Pioneer Football League announces 2021 Preseason All-PFL Team

Wednesday, July 28, 2021
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Pioneer Football League named 38 student-athletes to its Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Teams Wednesday, including 29 returning First Team All-PFL selections.

Returning players named to the league’s 2020-21 All-PFL Teams were placed automatically on the 2020 Preseason All-PFL team in order of head coaches voting. In addition, the 2021 preseason team includes student-athletes from the University of Dayton and Marist College who would have appeared on the 2020 Preseason All-PFL Team.

Preseason favorite and defending champion Davidson has five preseason selections: running back Dylan Sparks, fullback Coy Williams, offensive lineman Khalil Miller, defensive lineman Jonathan Hammond, and linebacker Jake Alexander. Sparks, Williams, and Miller led a Wildcats offensive unit that led all FCS programs in rushing yards (280.0 yards per game). Hammond returns after earning Freshman Defensive Player of the Year accolades after posting 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in his seven-game debut campaign.

San Diego, picked to finish second in Tuesday’s PFL Preseason Coaches’ Poll, saw seven of its student-athletes earn preseason recognition: wide receiver Michael Carner, tight end Derek Kline, offensive lineman DJ Wright, linebackers Kyle Bilchik and Kama Kamaka as well as defensive backs Michael Hawkins and Hunter Nichols. The Toreros five defensive selections paced a defensive that permitted a league-low 266.0 total yards per game and tallied a league-best 3.17 sacks per game over six outings.

Drake, picked third in the coaches poll, placed three on the preseason team while Dayton, picked fourth, returns five preseason picks. Morehead State, which was picked seventh, had six preseason selections, second-most among the league’s 11 members.

The upcoming 2019 season marks the 29th year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams, each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Championship.

The 2021 schedule gets underway Thursday, Sept. 2, when Drake hosts West Virginia Wesleyan, and the rest of the league gets underway Saturday, Sept. 4. The 2019 PFL race starts in Week 4 (Sept. 14) with a full five-game slate of league outings.

2021 Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Team

(as selected by PFL head coaches)
Pos. Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown
WR BJ Byrd (1) Morehead State 6-2 190 Sr. Richmond, Calif.
WR Michael Carner (1) San Diego 6-1 190 RSo. Westlake Village, Calif.
WR Yogi Flager (2) Butler 5-10 165 RFr. Fairview Heights, Ill.
QB Mark Pappas (1) Morehead State 6-2 213 Jr. Avon Lake, Ohio
QB Jack Cook (1) Dayton 6-0 207 Sr. Cranberry Township, Pa.
TE Derek Kline (1) San Diego 6-5 230 RSo. Phoenix, Ariz.
RB Jake Chisholm (1) Dayton 5-9 182 Jr. Union, Ky.
RB Dylan Sparks (1) Davidson 6-0 201 Jr. Centreville, Va.
RB Robert Washington (1, PotY) Valparaiso 5-11 215 Sr. Huntersville, N.C.
FB Coy Williams (1) Davidson 5-11 202 Sr. Lumberton, Texas
A-P BJ Byrd (2) Morehead State 6-2 190 Sr. Richmond, Calif.
OL Billy Corte (1) Stetson 6-5 285 RSr. Cleveland, Ohio
OL Antonio Derry (1) Stetson 6-4 308 RSr. Baltimore, Md.
OL Cam Marriott (1) Morehead State 6-3 300 Jr. Redlands, Calif.
OL Khalil Miller (1) Davidson 6-3 299 Sr. Lithonia, Ga.
OL DJ Wright (1) San Diego 6-4 275 RJr. Pittsburg, Calif.
DL Jonathan Hammond (2, FRotY) Davidson 6-2 218 So. Dunwoody, Ga.
DL Jake Hoper (2) Drake 6-4 269 Sr. South Beloit, Ill.
DL Vaughn Taylor Jr. (1) Morehead State 6-2 252 Sr. Washington, D.C.
DL Fermon Reid (1) Stetson 6-0 254 Gr. Naples, Fla.
DL Aaron Acosta (H) Marist 6-0 285 RJr. Mount Laurel, N.J.
LB Jake Alexander (1) Davidson 6-0 189 Sr. Belmont, N.C.
LB Kyle Bilchik (1) San Diego 5-10 210 Sr. Simi Valley, Calif.
LB Kama Kamaka (1) San Diego 6-1 210 Sr. Kailua, Hawaii
LB Jaxon Peifer (1) Valparaiso 6-1 235 Sr. Normal, Ill.
LB Zach Rumpke (H) Dayton 6-0 196 RSo. Cincinnati, Ohio
LB Vincent Winey (1) Morehead State 6-1 230 Sr. Lindenhurst, N.Y.
DB Brandon Easterling (1) Dayton 6-0 203 Sr. Fairborn, Ohio
DB Kyle Fleitman (2) Marist 6-0 178 Gr. Islip Terrace, N.Y.
DB Michael Hawkins (1) San Diego 6-1 200 Sr. San Diego, Calif.
DB Danny Morales (2) Drake 5-11 180 Sr. Temecula, Calif.
DB Hunter Nichols (1) San Diego 6-0 185 Jr. Los Angeles, Calif.
DB Keyon Turner (1) Valparaiso 5-9 160 So. Chicago, Ill.
PK Brian Bartholomew (1) Valparaiso 5-11 160 RJr. Sugar Grove, Ill.
PK Sam Webster (2) Dayton 5-10 215 So. Richfield, Ohio
P Ben Niesner (1, PotY) Valparaiso 6-0 190 RSr. Black Diamond, Wash.
RS Jaylon Johnson (1) Stetson 5-10 156 RSo. Olive Branch, Miss.
LS Ryan Kriceri (1) Drake 6-2 235 5th Aurora, Ill.
Notes in parentheses: 1-was a first-team selection; 2-was a second-team selection; H-was an honorable mention selection in previous year of competition. (Dayton and Marist student-athletes from 2019 all others from 2020 All-PFL Teams). PotY-2020-21 Player of the Year (Offensive, Defensive or Special Teams), FRotY- 2020-21 Freshman of the Year (Offensive or Defensive).