The College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) recently announced their preseason watch lists and three Bowling Green football players were recognized.
Senior Alex Bayer was named to the CFPA Tight End Trophy Watch List, senior Brian Schmiedebusch was named to the CFPA Punter Trophy Watch List and senior BooBoo Gates was named to the CFPA Punt Returner Trophy Watch List.
All CFPA recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. All players are eligible for awards at their respective positions; players are not preemptively eliminated from consideration. More than 130 CFPA recipients have signed professional contracts, and twenty-one have been first-round NFL Draft selections.
BGSU's Freddie Barnes earned the 2009 CFPA Elite Wide Receiver Trophy after breaking the NCAA record with 155 receptions during the season and adding 1,770 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns.
Bayer, who was also named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List as one of the top tight ends in the country, was named third-team All-MAC a year ago after catching 36 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns. He had five catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-10 win over Akron, a performance that vaulted the Falcons to a six-game winning streak. Bayer has started 25 consecutive games in his career and is the returning leader with 78 career catches and 950 receiving yards.
Schmiedebusch was named first-team All-MAC in 2011 and second-team all-conference in 2012. He was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the top punter in the country, two years ago after averaging 45.3 yards per punt. He has averaged 42.8 yards per punt during his BGSU career with three of at least 70 yards, including a monstrous 81-yarder at Idaho.
Gates, who was also named to the Paul Hornung Award Preseason Watch List as one of the most versatile players in the country, earned first-team All-MAC honors a year ago at safety. Serving as the team's primary kick returner, Gates averaged 19.0 yards per return and had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown against Rhode Island.
Bayer, Schmiedebusch and Gates represent part of a team that has been recognized as one of the preseason Mid-American Conference favorites. The Falcons return 20 starters from a squad that went 8-5 a year ago and have been picked to finish first in the MAC East by Athlon, The Sporting News, Phil Steele and McIllece Sports. BGSU was picked to finish second in the division in the MAC Media preseason poll as well as by USA Today.
Bowling Green opens the season Aug. 29 as the Falcons host Tulsa at 7 p.m. The game will be televised nationwide on ESPNU.