TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Coming on the heels of the most successful season in over a decade for Indiana State football, the Sycamore program under the direction of head coach Trent Miles is gaining attention this summer from several national media outlets.
The highlight this summer is the naming of junior defensive lineman Ben Obaseki to the 2011 Buck Buchanan Watch List, presented by Fathead.com as announced by The Sports Network. The Buchanan Award is in its 17th season and will be presented to the FCS' outstanding defensive player at the national awards banquet Thursday night, Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas. This season's winner will join a list of Buchanan Award greats such as Dexter Coakley, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis, Kroy Biermann and 2010 winner J.C. Sherritt of Eastern Washington. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season on Nov. 21.
Additionally, three members of the Sycamore football program were named to the annual Phil Steele Preseason FCS All-America team. Obaseki was a First Team selection while senior fullback Brock Lough and senior defensive back Alex Sewall were Fourth Team selections.
Phil Steele also released today the Preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections with six team members earning a First Team mention and four more garnering Second Team plaudits. Lough, Obaseki, senior tight end Alex Jones, Sewall, junior linebacker Aaron Archie and junior linebacker Jacolby Washington were named to the First Team while senior quarterback Ronnie Fouch, senior wide receiver Justin Hilton, senior defensive lineman Rod Hardy and senior defensive back Calvin Burnett were on the Second Team.
Phil Steele also released his Preseason FCS Top 40 with Indiana State ranking No. 30. A total of five Missouri Valley Football Conference programs earned Top 40 mentions by Steele. Northern Iowa is No. 3, Southern Illinois is No. 17, North Dakota State is No. 20, the Sycamores are No. 30 and Youngstown State is No. 37. The complete Indiana State season preview as presented in the Phil Steele FCS National Preview Magazine will be available for a free download on PhilSteele.com from Noon (ET) on Saturday, July 23 until Noon on Monday, July 25.
Sewall, a senior exercise science major, is one of 132 national nominees for the 2011 All-State AFCA Good Works Team. The award recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation. From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team® members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams® - one comprising of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and another representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® will be announced in late September.
Finally, the College Football Performance Awards have issued their preseason watch lists as well by position. Fouch is on the CFPA Quarterback Award Watch List, Shakir Bell is on the CFPA Running Back Award Watch List, Hilton is on the CFPA Wide Receiver Award Watch List as well as the CFPA Punt Returner Award Watch List, Obaseki is on the CFPA Defensive End Award Watch List and Burnett is on the CFPA Defensive Back Award Watch List.
The Sycamores will open preseason practice on Friday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m. (ET) inside Memorial Stadium. The complete practice schedule will be made available later this month. Indiana State opens the 2011 season at Penn State on Saturday, Sept. 3 when they travel to Penn State. The game will be televised on the Big 10 Network at Noon (ET).