ISU senior long snapper Chris Highland, also an intern at WJBC, was named to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America First Team for 2014.
“I don’t think people really realize how good he is at his craft,” ISU athletics director Larry Lyons told WJBC. “If you talk to Brock [Spack], he’ll say there are six to ten plays that can change the outcome of a football game and most of those are during special teams. [Highland] is the guy that starts special teams on a point after a field goal. To be as good as he is and as consistent as he is, he has a legitimate shot of having a long career at the next level. How many kids from Bloomington-Normal or Central Illinois have that opportunity? He is so talented at that. Let’s hope he has a great year and that he can go on.”
Highland appeared in all 11 games in 2013 during his junior season and did not record a single bad snap. The Bloomington Central Catholic graduate and Normal native also added a tackle and recovered a fumble at North Dakota State on Nov. 9. Highland was selected to The Sports Network FCS All-American Second Team in 2013.
Highland appeared in all 13 games in 2012 during his sophomore season and once again did not record a single bad snap. Highland earned his first career tackle versus Missouri State on October 20, 2012. This marked Highland’s first season as the Redbirds’ starting long snapper, in which ISU reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.
The MVFC earned more FCS Preseason All-American First Team picks than any other FCS conference at eight including South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner, Northern Iowa running back David Johnson, Missouri State offensive lineman Robert Booker, Northern Iowa offensive lineman Jack Rummells, Southern Illinois tight end MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois kicker Thomas Kinney and Missouri State defensive back Caleb Schaffitzel.
The ISU Redbirds’ football squad opens the 2014 season at home against Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Hancock Stadium.