Ferris State Offensive Line Duo Garners Preseason All-America Accolades


Big Rapids, Mich. - A pair of Ferris State University senior offensive linemen, tackle Devon Johnson (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and guard Nic Sawyer (Ann Arbor/Saline), have been chosen as 2018 Preseason All-Americans.

Both Johnson and Sawyer were tabbed by Lindy's Sports as preseason first team All-America picks in the publication's annual college football national preview magazine. Meanwhile, Johnson also earned the same acclaim from Street & Smith's on its preseason All-America squad.

The Bulldogs were picked as the nation's preseason #3 squad by Lindy's Sports. FSU was one of only two Great Lakes Interecollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) programs found in the preseason top 25 listing along with Ashland (#15).

The annual publication, which is billed as the nation's leading football authority, highlighted the top 25 teams in the country based on expert opinions and also featured a preseason All-America team. The magazine noted "with a proven O-line, one of D2's most consistent programs again figures into the title hunt" about the Bulldogs.

Johnson and Sawyer represented two of the three GLIAC performers tabbed to the preseason All-America first team squad by Lindy's Sports along with Ashland defensive lineman James Prater, Jr. FSU was one of only two schools in the country with two representatives on the first-team Preseason All-America squad.

Earlier this year, both Johnson and Sawyer were named to the Football Gazette All-America squad for their efforts as starting offensive linemen last fall. Both have been multi-year starters up front for Ferris State and helped the Bulldogs rank as one of the nation's top offensive units throughout their careers.

The Bulldogs have been a consensus top 25 team in every preseason listing thus far as they are also ranked fourth in the Massey Online Preseason Power Rankings along with 19th by Street & Smith's, which also tabbed Johnson as a first-team preseason All-American.

This year marks the third time in the past four years the Bulldogs have been tabbed as one of the country's top three teams in at least one preseason national ranking.

The Bulldogs will begin their 110th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU has made back-to-back NCAA Division II National Quarterfinal appearances and is one of only five teams in all of college football to win at least 11 games each of the past four years. The Bulldogs along with Northwest Missouri State are the only programs in Division II football to make the playoffs each of the past four seasons.

In six seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 60-14 overall mark in the last six years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival. Last summer, Hero Sports picked FSU as Michigan's Best College Football program regardless of division.

Ferris State will return nearly 50 letterwinners for the 2018 campaign. The Bulldogs will open the season at home under the lights at Top Taggart Field on Thursday, Aug. 30, with a non-conference matchup versus East Stroudsburg (Pa.) starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET).