Piatkowski and Moorehead were first-team All-PFL performers on Drake's conference co-champion squad in 2011, while Coleman was a second-team choice and Marshall earned honorable mention. Piatkowski is the reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year and Merritt was Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
Coleman, a senior from Cary, Ill. (Cary-Grove) 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.
Marshall, a senior from Glen Ellyn, Ill. (Glenbard South) had a breakout season in 2011, in his second season 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 year 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.
Merritt, a redshirt-sophomore from Johnston, Iowa (Johnston), 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 year as a starter. He also earned second-team Academic All-PFL honors.
Moorehead, a fifth-year senior from Mason City, Iowa (Newman Catholic), 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.
Piatkowski, a co-captain and fifth-year senior from Wheaton, Ill. (Warrenville South), 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%), 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; 1st PFL) and 21st in total offense (253.8; 5th PFL), and posted three 300-yard passing games. He also threw 25 touchdown passes, the second-highest single-season total in Drake history.
The Bulldogs open the 2012 season at home versus Grand View on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. at Drake Stadium. For tickets please visit www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com, or call (515) 271-DOGS.