Nine Butler Athletes Named Preseason All-PFL

Nine Butler Athletes Named Preseason All-PFL
Quarterback Matt Lancaster (Photo by Zach Bolinger)

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Nine members of the Butler football team have earned a spot on the 2013 Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Team, unveiled in Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine.  Six of the Bulldogs, including preseason Offensive Player of the Year Matt Lancaster, were tabbed as first team picks, while three additional players were named second team on the honor squad.

Lancaster, who helped lead the Bulldogs to a share of the 2012 PFL championship, was one of four Butler players selected first team on preseason All-PFL squad.  He was joined by running back Trae Heeter, wide receiver Brendan Shannon and offensive lineman Charlie Perrecone.  The first team defense included Butler players Jeremy Stephens (DL) and Sean Grady (DB).

Butler players picked second team on the preseason squad were David Tiwari (OL), Jon Treloar (PK) and Brian Akialis (P).

Lancaster, heading into his final season with the Bulldogs, ranked second in the PFL in total offense (3,111 yards), third in touchdown passes (21) and fourth in passing efficiency (140.5) in 2012.  He completed 217 of 361 passes for 2,708 yards, and he rushed for an additional 408 yards on 111 carries.  The Butler signal caller was named PFL Offensive Player of the Year following the 2012 campaign.

Heeter, who was named Butler's Offensive MVP last season, led the PFL in rushing with 1,103 yards in 2012.  Shannon led the Bulldogs and ranked among the league leaders in receiving with 62 catches for 864 yards and eight touchdowns.  Perrecone was Butler's starting center in all 11 games in 2012.

Grady finished second on the squad and 12th in the PFL in tackles with 84, while Stephens was fourth on the team and tied for 21st in the league with 71 stops.  Tiwari started all 11 games for the Bulldogs, Treloar finished as Butler's fourth-leading scorer with 45 points, and Akialis had a 38.1 punting average on 46 kicks in his first season as Butler's punter.

Stephens Named to CFPA Watch List
Butler defensive end Jeremy Stephens has been named to the watch list for the 2013 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS Defensive Lineman Award.  The list highlights players whose performance merits recognition entering the season.

Stephens, a first team All-Pioneer Football League defensive lineman in 2012, ranked among the PFL leaders in both quarterback sacks and tackles for loss last season.  He finished second in the PFL with 14 tackles for loss and tied for third in the league with 8.5 quarterback sacks, while finishing fourth on the team with 71 total tackles.  In two seasons with the Bulldogs, he's recorded 11.5 career quarterback sacks and 21.5 career tackles for loss.   

All CFPA recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.  Currently, there are 111 previous CFPA recipients listed on 2013 NFL rosters.

Bulldogs Begin Preseason Camp On August 7
Butler will have an eye on a second consecutive Pioneer Football League championship and an even bigger milestone when players report back to campus on August 7 for the start of this season's preseason camp.  More than 100 players are expected to be on hand when the team holds its first practice on Thursday, August 8.

Head coach Jeff Voris, beginning his eighth season at the Bulldogs' helm, guided Butler to a share of the 2012 PFL crown, the team's second league title in four years.  The Bulldogs finished with a 7-1 league mark and an 8-3 overall record and compiled the league's longest winning streak with seven consecutive victories from late September to early November.

The PFL title takes on added significance in 2013.  The league champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship for the first time.  The national playoffs have expanded to 24 teams this season, with 11 automatic bids and 13 at-large qualifiers.  Butler is seeking its first Division I Football Championship berth.

The Bulldogs will conduct daily practices through Thursday, August 29, before departing for Brookings, S.D., for the season-opener at South Dakota State on Saturday, August 31.