The opening kickoff of the 2014 football season is just 43 days away, but the preseason accolades have begun to roll in for Valparaiso. USA College Football named four Crusaders to its Pre-Season Division I-AA FCS All-American list Tuesday.
Seniors Tanner Kuramata (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont) and Stuart Barkley (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest) were both announced as Offensive Second Team recipients.
In addition to accruing 77 kickoff return yards in 2013, Kuramata hauled in a team-leading 879 receiving yards on 56 receptions. His eight TD catches were also a team watermark. Barkley returns for his senior season as a stout mainstay on the Crusader offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Alex Green (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville Community) was elected a Defensive Third Team player. Green led the Crusaders - and most of the PFL for a considerable stretch - in tackles with 110 tackles, 58 of which were solos. Green also added 4.5 tackles for a loss totaling 12 yards to his 2013 stat sheet.
Junior John Guilford (Spencer, Ohio/Black River) earned an Honorable Mention nod as a defensive lineman. Guilford accumulated six sacks as a sophomore in addition to his 49 tackles. He also blocked two kicks on special teams.
All four returners were named Honorable Mention All-Pioneer Football League players in 2013. Furthermore, Green (First Team Academic All-PFL) and Barkley (Second Team Academic All-PFL) were both recognized for their work in the classroom last season.
The Crusaders open their 2014 season on Thursday, August 28th at 6:00 pm CT when they take on Western Illinois University in Macomb.