Preseason awards and rankings

By Albert Shelby

August 30, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 11.13.39 AMThree players were named to the 26th USA College Football Division II Pre-Season All-American Teams this year. Cornerback Michael Jordan was selected first team. Running back Raphael Spencer was selected to the second, while punter Scott Groner was selected to the third team. All three players are coming off of stellar seasons from a year ago and hope to continue that trend in the upcoming season. Last year, Jordan was one of the Griffons most consistent defensive players. He finished the season with 49 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He totaled three interceptions, while also deflecting 11 passes on his side. Spencer was the Griffons biggest offensive threat last year, accounting for a good chunk of the offenses yards and touchdowns. He finished with 1,312 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns, and an impressive average of 6.6 yards a carry. Spencer’s longest touchdown run of the season was a 53 yarder. Groner started every game as the Griffons punter and averaged an impressive 42.6 yards a kick, on 50 kicks. He also totaled six touchbacks. Spencer was aware of the accomplishment but his competitive side felt that he should have been selected higher. “It’s not a big deal to me because of two reasons,” Spencer said. “One because I do not pay too much attention to accolades and two, because I felt that there were guys ahead of me that I feel should have not been. So, I did not pay it much mind.” Spencer expressed his desire to finally get back on the field again after last years performances. “The thing that excites me the most about this season is just playing ball again,” Spencer said. “There is no season like football season and it is a blessing to play this sport.” Preseason rankings for the MIAA have also been released. The Griffons were ranked fifth in the coaches’ poll and ranked fourth by the media polls. Northwest Missouri and Pittsburg State were ranked one and two respectively in both polls. The Griffons have 38 players returning from last year and 19 of those players are starters. Spencer was not happy with his team’s rankings, noting that they were ranked lower than usual. “I don’t necessary like that we were picked so low,” Spencer said. But I understand.” Spencer knows that they lost some key players from a year ago, but is convinced that the returners will be ready by the start of the season. “We did not finish strong last year,” Spencer said. “We lost our quarterback and a very talented tight end. But I am confident in my team now, on both sides of the ball. I am excited to see what will happen this season.”