Wednesday, March 31, 2004

How To Rank ’Em -- Gateway Conference Preseason 2004

Contact: Mike Kern, Associate Commissioner, Gateway Football Conference (314-244-2326) (314-421-3505 fax)
How To Rank ’Em -- Gateway Conference Preseason 2004
Teams To Consider for Top10 National Ranking (in order)
Southern Illinois, University of Northern Iowa, Western Kentucky
Teams To Consider for Bottom-Half Top-25 National Ranking (in order)
Western Illinois, Illinois State, Youngstown State
2004 Gateway Headliners - Preseason All-America Nominees
(Last Year’s All-Conference Support Material)
By Position, Ranked in Order
QB -- Joel Sambursky, Southern Illinois, Jr. QB -- Tom Petrie, UNI, Sr.
#12 QB Joel Sambursky, Southern Illinois, 6-0, 195, Liberty (Kan.) High
Leads the conference and ranks 9th in the nation in pass efficiency (149.62)...Has completed 102 of 180 passes for 1,561 yards, 14
TDs and 5 INTs...Named Gateway Conference Player of the Week vs. both Indiana State and Western Kentucky...Threw for a
career-high 258 yards at Northern Iowa...Rallied the Salukis from an 11-point, fourth quarter deficit vs. WKU...An excellent runner, he
has 332 yards and 6 TDs on the ground.
#13 QB Tom Petrie, UNI, 6-3, 214, Plymouth, MN (Wayzata High)
Has been a fulltime starter this year after sharing starting duties the last two years…Became UNI’s first freshman to start at QB in
2001…Has completed 146-of-256 passes (.570) with just 4 interceptions for 2,098 yards and 17 TDs, with a long pass of
62…Team’s third-leading rusher with 76 carries for 198 yards and 1 TD, with a long run of 18…Ranked 14th in the nation in passing
efficiency and 45th in total offense…Ranked 2nd in the league in passing average, 3rd in total offense and 2nd in pass
efficiency…Season-best 422 yards passing versus no.2 Southern Illinois and 8 rushes for 42 yards against Indiana State…Team’s
offensive player of the week after the Iowa State and Western Illinois games…2003 co-captain…2002 honorable mention academic
all-conference…2001 finalist for Freshman of the Year by and league Freshman of the Year while being named to the
All-Newcomer Team.
By Position, Ranked in Order
RB -- Terrance Freeney, UNI, Jr. RB -- Travis Glasford, WIU, Jr. RB -- Cody Pratt, SMS, Sr.
#4 RB Terrance Freeney, UNI, 5-10, 220, Cedar Falls (IA) High
Has started 9-of-10 games played…Leads the team with a school-record 1,135 yards and 14 TDs on 262 carries with a long of
71…Also has caught 7 passes for 61 yards with a long of 23…Had six consecutive 100-yard rushing games, with a career-high 249
yards on 33 carries against Stephen F. Austin…Also had 170 yards against Illinois State, 102 versus Indiana State, 139 against SMS,
123 at Western Illinois and 113 against Youngstown State…Also threw a 10-yard TD pass to quarterback Tom Petrie in the win over
second-ranked Southern Illinois…Ranked 20th in the nation in rushing, 16th in scoring and 45th in all-purpose running…Ranked 3rd
in the league in rushing, 5th in all-purpose running and 3rd in scoring…Added to the Payton Award watch list late in the season
…Received national attention when one of his runs against Stephen F. Austin was a Top 10 Plays of the Day on ESPN…Named the
Gateway’s and Sports Network’s co-Offensive Player of the Week,’s conference Performer of the Week, a All-
Star and Don Hansen’s National Offensive Player of the Week for his effort against SFA…Named’s GFC Performer of
the Week for Northwestern State …Needs just 13 more carries to tie a school record for carries in a season.
#22 RB Travis Glasford, Western Illinois, 5-11, 190, Miami (Fla.), Southridge High School
Leads the Gateway in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game... scored a league-high 19 touchdowns (18 rushing)... ranks second
in the league with 140.0 rushing yards per conference game... the first sophomore in Western Illinois history to rush for 1,000 yards...
averages 109.5 rushing yards per game overall... his five rushing touchdowns, 30 points at Youngstown State are both league highs
on the season... rushed for four touchdowns and 230 yards vs. SMS... recorded six 100-yard games this season.
