Butler Begins Spring Football Practice

David Burke (Photo by Brent Smith)

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler will kickoff five weeks of spring football drills when it holds its first 2014 practice at the Butler Bowl on Wednesday, Feb. 26.  The Bulldogs will conduct 15 spring workouts, concluding with the annual Spring Game on March 29.

Butler is coming off a banner season that saw the Bulldogs compile a 9-4 record, a co-championship in the Pioneer Football League and a first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Playoffs.  The nine wins tied the second-highest total in school history, while the seven PFL victories matched Butler's school mark.  The league championship was Butler's third in five years.

The Bulldogs broke or tied 19 team and individual records in 2013, including most points in a season (433).  

Head coach Jeff Voris will begin the process of replacing a stellar senior class, including All-PFL performers Trae Heeter, Jeremy Stephens, Brendan Shannon, Charles Perrecone, Matt Lancaster, Sean Grady, Jayme Szafranski and Dylan Johnson.  Heeter led the PFL in rushing and finished fourth on Butler's all-time rushing list, while Lancaster finished fourth on Butler's all-time passing list in just two seasons.  Stephens was a two-time Butler Defensive Lineman of the Year, while Shannon finished his career ranked in the "Top 5" all-time at Butler in both receptions and receiving yards.

But the cupboard isn't bare.  Voris welcomes back All-PFL performers David Tiwari (OL), Michael Demos (OL), Kyle Annis (DL), Glen Somers (DL), Jon Treloar (PK) and Marquese Martin-Hayes (RS).  Treloar finished second on the team in scoring with 81 points, including a school-record 54 PAT kicks, while Martin-Hayes led the Bulldogs in kickoff return avg. (17.1).

Also returning for the Bulldogs are defensive back David Burke, who led the team in tackles (72), running back Rico Watson, who finished third on the team in rushing and fifth in scoring last fall, tight end Zack Wolfe, who ranked among the team leaders in scoring and receiving, and defensive back JoJo Ciancio, who tied for eighth on the squad in tackles (41) in 2013.

The Bulldogs will hold six practices prior to Spring Break (March 7-16) and then conclude with nine practices in the final two weeks of March.