The Valparaiso University football team boasts three players on the 2017 Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Team, which was announced on Tuesday.
The Crusaders are represented by senior running back Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City), junior linebacker Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) and sophomore return specialist Bailey Gessinger (Napanee, Ind. / Northwood).
This marks the most players Valpo has placed on the Preseason All-PFL team since 2011, when four Crusaders received the honor.
Morgan played in 10 games and led Valpo in rushing with 576 net yards as a junior while serving as Valpo’s primary starting running back. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry and 57.6 yards per game on the ground while running for two touchdowns. In addition, Morgan played a role in the passing game, making 30 catches for 285 yards and three scores. He ranked seventh in the PFL in all-purpose yards with 94.0 per game. Morgan had three straight 100-yard rushing performances from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, becoming the first Crusader to do so since Jeff Horton in 2005.
Snouffer played in 11 games and accumulated 102 tackles as a sophomore. He also made two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Snouffer led the Crusaders and ranked fourth in the PFL with 9.3 tackles per game and was one of only four players in the league to reach the 100-tackle mark. His breakout sophomore season came after making 16 tackles the entire 2015 season, a season total he surpassed in Week 2 of 2016. Snouffer was Valpo’s leading tackler in seven games in 2016.
Gessinger thrived as a kick return specialist during his freshman season, playing in all 11 games. He ranked second in the PFL with 24.4 yards per kickoff return and led the league in total return yards with 757. Gessinger had two kickoff returns for touchdowns, while the rest of the league had one combined. He was one of three players in the FCS nation with two kickoff returns for scores. In addition, Gessinger became the first player in program history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a single season. He had 100 or more kickoff return yards in three games, including a season-high 150 on Nov. 12 against Jacksonville.
Valpo kicks off the 2017 season on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Montana at 2 p.m. CT at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The home opener is set for Saturday, Sept. 9 against Duquesne, while PFL play kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Drake.