The start of fall camp is just over a month away, but honors have already started coming in for several returning members of the Dakota Wesleyan University football team.
Five Tigers have been named to the 2012 Beyond Sports Network NAIA Preseason All-American team, it was announced by BSN this week. Offensive lineman Nathan Little was named to the first team, wide receiver Anthony Muilenburg earned second team honors, quarterback Jon Bane was named to the third team and linebacker Mike Barnaud and punter Derek Carlson earned honorable mention accolades.
Little enters his senior season with the Tigers coming off one a successful junior campaign. He earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference First Team Offense honors after anchoring an offensive line that allowed DWU to be one of the most explosive offense teams in the league. He helped allow the Tigers to run for 1,152 yards and throw for a school-record 2,944 yards. The Tigers led the GPAC in pass offense (294.4), were second in total offense (409.6) and fourth in scoring offense (33.9). Little, an Aberdeen, S.D., native, has been a leader on the Tigers’ offensive line each of his four seasons.
Muilenburg earned AFCA First Team All-American honors after a standout year as a junior. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native earned All-GPAC First Team Offense honors as a slot receiver, and he also earned Second Team Special Teams honors as a punt return specialist. He caught a team-high 64 passes for 855 yards, and led the team with 15 touchdowns. He set school records for receiving yards in a game (233) and longest reception (99 yards). After three seasons at Dakota Wesleyan, Muilenburg – who led the GPAC in receptions (6.4) and was third in receiving yards (85.5) per game – is second on the career receptions list (160), third on the all-time receiving chart (1,793) and 10th on the career scoring list (114).
Bane enters his third season with the Tigers in 2012, and is looking to follow up a stellar sophomore campaign. He earned All-GPAC Second Team Offense honors as a sophomore in 2011 and led the league in passing average (281.7) and total offense (289.2), and he finished the season fourth in the NAIA in both categories. He went 231-for-394 for 2,817 yards and 28 touchdowns. After just two seasons, Bane – a Rogers, Texas, native – is already fourth on the school’s career passing chart (4,737) and fifth on the career offense list (4,883).
Barnaud is entering his third and final season with the Tigers in 2012. The Belle Fourche, S.D., native earned All-GPAC Honorable Mention accolades in 2011 after leading the team with 82 total tackles – including 42 solo – and 11.5 tackles for a loss of 59 yards. He also led the team with 7.5 sacks. Barnaud was fifth in the GPAC with an average 8.2 tackles per game.
Carlson, a senior from Sioux Falls, S.D., earned All-GPAC Second Team Special Teams honors last season after leading the league in punting much of the season. He was eighth in the NAIA in average yards per punt, and helped keep opponents out of DWU territory.
Dakota Wesleyan finished the 2011 season 6-4 overall and 5-4 and tied for fourth in the conference. The Tigers open the 2012 season Saturday, Sept. 1, with a home contest against nonconference rival Dakota State University. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.