13 SIU football players honored in MVFC 25th anniversary celebration


WPSD Sports

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Founded in 1985 as the Gateway Football Conference, the Missouri Valley Football Conference is celebrating its 25th season of FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) football during the 2009 season. As part of a season-long celebration, the conference is paying tribute to its all-time greats by selecting a Silver Anniversary Team and All-Select NFL Team, the two of which combined to honor 13 players from Southern Illinois University.

Brandon Jacobs and Bart Scott, SIU alum and current National Football League members, are two of the seven Salukis honored as part of the MVFC All-Select NFL Team. Arkee Whitlock, who is one of only two Salukis in school history to be a two-time, first team all-American, was one of six Salukis selected to the Silver Anniversary Team.

Team composition for the league's Silver Anniversary Team was determined by a committee and fan voting. Nearly 2,500 votes were cast on-line from July through mid-October. The conference office, with consultation from institutional personnel, compiled the list of honorees on the ballot.

Among the 67 players selected to the Silver Anniversary Team, 24 earned first team honors three times, including defensive back Alexis Moreland and return specialist Craig Turner, who are SIU's only three-time first team all-MVFC honorees. Two of Southern Illinois' three MVFC Offensive Player of the Year selections, Cornell Craig (1999) and Joel Sambursky (2004), made the team as did SIU's all-time leader in career field goals, Craig Coffin.

In the league's first 24 seasons, league members have combined for two national championships, four national championship game appearances, and 14 national semifinal trips. Valley Football student-athletes and coaches have earned 19 different National Player or Coach of the Year designations. Craig was the 1999 FCS National Player of the Year and Jerry Kill was the 2007 AFCA and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year.

Joining Jacobs and Scott on the All-Select NFL Team are Jim Hart, Kevin House, Damon Jones, Carl Mauck and Terry Taylor.

Salukis on the MVFC Silver Anniversary Team
QB - Joel Sambursky (2002-05) 4-time all-league (HM-2002, 2nd-2003, 1st-2004, 1st-2005); 1-time Offensive Player of the Year (2004); No. 6 all-time pass yards (7,894); No. 3 all-time TD passes (65); No. 3 total offense (8,994)

RB - Arkee Whitlock (2004-06) 3-time all-league (2nd-2004, 1st-2005, 1st-2006); 2-time All-American (1st-2005, 1st-2006); No. 1 all-time all-purpose yards (5,602); No. 2 all-time TDs scored (52); No. 4 all-time rushing (4,242)

WR - Cornell Craig (1996-99) 3-time all-conference (2nd-1997, 2nd-1998, 1st-1999); 1-time All-American (1st-1999); 1-time Offensive Player of the Year (1999); 1-time National Player of the Year (1999); No. 3 all-time receptions (207); No. 4 all-time receiving yards (3,508); No. 2 all-time TD receptions (37)

RS - Craig Turner (2004-07) 3-time all-conference (1st-2005, 1st-2006, 1st-2007); 1-time All-American (HM-2007); No. 1 all-time punt return yards (1,117); No. 3 all-time returns for TD (5)

PK - Craig Coffin (2002-06)
2-time all-conference (2nd-2004, 2nd-2006); 1-time All-American (1st-2006); No. 1 all-time scoring (379); No. 6 all-time field goals (50)

DB - Alexis Moreland (2001-04) 3-time all-conference (1st-2002, 1st-2003, 1st-2004); 3-time All-American (2nd-2002, 1st-2003, 1st-2004)

All-Select NFL Team
RB - Brandon Jacobs - Southern Illinois, 2004 (Giants 2005-present)
Giants featured back in 2007 and 2008; 555 carries for 2,620 yards and 35 TDs in first 4 years in the league

LB - Bart Scott - Southern Illinois, 2001 (Ravens, Jets 2002-present)
Pro-Bowl (2007); started all 48 games in final 3 years with Ravens (2006-07-08); 433 career tackles, career-best 103 in 2006

TE - Damon Jones - Southern Illinois, 1996 (Jaguars 1997-01) Played in 40 games over five seasons with 22 starting assignments; 11 career TDs

OL - Carl Mauck - Southern Illinois, 1968 (Colts, Dolphins, Chargers, Oilers 1969-81) Played in 166 career games, including 156 in a row in a 13-year career in the NFL

QB - Jim Hart - Southern Illinois, 1965 (Cardinals, Redskins 1966-84)
4-time Pro Bowler (1974-77), NFC Player of the Year in 1974, 34,655 career passing yards

WR - Kevin House - Southern Illinois, 1979 (Buccaneers, LA Rams 1980-87) 299 career catches, 5,169 career yards, 34 touchdowns in 8-year career

DB - Terry Taylor - Southern Illinois, 1983 (Seahawks, Lions, Browns, Falcons 1984-95) 25 interceptions over a 12-year NFL career with four different teams