ST. LOUIS, MO - Missouri State senior tight end Matt Thayer (Bellevue, Neb.) and sophomore linebacker Andrew Beisel (Fenton, Mo.) were part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference's preseason all-conference teams announced Thursday (Aug. 2) by the 10-member conference.
Two of the Bears' top returners, Thayer and Beisel are both honorable mention selections to the 2012 Preseason All-MVFC team as voted on by the conference's head coaches, media and sports information directors.
Thayer is a College Football Performance Awards preseason watch list selection among Division I FCS tight ends after he collected 20 receptions for 247 yards and three touchdowns last year. He landed on the MVFC All-Conference squad in 2011 as an honorable mention selection and is one of only two tight ends on the conference's preseason team, along with Southern Illinois' MyCole Pruitt.
An inside linebacker, Beisel led the Bears with 84 tackles and six stops for loss a year ago as a redshirt freshman. He was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer squad in 2011 and is one of nine starters back on the MSU defense. He just missed the MVFC preseason first team this fall which includes three seniors and a junior. Beisel is one of three linebackers among the Valley's preseason honorable mention picks.
The MVFC also announced its preseason poll on Thursday with defending Division I FCS national champion North Dakota State picking up 37 of the possible 38 votes to land the top spot with 379 points. Perennial league power UNI (300) is picked second, followed by Youngstown State (291), Illinois State (287), Indiana State (228), South Dakota State (182), Southern Illinois (167), conference newcomer South Dakota (97), Western Illinois (90) and Missouri State (69). Illinois State picked up the other possible first-place vote from the MVFC head coaches, media and SIDs.
The addition of South Dakota to the Valley Football lineup this fall brings the league total to 10 members for the first time. The Bears were picked ninth out of nine teams a year ago and tied for seventh in the league standings after winning two of their last four games, both on the road.
MSU players report to campus today with 33 lettermen and 14 starters back from last season. The Bears, who rolled out a new-look offense this spring, open the 2012 campaign on Sept. 1 at Kansas State and begin their five-game home slate on Sept. 15 against Murray State at 7 p.m.
The Bears will be introduced to the media on Friday afternoon for the team's annual Media Day at Plaster Field. Go to www.MissouriStateBears.com for additional team preseason coverage and information throughout the season.