FSU's Jake Visser & Terrell Heggins Tabbed As Preseason All-Americans

The first preseason football publication recently hit newsstands nationwide and two Ferris State University players have claimed preseason All-America First Team accolades.

Jake Visser
Terrell Heggins
Bulldog seniors Jake Visser (top) and Terrell Heggins (bottom) have been tabbed as first-team Preseason All-Americans by Lindy's College Football Preview
Senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) and senior cornerback Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) were among the first-team preseason selections in the 2008 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Listing. The annual magazine publication features coverage along with rankings from all NCAA football divisions and is in its 27th year of existance.

Additionally, the magazine selected FSU's Visser as its Divsion II Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Ferris State was one of six Division II programs to have two players chosen as first-team preseason All-Americans along with fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) rival Grand Valley State in addition to North Dakota, Central Washington, Northwest Missouri State and West Texas A&M.

Lindy's named 11 players to both the offensive and defensive first and second teams in addition to a kicker, punter and all-purpose performer on each squad. Besides Visser and Heggins, three other GLIAC players were tabbed to the first-team in Ashland's Dawon Harvey (all-purpose) along with the GVSU combination of Dan Skuta (defensive line) and Danny Richard (linebacker). Four league players were recognized as second-team selections, including wide receiver Aaron Waldie (Hillsdale), tight end Matt Patillo (Hillsdale), linebacker Tom Korte (Hillsdale) and punter Kurtis Fournier (Saginaw Valley State).

Along with Visser's selection as Defensive Player of the Year, the publication's other preseason award winners included a Most Valuable Player in running back Bernard Scott of Abilene Christian (Texas), Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly as Offensive Player of the Year and a Newcomer of the Year in quarterback Blake Barnes of Delta State (Miss.).

Two GLIAC programs were ranked in the magazine's preseason top 25 as GVSU was third and Ashland picked 21st. Defending national champion Valdosta State (Ga.) was given the publication's preseason number one ranking with returning national runner-up Northwest Missouri State second followed by Grand Valley State, North Dakota and Central Washington in the top five overall.

FSU's Sept. 6 league opener at Ashland earned billing as one of the magazine's 20 "key games" while GVSU's road contest against Saginaw Valley State the following week (Sept. 13) was one of five showdowns highlighted as Division II's "big games" for 2008.

Last season, Visser earned first-team All-America recognition from D2football.com, the American Football Coaches Association and Don Hansen's Football Gazette. He was also named to both the Daktronics All-America Second Team squad and the Associated Press Little All-America Second Team. Visser claimed ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team honors in addition to being one of inaugural fall recipeints of the GLIAC Commissioner's Award for Athletics and Academic Excellence a year ago.

In 2007, Visser tallied the squad's second-highest tackles figure (106) and led the squad in tackles for loss with 14.5 for minus 62 yards, which ranked fifth in the conference. He also had a team-best nine quarterback hurries along with 5.5 sacks for a loss of 41 yards. In 34 career contests, Visser has compiled 290 tackles (154 solos) with five fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and four pass deflections. He also has 38.5 tackles for loss resulting in a negative 165 yards. Visser is presently seventh on Ferris State's all-time pass sacks leaders list with 20.0 total for a negative 125 yards. The team Most Valuable Player Award recipient received 2007 first-team All-Northwest Region accolades for the second consecutive year and was tabbed as the GLIAC's Defensive Lineman of the Year after earning all-conference first team laurels for the second year in a row. Along with placing fifth among last season's league leaders in tackles for loss, Visser also ranked sixth in total tackles (9.6 tpg.). Previously, Lindy's recognized Visser last summer (2007) as a Preseason All-America Second Team choice.

The 5-11 Heggins made the most of his initial season with the Bulldogs in 2007 after transferring from Grand Rapids Community College. He claimed All-GLIAC Second Team honors after ranking tied for fourth in passes defended (1.00 pg.) among the GLIAC's overall leaders. Heggins netted a team-high tying nine pass breakups and two interceptions as a nine-game starter last fall. He placed ninth on the squad with 36 total tackles, including 24 solo stops in 11 contests. Additionally, Heggins recovered one fumble, forced a fumble and totaled two tackles for a loss of six yards. He started the final nine games of the campaign.

Ferris State will kickoff its 100th season of varsity competition Saturday, Aug. 30, against the Tiffin (Ohio) Dragons in a 2:30 p.m. (EDT) non-conference contest at Tiffin, Ohio. The Bulldogs, who will play an 11-game regular-season schedule, then open GLIAC action the following Saturday, Sept. 6, on the road at 1 p.m. (EDT) versus the Ashland Eagles in Ashland, Ohio. FSU's home opener is slated for Saturday, Sept. 13, against the Findlay Oilers with kickoff set for 7 p.m. (EDT) at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.

The Bulldogs posted a 6-5 overall record on the field during the 2007 campaign, which represented the program's eighth winning campaign in 13 years under head coach Jeff Pierce and marks the 13th time in the last 19 years the Bulldogs have finished above .500 for the year. However, the record was recently changed to 7-4 overall in the GLIAC standings, reflecting Saginaw Valley State's decision to forfeit four games last campaign. FSU placed tied for fourth in the conference as the school's final league record was 6-4 following the earned forfeit.

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