Five Coyotes made an appearance on the Preseason All-MVFC announced by the league on Tuesday. The list was highlighted by four first team selections for South Dakota in Alex Jensen, Brock Mogensen, Dalton Godfrey, and Carter Bell who made the first team as an all-purpose back. Bell also made second team as a receiver with Nick Gaes receiving second-team honors as well to round out the list for USD.
Jensen has been a staple in the offensive line for the Coyotes since the 2019 season. He has started in 28 straight games at the left tackle position. The Plymouth, Minnesota, native helped a Coyote offense that averaged 170 rushing yards and 27 points a game last season. Jensen earned the MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week honor after the Coyotes racked up 353 rushing yards in a win at Cal Poly last season. He is a returning all-MVFC selection from last season and was recently selected to the STATS Perform FCS Preseason All-America team.
Mogensen is a returning junior who started all 12 games for South Dakota last season. He was the team’s second-leading tackler with 86 tackles including 38 solo stops. Hailing from Farmington, Minnesota, Mogensen ranked eighth in the Valley in tackles per game and had a season-high 11 tackles in last year’s playoff game against Southern Illinois. He takes over a linebacker group that saw two sign with NFL teams this spring in DeJaun Cooper and Jack Cochrane.
Godfrey adds another preseason honor to his name after a recent selection to the STATS Perform FCS Preseason All-America team. He is a four-year starter and a two-time all-MVFC honoree along with a returning all-American and academic all-American. In 2021, the Cedar Falls, Iowa, native helped Brady Schutt set the program record for career punting average while also aiding Mason Lorber on 13 field goal makes. Godfrey and the Coyotes ranked 10th nationally in net punting last season. He recovered a muffed punt that set up USD’s first touchdown in the Valley opener against Missouri State last year.
Bell shows up twice on the preseason list as a first team all-purpose back and a second-team receiver. He played in every game in 2021 and earned honorable mention all-MVFC honors at the end of the season. The Bettendorf, Iowa, native was the team’s leading receiver last year after recording 41 catches for 673 yards and five touchdowns. Bell set a program-record last season after hauling in a 91-yard touchdown reception in a road win at Western Illinois. In that game, he recorded five receptions for a season-high 182 yards and two touchdowns. Bell also returned 14 punts for 132 yards last year including a 47-yard punt return for a touchdown at North Dakota State. It was the program’s first punt return score since 2006. He finished the season with the second-best punt return average in the Valley.
Gaes returns for his sophomore season along the defensive line after competing in all 12 games last year. The Alta, Iowa, native racked up two honors in his freshman campaign with a HERO Sports Freshman all-America team and MVFC all-Newcomer team selections. Gaes led the conference with seven solo sacks in Valley play and totaled 10 tackles-for-loss in 2021. He finished as the team’s sixth-leading tackler with 35 stops. He had a season-high six tackles including two for loss and a blocked field goal at home against Illinois State last year. Gaes and the Coyote defense look to build on a defensive unit that ranked 24th nationally against the run (121 yards per game) and 35th overall (343 yards per game).
South Dakota was picked sixth in this year’s preseason MVFC poll. The first official practice begins on Thursday in preparation for the opening game at Kansas State on September 3.