DES MOINES, Iowa - Drake landed five players on Phil Steele's 2012 Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Teams, it was announced in Steele's FCS College Football Preview magazine this week.
First-team selections include quarterback Mike Piatkowski (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South), tight end Kevin Marshall (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard South), defensive end Brandon Coleman (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove) and linebackers Travis Merritt (Johnston, Iowa/Johnston) and Tyler Moorehead (Mason City, Iowa/Newman Catholic).
Piatkowski, a co-captain and fifth-year senior, enters his final season as the Bulldogs' signal-caller within reach of most of the school's career passing records.
In 2011 he climbed from 11th to second in career passing yards, and now stands at 6,927. Coming off a 2,934-yard season, he needs just 941 to catch all-time leader Ira Vandever (7,868; 1999-2002). Already the school's career leader in completions (595) and completion percentage (62.3 percent), Piatkowski's 54 touchdown passes leave him just 13 behind Vandever in that category.
In his junior season Piatkowski ranked 11th in the nation (FCS) in passing efficiency (151.4; first PFL) and 21st in total offense (253.8; fifth PFL), and posted three 300-yard passing games. He also threw 25 touchdown passes, the second-highest single-season total in Drake history.
Marshall, a senior, had a breakout season in 2011, in his second year of eligibility. He caught a career-high 33 passes to rank fourth on the team and totaled 280 receiving yards (8.5) and three touchdowns in his first campaign as the full-time starter. He had four games with five receptions. In his first year of play, in 2010, the 6'-4", 237-pound Marshall caught two passes for 49 yards (24.5) and one touchdown.
Coleman, a senior, is coming off a stellar junior season in which he recorded a team-high 12.0 sacks (-76) and led all Bulldogs defensive linemen with 51 tackles (31 solo) in his first year as a starter. Coleman ranked fourth in the PFL and 10th in the nation (FCS) in sacks, and added 16.5 tackles for loss. He earned PFL Defensive Player of the Week for Drake's win at Butler, Sept. 24, 2011, with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Merritt, a redshirt-sophomore, ranked second on the team in tackles last year with 66 (38 solo), as well as one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his first campaign as a starter. He also earned second-team Academic All-PFL honors.
Moorehead, a fifth-year senior, is a 2012 co-captain for Drake, who has earned first-team All-Pioneer Football League honors each of the past two seasons, and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-District choice in 2011.
Moorehead has led the Bulldogs in tackles each of the past two seasons. Last year he recorded 78 stops (55 solo), including 10.5 sacks (-87) and 21.0 tackles for loss (-109), along with two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two pass breakups and two blocked kicks. Moorehead has started all 33 games in his career and recorded 218 tackles (150 solo), including 14.5 sacks and 40.0 tackles for loss.
The Bulldogs open the 2012 season Aug. 30 hosting cross-town foe Grand View in Drake Stadium at 7:00 p.m. Season and individual game tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling (515) 271-DOGS (3647) or online at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.