Four earn pre-season All-American honors

ANGOLA, Ind. – USA College Football, Inc. has named its 25th Annual Division III Pre-Season All Americans and four Trine University players are honored.

Senior left tackle Taylor Sprague, a Lowell (Mich.) High School graduate, was named to the offense second team. Last season, Sprague was honored as an All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First team selection and he started all 10 games for the Trine Thunder.

Senior kicker Tyler Keck, an Elkhart Memorial High School graduate, was named to the special teams second and third teams. In June, Beyond Sports Network (BSN) announced that Keck was named to the Preseason Division III All America Second Team.

At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Keck was named to the BSN All America Third Team after also being named to the All-MIAA First Team and All-North Region Third Team. He connected on nine straight field goals to start the season, including a season-long 40-yard boot. Keck finished second in the conference in scoring, averaging 7.5 points per game, making a conference best seven field goals and was a perfect 24 for 24 on extra points, which also led the conference.

Senior left guard Andrew Webster, a North Side (Fort Wayne) High School graduate, was named to the offense fourth team. Webster was also named to the All-MIAA First Team and's third team. Webster, like Sprague, started all 10 games for the Thunder.

Senior outside linebacker Caleb Nitz Sr., a Lakeshore (Baroda, Mich.) High School graduate, was named to the defense honorable mention team. Nitz was also named to the All-MIAA First Team last year. Last season, Nitz ranked 13th in MIAA action averaging 6.8 tackles per game while finishing the season with 72 total tackles (37 solo, 35 assisted), despite missing a game because of injury. His 72 tackles ranked him fifth among all players in the MIAA on the year. Nitz also finished second on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss.

Matt Land begins his eighth season as head coach of the Thunder program. Last year, Land became the winningest coach in school history with 53 victories while the Thunder ended the season second in the conference with a 5-1 record and 7-3 on the year.

All first and second team USA College honorees are on the Watch List for the 11 Division III Position Player of the Year Awards. Recipients will be recognized at the annual USA Small College Football Banquet on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the Hansen Bowl in February 2014. Every senior with no remaining eligibility, first, second, third, fourth teams and honorable mention as well as upcoming Regional Players of the Week are eligible to participate in the annual four-day, three-night event. All seniors participating in the event will be presented certificates at the Annual Small College Football Awards Banquet.