to build on his 50 tackles in 2010, a total that ranked third on the squad. He also led the Cardinals with eight interceptions, a total that tied for sixth nationally. His 19 total passes defended ranked in the top 25 nationally as well.

Devin Worthington
Hobart
So. | DB | 5-9 | 190

Key Notes:
• 2011 preseason All-American
• Ranked fifth in the nation in tackles for loss with 19.0 as a freshman 
• Eighth nationally in sacks (11.0)

Patrick McDonough
Muhlenberg
Sr. | LB | 6-1 | 232

Key Notes:
• 2010 second-team All-American and 2011 preseason first-team All-American 
• Had 105 tackles while adding 5.5 TFLs 

Javicz Jones
Mary Hardin-Baylor
Sr. | DB | 6-0 | 180

Key Notes:
• Led team with 120 tackles in 2010 to rank in top 20 natoinally for total tackles
• Also added 11.0 TFLs and among leaders with nine pass breakups 

C.J. Seitzinger
John Carroll
Sr. | LB | 5-11 | 210

Key Notes:
• Finished fifth nationally with 13.6 tackles per game, including 65 solo tackles in 2010
• Also forced two fumbles and had an interception for 33 yards

Mike Asiedu
Wesley
Sr. | LB | 6-3 | 221

Key Notes:
• 2010 first-team All-American
• Concensus 2011 preseason All-American
• Had 79 tackles with 10.5 TFLs and 10 PBUs as a junior

 

The Special Ones

Scott Roche
Wheaton (Ill.)
Sr. | PK | 5-9 | 200

Roche led the nation with 18 field goals on 28 attempts, tying for first in field-goals per game (1.50). His total was a school record and included four field goals against rival Augustana (Ill.). Roche also set the school mark by hitting a 52-yarder against the Vikings. In two other games, Roche added three field goals apiece while helping Wheaton to the second round of the playoffs. Originally saw action as a running back during his freshman season before concentrating on place-kicking duties.

Tyler Almeida
Mount Union
Sr. | PK | 6-0 | 210

Key Notes:
• Pushed across 74 of 76 extra point tries
• Also converted 16 of 20 field-goal attempts to rank third nationally in FG percentage 

Matt Rawson
Amherst
Sr. | PK | 6-0 | 185

Key Notes:
• Had only 10 field-goal attempts on the season but connected on nine 
• Finished with the top percentage (.900) among all kickers in 2010

Luis Diaz
Greenville
So. | PK | 5-8 | 180

Key Notes:
• Led all freshman in 2010 with 1.40 field-goals per game
• Connected on 66.7 percent overall, knocking in 14 of 21

Jeff Sauer
Chicago
Jr. | PK/P | 5-8 | 170

Key Notes:
• Ranked fifth nationally in punting with 42.4 yards per punt
• Also hit 3 of 7 field-goal attempts as place-kicker

Darnell Williams
Louisiana
Sr. | KR | 6-2 | 195

Key Notes:
• 2010 national statistical leader with 48.5 yards per kick return
• Tied for second nationally with two kickoff return TDs a year ago

 

Keep an Eye on These Programs

Wisconsin-Whitewater
Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2010 stats):  Offense -- Matt Blanchard (Jr., QB, 2,132 passing yards, 21 TDs), Adam Brandes (Sr., WR, 63 receptions, 1,179 yards, 12 TDs), Levell Coppage (Sr., RB, 2,107 rushing yards, 25 TDs), Aaron Rush (Sr., WR, 88 receptions, 1,1052 yards, 14 TDs). Defense -- Greg Arnold (Sr., LB, 78 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 7 PBU), Max Ford (Sr., LB, 74 tackles, 2 PBU), Lane Olson (Sr., DB, 110 tackles, 5.5 sacks).

Noting the Warhawks:  The Warhawks have won three of the last four national titles including the last two. Along the way, UW-W has racked up the nation's longest win streak -- in any division -- at 30 games, including 21 at home along with 17 consecutive conference victories. The Warhawks are aiming for spot in the Stagg Bowl -- and a shot at the national championship -- for the seventh consecutive season.

Mary Hardin-Baylor
Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2010 stats):  Offense -- LiDarral Bailey (Jr., QB, 1,531 passing yards, 851 rushing yards), Nate Menkin (Jr., OL, 309.5 team rushing ypg), Geoff Myles (So., WR, 28.6 kickoff ypr, 17.6 punt ypr). Defense -- Silvio Diaz (So., DE, 52 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 15.0 TFL), Ty Dooley (So., LB, 84 tackles, 4 PBU), Javicz Jones (Jr., DB, 120 tackles, 11.5 TFL).

