Ten EIU Players Named To All-OVC Team

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Published on July 19 2013 11:10 am
Last Updated on July 19 2013 11:10 am
Written by Millie Lange

CLEVELAND – With the Ohio Valley Conference Football Media Day just around the corner, Phil Steele.com has released its 2013 preseason All-OVC team with 10 Eastern Illinois Panthers spanning the first and second team.  Senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the preseason OVC Player of the Year by the publication.

Garoppolo is joined on the first team by wide receiver Erik Lora, offensive linemen Dominic Pagliara and Collin Seibert.  Senior safety Nick Beard was a first team selection on defense while kicker Cameron Berra was a first team selection on special teams.  Four EIU defensive players earned second team All-OVC honors with lineman Pat Wertz, linebackers LeQuince McCall and Robert Haynes and defensive back Jourdan Wickliffe.

Garoppolo was a second team All-OVC selection at quarterback last season setting the OVC single season record for passing yards with 3,823 yards.  Garoppolo placed 10th in voting for the 2012 Walter Payton Award and has been named a candidate for the award again in 2013.  He was named a second team preseason All-American by Phil Steele.com.

Lora was a consensus first team All-American last year setting the FCS single season record with 136 catches for 1,664 yards (fifth most in FCS single season history).  Lora was named the 2012 OVC Offensive Player of the Year and the 2012-13 OVC Male Athlete of the Year.  He finished fourth in voting for the 2012 Walter Payton Award and has been named a candidate for the award again in 2013.  This season he has been named a preseason All-American by every FCS publication including being named the FCS preseason Offensive Player of the Year by Lindy’s.

Last season Eastern Illinois was the only FCS school with two finalists on the Walter Payton Award list with Lora and Garoppolo both finishing in the top ten, the first time that a school has had two players finish that high in award history.

Pagliara was named a fourth team All-American by Phil Steele.com this preseason as he helped to anchor an offensive line that blocked for both a 1,000 yard rusher and 3,800 yard passer.  A senior tackle, Pagliara helped block for an offensive unit that ranked in the top ten in the NCAA in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense.

Seibert was a first team All-OVC selection at guard last season helping to anchor an offensive line that blocked for both a 1,000 yard rusher and 3,800 yard passer.  A junior, Seibert helped block for an offensive unit that ranked in the top ten in the NCAA in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense.

Beard was a first team All-OVC selection at safety last season ranking second on the team in tackles with 85 stops.  He was the EIU leader in solo tackles with 61 and pass break-ups with nine.

Berra was a first team All-OVC selection last season at kicker and was named a first team preseason All-American by Phil Steele.com.  Berra was 12-of-13 on field goals last season including 5-of-5 from beyond 40 yards.  Berra made 48 of 52 point after attempts.

Wertz was a second team All-OVC selection last year at defensive line.  Wertz was granted a sixth year by the NCAA and returns as the lone starter in the front four.  He made 53 tackles last year with 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.

McCall was named to the All-OVC Newcomer team last season after transferring from Baylor.  The senior linebacker was third on the team with 82 tackles including 5.5 tackles for loss.

Haynes was the Panthers leading tackler at middle linebacker last season as a sophomore despite missing one game due to injury.  He made 101 tackles with 6.5 for loss.  Haynes was tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

Wickliffe came on strong in the defensive secondary after switching sides of the football following the third game of the season.  The junior finished the year with 76 tackles including two interceptions.

EIU opens the regular season on August 31 at San Diego State.  The Panthers home opener is Sept. 14 against Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic.  Season tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com

The Ohio Valley Conference will release its official preseason All-OVC team and predicted order of finish on Monday, July 22 at the OVC Football Media Day in Nashville, Tenn.