#28 RB Cody Pratt, Southwest Missouri State, 5-10, 215, Sr., Riviera Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman Catholic
Eight starts at tailback in first year after transferring to SMS...carried 251 times for 1223 rushing yards and 11 TDs, average of 4.9
yards per carry and 111.2 per game...has enjoyed seven 100-yard rushing games and is the leading rusher for SMS...the first SMS
player to rush for 1000 yards in a season since 1998...his four rushing touchdowns in season opener vs. East Central is tied for the
school mark for most in a game . . . moved into second place on the SMS single-season list...finished fourth in the league in rushing
at 111.2/game and seventh in all-purpose yards at 113.7; also ranks seventh in touchdown scoring at 6.0 points/game...finished
second on the school single-season chart with 1,223 rushing yards...tallied 100-yard rushing games vs. three nationally-ranked
conference opponents, also the top three teams in rushing defense in the Gateway—138 vs. SIU, 141 vs. UNI and 139 vs.
WKU...named National Player of the Week by Football Gazette and conference offensive POW after rushing for 157 yards and four
touchdowns in the season opener vs. East Central.
By Position, Ranked in Order
WR -- Reggie Gray, WIU, Jr. WR -- Steven Rush, SMS, Jr. WR -- MIchael Sparks, SMS, Sr.
#85 WR Reggie Gray, Western Illinois, 5-11, 170, Chicago (Ill.), Morgan Park High School
Led all Gateway receivers with eight touchdown catches... averaged 4.29 receptions and 66.3 yards per catch in conference
games...caught a total of 36 passes for 597 yards... averaged 16.6 yards per reception... also averaged 26.2 yards per kick return...
23 kick returns for 602 yards... returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD vs. UNI... returned 10 kicks for 114 yards, averaging 11.4 yards.
#35 WR Steven Rush, SMS, 5-11, 196, Omaha (Neb.) North High
Has started eight games in his first year with the Bears...has 35 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns...against Illinois State
on November 8, he caught 6 passes for 249 yards with four touchdowns and returned three kickoffs for 161 yards and a fifth
touchdown...named Co-National Offensive Player of the Week from Football Gazette and, and Gateway Offensive Player of
the Week for Nov. 8 performance...became the first player in league history to catch three passes of more than 74 yards and score
four touchdowns of more than 74 yards in the same game . . . The next week against Western Illinois (11/15), Rush was named the
National Special Teams Player of the Week from Football Gazette after returning four kickoffs for 144 yards including a 100-yard
touchdown return . . . His 100-yard return was the second-longest in school history ...overall, he has 21 kick returns for 618 yards
with two touchdowns . . . He finished the year ranked second in the Gateway Conference in all-purpose yards (127.6 yards/game),
first in kickoff return yards (29.4 yards/game) and third in receiving yards (65.5 yards/game).
#3 WR/KR Michael Sparks, Southwest Missouri State, 6-1, 190, Santa Cruz (Calif.) Palma High
Has played in all 11 games in first year after transferring to SMS...26 catches for 277 yards receiving...has 39 punt returns for 477
yards and 16 kickoff returns for 394 yards....finished first in the Gateway in punt return average (12.2) and sixth in kickoff returns (24.6)
in the Gateway; also ranked ninth in with 104.4 all-purpose yards per contest...his 477 punt return yards are a school record for most
in a season...named Gateway Special Teams Player of the Week for Sept. 13th and Nov. 1st.
By Position, Ranked in Order
TE -- Mike Roberts, YSU, Sr. TE -- Andy Thorn, UNI, Sr.
#46 TE Mike Roberts, Youngstown State, 6-0, 235, Plant City, Fla./Plant City High
Caught a career-high 29 passes for 300 yards...tied for the team lead in receptions...averaged 10.3 yards per catch...had two
touchdown receptions...caught TDs against Edinboro and Western Illinois...caught passes in 11 of 12 games...had four receptions
against Western Kentucky, Western Illinois and Florida Atlantic...three-time YSU offensive lineman of the game.
#89 TE Andy Thorn, UNI, 6-4, 240, Waterford, MI (Mott High)
Team’s fourth-leading receiver with 14 catches for 161 yards and 4 TDs…Averaging 11.5 yards per catch…Season-best 2 catches
for 67 yards vs. second-ranked Southern Illinois…Has started 8 of 11 games.
