Walker, Neukirch Named Preseason All-Americans
July 9, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - With just a month left before the start of fall training camp, a pair of Illinois State football players were nationally recognized Monday, when Tyrone Walker and Jordan Neukirch were named to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America Third Team.
Walker and Neukirch were two of nine players from the Missouri Valley Football Conference named to the three-team list. Indiana State's Shakir Bell and Ben Obaseki, and North Dakota State's Marcus Williams represent the league on the first team, while Tyler Sievertsen of Northern Iowa was a second-team selection. Jamaine Cook of Youngstown State, Aaron Archie of Indiana State and Tyler Starr of South Dakota join the pair of Redbirds to round out the MVFC selections on the third team.
A 2011 All-MVFC Second-Team selection, Walker led the team with 64 catches for 787 yards and eight touchdowns on the season and averaged 12.3 yards per catch. In 2010, the Indianapolis, Ind., native was an All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second-Team selection and led the Redbirds with 974 yards receiving on 59 catches and hauled in 12 touchdown passes, the second-highest single-season mark in school history. That followed up a freshman campaign that saw Walker named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team, after he led all league freshmen with 37 receptions for 485 yards set an ISU freshman record with those 37 receptions.
Walker heads into his senior season ranked fourth in the ISU record books in career receiving yards (2,246) and receptions (160) and is second in career receiving touchdowns with 23.
Neukirch was a 2011 All-MVFC Second-Team selection at fullback for the Redbirds. The Algonquin, Ill., native played in all 11 games, with five starts, and helped the Redbirds rush for 183.4 yards per game, up from 131 yards per game in 2010. He was the primary lead blocker for Ashton Leggett, who rushed for 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns and became the first Redbird back to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2006.
In addition, Neukirch was a vital member of the protection team that only allowed six sacks and ranked No. 3 in the country in sacks allowed. He finished the season with four receptions for 40 yards and was a standout on special teams with seven tackles.
The Redbirds will open fall training camp Saturday, Aug. 4, in preparation for the season-opener Saturday, Sept.1, against Dayton at Hancock Stadium.
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