Noting the Crusaders: The Crusaders were the top total offense team (516.5 ypg) and second-highest scoring team (45.9 ppg) in the country last fall. With dual-threat QB LiDarral Bailey back, the high-flying Cru look to take it a step farther into the playoffs in 2011. If DE Silvio Diaz and LB Javicz Jones put up similar numbers to 2010, the defense may help UMHB to better than last year's perfect regular season and carry it to the playoffs.

North Central
Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2010 stats):  Offense -- Kyle Fiedorowicz (Sr., TE, ), Spencer Stanek (QB, So., 1,299 passing yards, 11 TDs), Jordan Tassio (So., RB, 917 rushing yards, 9 TDs). Defense -- Josh McLeod (Jr., DB, 50 tackles, 8 INTs, 11 PBUs), Valente Garza (Sr., DE, 41 tackles, 13.0 TFLs, 11.5 sacks), Matt Wenger (Sr., LB, 120 tackles, 13 TFLs). 

Noting the Cardinals: The Cardinals are looking for their sixth consecutive Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title in 2011. North Central has plenty of pieces back to make a run at the national title. It returns eight all-conference players from last fall, including one of the top defensive backs in the nation in Josh McLeod and the backfield of RB Jordan Tassio and its top two QBs in Spencer Stanek and Brad Crackel (1,239 yards, 14 TDs in 2010).

Baldwin-Wallace
Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2010 stats):  Offense -- Aaron Hurd (Sr., TE, 24 receptions, 3 TDs), Tim Miker (Sr., RB, 595 rushing yards, 7 TDs), Ryan O'Rourke (Jr., QB, 1,513 passing yards, 16 TDs). Defense -- Matt Bowen (Sr., CB, 50 tackles, 13 PBUs, 2 INTs), J.J. Laseak (Sr., LB, 81 tackles, 11.5 TFL), Brett Thompson (Sr., LB, 60 tackles, 5 PBUs).

Noting the Yellow Jackets: Playing in the same conference as Mount Union and Ohio Northern, B-W will have its hands full but with 17 returning starters, the Yellow Jackets will have a chance. B-W gave up 305 yards per game last year and will need to see development on both lines to improve on the 7-3 record from a season ago. LB J.J. Laseak again will be the playmaker on defense after posting team highs in tackles and was among the team leaders in TFLs last fall.

SUNY Cortland
Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2010 stats):  Offense --  Justin Autera (Jr., RB, 1,380 rushing yards, 18 TDs), Billy Castro (Sr., OL, 181.2 team rushing ypg), Dan Pitcher (Sr., QB, 1,757 passing yards, 18 TDs). Defense -- Cody Allen (Sr., LB, 105 tackles, 11 QBHs), Bill Smith (Jr., LB, 79 tackles, 5 QBHs), Connor Tompkins (Sr., DL, 52 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks). 

Noting the Red Dragons: After going 10-2 last fall, Cortland returns 15 starters as tries to claim a share of its sixth league title in seven seasons in 2011. The Red Dragon offense ranked just 125th in total offense (340.3 ypg), but were ninth nationally by giving up just 243.8 yards per game on defense. The linebacking corps of Cody Allen and Bill Smith, who combined for more than 180 tackles last year, will lead the charge. 

Top Contests
@ Sept. 3 -- No. 4 North Central at Redlands -- Tough road contest to open a strong slate for North Central, which also has a showdown on Nov. 5 against league foe and No. 8 Wheaton (Ill.).
@ Sept. 10 -- No. 17 Cal Lutheran at No. 9 Linfield -- CLU also has to play Redlands, the same team it beat to finish 6-0 in league last year. 
@ Sept. 24 -- No. 11 Thomas More at Washington & Jefferson -- Possibly the toughest matchup for TMC, which is aiming for another 8-0 league slate. 
@ Oct. 29 -- No. 23 Wisconsin-Stevens Point at No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater -- UWSP finished second in the league to the eventual national champion Warhawks in 2010. The Pointers may be the last obstacle for UW-W's bid for another perfect regular season. 
@ Nov. 5 -- Baldwin-Wallace at No. 2 Mount Union -- BW is ranked in the top 15 in some preseason publications while the Purple Raiders are the consensus No. 2. The matchup will be the top battle of the Ohio Athletic Conference. 

All photos courtesy of respective school athletic departments.