Senior Defensive Tackle Named To Sporting News Division II Preseason Team

Ferris State University senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) continues to receive preseason acclaim as he was recently named to the Sporting News Division II Preseason All-America Team.

Jake Visser
A returning All-America pick, Visser was among seven players from Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member institutions listed on the Sporting News' preseason team. The nationwide magazine publication, which included a single team, featured 12 players on both the offensive and defensive sides along with two specialists. No second-team selections were recognized.

The annual publication, which is produced by American City Business Journals, was formerly known as Street & Smith's before the parent company purchased Sporting News late last year. The Sporting News flag was chosen for the annuals and the new yearbooks are a combination of America's oldest sports annuals in Street & Smith's along with what formerly was found in the Sporting News.

In addition to Visser, the other GLIAC players honored included running back Joique Bell (Wayne State), offensive linemen Billy Eisenhardt (Grand Valley State) and Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale), all-purpose performer Dawon Harvey (Ashland), defensive lineman Dan Skuta (Grand Valley State) along with linebacker Tom Korte (Hillsdale). A total of 26 individuals were named to the Sporting News team.

In addition to the preseason All-America team, the publication also included a Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. GVSU was picked as the preseason number one team followed by California (Pa.), Valdosta State (Georgia), Northwest Missouri State and Abilene Christian (Texas) in the top five. GLIAC member Ashland came in 16th overall with Hillsdale listed 23rd as three league schools made the publication's preseason poll.

Previously, Visser was also honored prior to last season as a preseason All-America choice by the Street & Smith's name. It also represents the third preseason All-America team he has been named to this summer as he was previously honored as a 2008 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Preseason First Team and a Consensus Draft Services (CDS) Division II Preseason All-America Second Team choice. Lindy's also selected Visser as its Divsion II Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Visser capped off a memorable junior campaign in 2007 by earning 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.).

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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