ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Six members of the Western Illinois football team were voted to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason team. The conference office announced the preseason selections on Monday (July 24), as voted on by the head coaches, sports information directors and selected media.
The MVFC preseason poll is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday (July 25) and Western Illinois head coach Charlie Fisher will speak on the teleconference call that morning.
Western tied for the fourth-most selections overall. The MVFC announced a preseason team and those named Honorable Mention preseason. All six Leathernecks earned MVFC postseason accolades following the 2016 campaign.
Linebacker Brett Taylor and offensive lineman Jacob Judd, both senior captains, along with junior running back Steve McShane were voted to the preseason team. A trio of juniors earned enough votes to be named Honorable Mention – linebacker Quentin Moon, defensive lineman Khalen Saunders and quarterback Sean McGuire.
Taylor, already named a preseason All-American by Athlon, was tabbed as one of the preseason ‘Top 10’ players in the FCS by STATS. As a junior, he led the Leathernecks with 134 total tackles (94 solos). His 8.5 solo tackles per game led the nation and his 12.2 tackles per game ranked third in the country. Following the 2016 season, Taylor earned several All-America honors. He finished seventh in the Buck Buchanan Award voting (National Defensive Player of the Year) and First Team All-MVFC.
McShane’s 83.4 rushing yards per game is tops among all returning running backs. A Second Team pick last year, McShane averaged 5.0 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns on the ground. He added 234 receiving yards on 23 receptions with a touchdown.
Judd earned Second Team honors for the second straight year, and Western’s starting center brings a streak of 24 consecutive starts into the 2017 season. Judd and Western’s offense ended the 2016 regular season ranked 22nd nationally in fewest tackles for a loss allowed and 31st in sacks allowed.
McGuire set a Western Illinois season record averaging 264.9 passing yards per game, completing 230-of-396 passes for 2,914 yards and 20 touchdowns. The junior quarterback, an Honorable Mention All-MVFC pick last year, added five rushing touchdowns and 207 yards on the ground.
Moon ranked second on the team behind Taylor making 88 tackles (46 solo stops). His 8.0 tackles per game average ranked him seventh in the MVFC. Moon, also an Honorable Mention All-MVFC pick in 2016, added six tackles for a loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries (tied for second in the MVFC), an interception and five quarterback hurries.
Saunders helped anchor the defensive line starting in all 11 games last year and earned Honorable Mention All-MVFC accolades. He recorded 48 tackles last year, including five for a loss. Saunders broke up two passes and blocked a kick.
Western opens the 2017 season at Tennessee Tech on August 31st. Season tickets for the upcoming year are currently on sale. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (309) 298-1190 or purchase online at GoLeathernecks.com.