Indiana State junior linebacker Connor Underwood was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference Preseason Team as announced today (July 29) by the league office. The MVFC Preseason selections were made via a poll of the league’s head coaches, sports information directors as well as a media panel.
Last season Underwood earned a place on the All-MVFC First Team and was the team’s fourth-leading tackler with 76 total tackles, including a team-best 18 for a loss and nine quarterback sacks. He added a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the season opener at Indiana and was credited with five pass breakups and seven quarterback hurries as well as one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. Underwood owned three double digit tackle performances on the year, including a season-best 13 against Western Illinois and recorded six tackles for a loss at Tennessee Tech, with four quarterback sacks which tied a school record. He ranked tied for 17th in total tackles in the league and was tied for third in quarterback sacks as well as tied for second in tackles for a loss.
Additionally, Underwood was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team in 2012 and garnered a third place finish in the league’s newcomer of the year award. He was an All-MVFC Honorable Mention selection as a redshirt freshman.
The Sycamores were picked to finish 10th in the league’s annual preseason poll with 50 votes. Three-time defending NCAA FCS National Champion North Dakota State took home 24 (of 39) first place votes to record 370 points and are once again picked to win the MVFC. South Dakota State garnered eight first place votes to finish with 330 points and are picked second. Northern Iowa, which returns to the Indiana State league schedule following a two-year absence received seven first place votes for 324 points and predicted to finish third.
Youngstown State (4th with 240 points), Southern Illinois (5th with 237 points), Illinois State (6th with 197 points), Missouri State (7th with 180 points), South Dakota (8th with 121 points), Western Illinois (9th with 96 points) and Indiana State (10th with 50 points) rounds out the preseason poll.
Indiana State opens preseason camp on Friday, August 1 with a total of 20 practices leading up to the start of classes on August 20. The Sycamores will hold a fall scrimmage on the morning of August 16.
The Sycamores will travel to Indiana on Saturday, August 30 to open the 2014 campaign at Noon (ET).