By Position, Ranked in Order
OL -- Buster Ashley, WKU, Sr. (1) OL -- Fred Layne, WIU, Jr. (2) C -- Elmer McDaniel, SIU, Sr. (3)
OL -- Stafford Davis, ILS, Jr. (4) C -- Brad Durham, SMS, Sr. (5)
#71 OL Buster Ashley, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 300, Owensboro (Ky.) Senior High
Has an overall grade of 95%, an assignment grade of 99% and a 97% factor grade ... Has a team-best 152 pancake blocks ... Has
allowed just one sack and no quarterback pressures on 183 pass attempts this year ... Hilltoppers are averaging 33.2 points per
game, the fourth-best mark in school history, and 386.4 total yards per game, the highest since 1998 ... WKU ranks in the top 10
nationally in rushing for the 13th consecutive year ... Western is also 17th in the country in scoring offense ... First-team all-conference
last year, second-team all-Gateway in 2001.
#72 OL Fred Layne, Western Illinois, 6-4, 295, Granite City (Ill.), Granite City High School
The top offensive lineman on a squad that led the league in passing offense (245.6 ypg), scoring offense (38.6 ppg) and total
offense (429.4 ypg) in league games... started all 11 games at either right guard, left guard or center... part of an offensive line that
gave up just 19 sacks... blocked for 1,000-yard rusher Travis Glasford... blocks for the Gateway’s #1 quarterback in pass offense
snd total offense... preseason first team all-America pick by The Sports Network... 2002 Gateway all-conference first team.
#71 C Elmer McDaniel, Southern Illinois, 5-11, 305, Muskogee, Okla., NE Oklahoma A&M Junior College
Has started all 11 games at center...Was the Gateway’s Offensive Lineman of the Week on Oct. 15 versus Illinois State when he
graded out at 80 percent on blocking assignments...Helps block for the nation’s 3rd-highest scoring offense (39.1 ppg) and 11thhighest
rushing offense (273.5 ypg)...Salukis average 5.2 yards per carry...Offensive line has allowed just 11 sacks on the year.
#64 OL Stafford Davis, Illinois State, 6-1, 285, Orange Park, Fla. (Clay)
Started all 12 games at left guard … offense averaged a school record 242.3 rushing yards per game … rushing game ranked No. 11
nationally and total offense (420.0 ypg.) ranked No. 16 nationally and third in the conference … led the team in knockdowns with 128
… graded out at 86 percent for the season … played 874 snaps with only two missed assignments.
#68 OC Brad Durham, Southwest Missouri State, 6-3, 290, St. Joseph (Mo.) North High
Has started all 11 games at co-captain and member of line that cleared the way for league’s third-leading rusher, Cody
Pratt, who averaged 111.2 yards/game and 4.9 per carry through 11 a team, SMS averaged 184.7 yards per game
rushing...Bears ranked fourth in GFC in passing behind offensive line...named Gateway Offensive Lineman of the Week after the
Illinois State game.
By Position, Ranked in Order
PK -- Stephen Carroll, ILS, Sr. PK -- Nick Terracina, YSU, Sr. PK -- Brian Wingert, UNI, So.
#99 PK Stephen Carroll, Illinois State, 5-11, 180, O’Fallon, Ill. (O’Fallon)
Played in all 12 games … field goals: 15-19, long 50 yds. … PAT: 35-35 … 80 pts. … No. 5 in school history in career points (213) …
No. 3 in school history with 40 made field goals … No. 4 in team history in kicking points … No. 3 in career PATs with 93 (94 att.) …
continuing streak of 84 straight PAT attempts, No. 2 longest in school and conference history … .727 career FG Pct. (40-55) is No. 1
in school history … 3-for-3 from beyond 50 yards in his career … ranks No. 2 in the league in field goals per game (1.25) and No. 2 in
#18 PK Nick Terracina, Youngstown State, 5-9, 170, Lake Charles, La./Jones College/Barbe High
Made 13-of-17 field-goal attempts for a percentage of 76.5...made 29-of-30 extra-point Gateway play made 8-of-12 field
goals and 14-of-14 extra points...made a school-record 56-yard field goal at Liberty...scored a team-best 68 points, including 38 in
league play...had field goal at Indiana State to force overtime...made four of last five field goals on the season.
#49 PK Brian Wingert, UNI, 6-1, 180, Cedar Falls (IA) High
The true freshman took over the placekicking duties in the sixth game of the year…Has made 11-of-13 field goals, with a long of 48,
and 18-of-19 PATs…Ranks 14th in the nation in field goals…Named league Special Teams Player of the Week two consecutive
weeks, after the Indiana State and Southwest Missouri State games…Also named Don Hansen’s tri-Player of the Week following
SMS game.
