Five Missouri State football players were honored with preseason all-conference honors by the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while the preseason conference poll was also announced.

No surprise to the preseason all-conference list were David Arkin (Sr., OT, Wichita, Kan.), Antoine Wilkinson (Sr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.), and Waylon Richardet (Sr., DE, Perryville, Mo.) who were All-MVFC first-teamers in 2009. Also recognized were honorable mention selections Cody Kirby (Sr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) and Skylar Smith (Sr., SS, Springfield, Mo.).

What did come as a surprise to the Bears and Coach Terry Allen was the preseason poll, which tabbed the Bears to finish fifth in the nine-team league, despite returning 17 starters and 41 lettermen.

“You have to earn it,” said Allen, who begins his fifth season at Missouri State. “I picked us a lot higher, and I think we will be. This is certainly the most talent we’ve had in my time here.”

Missouri State tied for fifth in the 2009 MVFC race with a 6-5 overall ledger and 4-4 mark in the league. The Bears, however, were 3-1 in conference road games a year ago, losing only the season finale at No. 1-ranked Southern Illinois, despite rolling up 464 total yards — more than any Saluki opponent all season.

Southern Illinois received 30 of the 36 possible first-place votes and 313 total points in the 2010 preseason poll to earn the honor as league favorites for the first time since 2005.