Thirteen Vandals Named to Phil Steele Preseason Teams

Thirteen Vandals Named to Phil Steele Preseason Teams

The Idaho Vandals football team received high praise from Phil Steele's FCS Preseason Preview Magazine, as 13 players were named to the publication's preseason All-Big Sky teams.

Twelve Vandals were named to the first team, including wide receiver Hayden Hatten, who was also named a first-team All-American. Hatten is coming off a record-setting season in 2022, when he caught 102 passes for 1,384 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The other first-team All-Big Sky selections for Idaho are:

  • Quarterback Gevani McCoy
  • Running back Anthony Woods
  • Wide receiver Jermaine Jackson
  • Tight end Trais Higgins
  • Offensive lineman Matt Smith
  • Defensive lineman Zack Krotzer
  • Linebacker Xavier Slayton
  • Defensive back Jordan Dwyer
  • Punter Tylor McQueary

Wide receiver Treyton Welch and defensive back Tyrese Dedmon were named to the second team, while defensive lineman Sully Shannon and linebacker Carson Conklin were named to the third team.

The Vandals are coming off a 7-5 season in 2022, and they are picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference in 2023. Idaho opens the season on September 3 at home against Northern Arizona.

Here are some additional thoughts on the Vandals' preseason honors:

  • The Vandals' receiving corps is one of the best in the FCS, and Hatten is the star of the show. He is a dynamic playmaker who can take over games.
  • The Vandals' offensive line is also a strength, and Smith is a key cog. He is a big, physical lineman who can move defenders off the ball.
  • The Vandals' defense is led by Krotzer and Slayton. Krotzer is a disruptive force up front, and Slayton is a ballhawk in the secondary.
  • The Vandals are a young team, but they have a lot of talent. If they can stay healthy and play together, they could be a contender for the Big Sky title.

The Vandals' preseason honors are a sign that they are being respected around the FCS. If they can play up to their potential, they could be a dark horse to make a run in the playoffs.