By Position, Ranked in Order
DE -- Kyle Mitchell, INS, Jr. DT -- Kevin Stensrud, UNI, Jr. DE -- Steve Watson, SMS, Sr.
#92 DE Kyle Mitchell, Indiana State, 6-2, 230, East Chicago Central (Ind.) High
The Sycamores’ lost yardage leader continued his stellar ISU career this season by recording 70 total tackles, including 12 for a loss
of minus of 61 yards to tie for the team lead ... Led the squad with eight sacks for minus 49 yards ... Returned an interception 72 yards
for his first career touchdown at conference champion Northern Iowa, leading to being named Gateway Co-Defensive Player of the
Week ... Recovered two fumbles on the season ... Has 19 career sacks, needing just six more to break the ISU all-time career record
... Had a season-best three tackles for loss against Youngstown State ... Notched at least one sack in five of the six conference
games that he played in ... Was credited was a season-high 10 total tackles against Western Illinois ... Member of the 2002 Gateway
Football Conference All-Newcomer team.
#92 DT Kevin Stensrud, UNI, 6-1, 268, So., Lake Mills, IA (Lake Mills Community High)
Has started 10-of-11 games…Team’s 11th leading tackler with 38 stops, including 28 solos…Also has 4 sacks and 11 tackles for
loss with 1 forced fumble and 1 deflection…Season-best 7 tackles against Illinois State and Southwest Missouri State…Team’s
special teams player of week after the Illinois State and Western Illinois games.
#56 DE Steve Watson, Southwest Missouri State, 6-3, 225, Jr., St. Charles (Mo.) Francis Howell High
Started 10 of the team’s 11 games...82 total tackles (36 solos, 46 assists), good for second on the team; 11 tackles for loss, a teamleading
four sacks, three pass deflections, a quarterback hurry, two forced fumbles, and a blocked kick...had a season-best 13
tackles vs. Indiana State, 12 vs. Illinois State.
By Position, Ranked in Order
LB -- Boomer Grigsby, ILS, Sr. LB -- Charles Thompson, WKU, Sr. LB -- Royal Whitaker, SIU, Jr.
#46 LB Boomer Grigsby, Illinois State, 6-0, 245, Canton, Ill. (Canton)
Started all 12 games at linebacker … led the conference for a second straight season with 179 tackles, which ranks No. 2 nationally
… leads the nation, for a second straight year, in solo tackles with 109 … had 110 tackles against Gateway opponents … posted
double-digit tackle efforts against all Gateway teams, including 21 vs. Northern Iowa … also had 21 tackles at Illinois … posted 12
TFLs (-28) … three sacks (-15) … four quarterback hurries … two pass break-ups … tallied a fumble force and recovery.
#9 LB Charles Thompson, Western Kentucky, 6-1, 250, Louisville (Ky.) Central High
Ranks third on the team with 88 total tackles despite missing three games with injury ... Has six tackles for loss including three sacks
... Also has recovered a fumble and broken up a pass ... Hilltoppers allowed 97 fewer rushing yards and 6.5 fewer points per game in
four league games after his return than in the three contests he missed ... Averaged 12.8 stops per contest against Gateway opponents
... Posted six games with 10 or more tackles ... Western’s leading tackler on two occasions ... Made 12 stops, including three
for loss with two sacks, and recovered a fumble in win over nationally ranked Eastern Kentucky ... Had 13 tackles in first game back
from injury in win at Indiana State ... Made 10 stops, including one for loss, against nationally ranked Southern Illinois ... Collected 16
tackles with one behind the line of scrimmage in win over then-No. 6 Northern Iowa ... Had 12 tackles and broke up a pass in YSU
victory to end the regular season ... Western ranks in the top 30 nationally in all five defensive categories — rushing, passing, total
yards and points against, and pass efficiency defense — leading the conference in total yards against and in scoring.
#34 LB Royal Whitaker, Southern Illinois, 6-0, 225, Lenexa, Kan., Olathe North High
Played in all 11 games and started 10...Leads the team in interceptions (3) and is second in tackles (73)...Picked up a team-high 12
stops at SEMO and 10 vs. Youngstown State...The Salukis rank 11th in the nation in scoring defense and 19th in total
defense...Named Verizon Academic All-District.
By Position, Ranked in Order
S -- Alexis Moreland, SIU, Sr. CB -- Torre Endsley, SMS, Sr. SS -- Tyler Johnson, UNI, Sr.
