Bulldog Football Opens Camp
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - Fall camp opens this week for the defending co-champion of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, Truman Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were picked second with a pair of first place votes in the preseason conference coaches' poll.
The first practice will be under the lights at Stokes Stadium beginning around 8:30 p.m. They will return to the field each morning during the first week running from nine to 11 a.m.Starting on Monday, August 14, practices and camp with shift to the south field while the stadium renovation projects wrap up.
The 2017 Bulldogs return 41 letterwinners, 21 from the offense and 17 from the defense, that finished 8-3 last season and earned a share the GLVC Championship with Southwest Baptist University. It was the first GLVC title for the Bulldogs and 27th overall conference title.
Head Coach Gregg Nesbitt, entering his eighth season at the helm of his alma mater, will bring back 10 players that earned all-conference honors including the GLVC Freshman of the Year in quarterback Jaden Barr. Barr accounted for 27 touchdowns (17 passing and 10 rushing) and had 2,244 yards of total offense. Other high profile sophomores that earned all-league honors were running back Jordan Salimaand receiver Drew Slager. Senior Nick Verbeck earned all-league honors after starting all 11 games at left guard.
The Truman defense continued its stingy play as they allowed just over 20 points per game and only 103 yards rushing per opponent last season. They return seven starters including bookend defensive ends in sophomore Sam Reeves and senior Isaiah Hinton. Reeves was a first team all-GLVC defensive player after recording 16 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks last year as a redshirt freshman. Hinton was honorable mention all-GLVC after recording 9.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks. Linebackers senior Ben Wellman is a two-time all-GLVC performer after earning first team accolades last season and sophomore Bryan Edwards was a second team selection. Senior Jordan Brown is also a two-time all-GLVC team member and will anchor the defensive backs.
Junior punter Brock Rohler earned honorable mention GLVC accolades with nearly half of his punts ending inside opponents' 20 yard line. Senior punt returner Jordan Jorgenson set a Truman record with 375 return yards as a junior and averaged 11.7 yards per return.
The Bulldogs will open the season with consecutive road games. They will travel to Houghton, Michigan for a Thursdayopener on August 31 against Michigan Tech. The Huskies were picked sixth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) coaches poll and finished 4-6 last season.
The following week, Truman will take on one of the top programs in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa. The Mustangs were picked to win their seventh straight conference title and were sixth nationally in the NAIA Football Spring Top 25 poll. They were 10-2 last year and have a 134-27 record since the start of the 2004 season.
Truman opens defense of their shared GLVC title and will christen a new Stokes Stadium on September 16 when they host Missouri S&T for Family Night. The stadium underwent a renovation project that included a new turf and press box. The Miners finished 5-6 last year and 4-4 in the GLVC but return the majority of starters.
The rest of the schedule will feature games at Lincoln (September 23), at Indianapolis (September 30), at home against co-champion Southwest Baptist (October 7), national Division II powerhouse Grand Valley State for Homecoming on October 14, road conference games against William Jewell (October 21) and Quincy (October 28) before finishing up at home for the final two weeks with a rematch with Southwest Baptist, a non-conference game, on November 4and McKendree on November 11.