#7 S Alexis Moreland, Southern Illinois, 6-1, 205, Sarasota, Fla., Sarasota Riverview High
A finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top I-AA defensive player in the nation...Leads the team in tackles (83) and
is second in interceptions (2).....Has three pass breakups and two blocked punts...Won the Gateway’s “Defensive Player of the
Week” award for his 10 tackles and 1 INT vs. SEMO... Ranks 10th in career tackles at SIU 293...Was a Second Team All-American
by the Associated Press and First Team All-Gateway last season.
#2 DB Torre Endsley, Southwest Missouri State, 6-0, 175, Austell (Ga.) Pebblebrook High
Has started 11 games in first year as transfer to SMS...had 50 total tackles (34 solos, 16 assists), sixth on the team...recorded two
interceptions for 28 yards in returns, 12 pass deflections, and one fumble recovery...key starter in secondary that led the Gateway in
pass defense, allowing just 137.1 yards/game through air...Gateway Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 28.
#6 SS Tyler Johnson, UNI, 5-10, 202, Urbandale (IA) High
Has started all 11 games…Team’s third-leading tackler with 76 total stops, including 33 solos…Credited with 1 forced fumble, a
team-high 4 recoveries, and 10 deflections…Season-best 13 tackles against Stephen F. Austin…Named the league’s co-Special
Teams Player of the Week after Northwestern State, when he blocked a punt and recovered in the end zone for a TD, the first of his
By Position, Ranked in Order
P -- Brian Claybourn, WKU, Sr. P -- Ryan Hoffman, ILS, Jr.
#8 P Brian Claybourn, Western Kentucky, 6-1, 185, Evansville (Ind.) Reitz High
Second in the league and ninth nationally with an average of 42.9 yards per punt — that figure is the best season average in Western
history ... Almost a third — 14 of 45 — of his kicks have ended inside the opponents’ 20-yard line ... Has 15 kicks of 50 yards or longer
... Averaged better than 40 yards per punt in eight of 10 games, with five contests averaging 45 yards or more — he wasn’t called on
to punt once this season ... Averaged 48.2 yards per kick with three inside the 20-yard line in win over nationally ranked Eastern
Kentucky ... Had an average of 45.4 yards on seven punts at I-A Auburn ... Named the Gateway Conference Special Teams Player of
the Week after averaging 49.3 yards per punt at nationally ranked Western Illinois ... Recorded an average of 45.2 yards per punt with
two inside the 20-yard line against then-No. 3 Southern Illinois ... Averaged 45 yards per kick in regular season finale at Youngstown
State ... Efforts have helped WKU end the year ranked 13th in the country in net punting ... Second-team all-Gateway Conference and
member of the league’s All-Newcomer Team in 2001, honorable mention all-league last year.
#14 P Ryan Hoffman, Illinois State, 6-2, 186, Stevens Point, Wis. (Area)
Played in 10 games … led the conference in punting with a 43.6 average, which also ranked No. 6 nationally … the Redbirds ranked
No. 2 nationally in net punting (39.20) … had 36 punts for 1570 yards, including a long of 58 yards … dropped 11 kicks inside the 20-
yard line.
By Position, Ranked in Order
RS -- James Norris, WIU, Sr. RS -- Michael Sparks, SMS, Sr.
#7 RS James Norris, Western Illinois, 5-8, 170, Northridge (Calif.), Granada Hills Kennedy High School
Led the nation in punt returns before missing three games due to a broken thumb... averages 20.6 yards per punt return, 14 returns
for 289 yards... scored on a school-record 95-yard punt return vs. I-A Eastern Michigan... returned two kicks for 31 yards... also
caught 31 passes for 507 yards and one touchdown... 63.4 receiving yards per game and 16.4 yards per catch.
#3 WR/KR Michael Sparks, Southwest Missouri State, 6-1, 190, Santa Cruz (Calif.) Palma High
Has played in all 11 games in first year after transferring to SMS...26 catches for 277 yards receiving...has 39 punt returns for 477
yards and 16 kickoff returns for 394 yards....finished first in the Gateway in punt return average (12.2) and sixth in kickoff returns (24.6)
in the Gateway; also ranked ninth in with 104.4 all-purpose yards per contest...his 477 punt return yards are a school record for most
in a season...named Gateway Special Teams Player of the Week for Sept. 13th and Nov. 1st.