Caleb Schaffitzel, is picking up preseason honors.

Caleb Schaffitzel, is picking up preseason honors.

Missouri State junior safety Caleb Schaffitzel is already raking in preseason national honors with a pair of early accolades coming his way recently. The 2012 All-America selection earned National Defensive Back of the Year honors by the College Football Performance Awards last season and was named to the CFPA’s Defensive Back Award Watch List this past week. Schaffitzel earned the preseason honor along with 35 other returning FCS safeties and cornerbacks who will be vying for the top individual defensive back award in the Football Championship Subdivision this season.

Beyond Sports Network named Schaffitzel as a 2013 Preseason All-America pick. Schaffitzel is a first-team pick on the FCS list produced by the on-line publication. He is joined by fellow first-teamer Jaquiski Tartt of Samford on the top team and is one of just six safeties recognized on the site’s preseason All-America honor roll.

Last season, Schaffitzel registered a team-high 109 tackles for the Bears with 5 interceptions and 11 passes defended. He tied for 10th nationally in interceptions per game (0.45) and finished 23rd in tackles per game (9.91) in the final NCAA Division I FCS statistical rankings. He was also a two-time MVFC Defensive Player of the Week, two-time CFPA National Defensive Back of the Week and one-time CFPA National Defensive Player of the Week. The Sports Network, which placed Schaffitzel on its 2012 All-America third team, named him as its National Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 5 for his efforts against No. 1 North Dakota State. In the NDSU game, he broke an MSU record and tied an MVFC record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Schaffitzel was also named to the Associated Press All-America third team, Capital One Academic All-America second team, All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team, and MVFC All-Academic first team. He also earned MSU’s Media Player of the Year, Team MVP and Lifter of the Year Award.

The native of Fair Grove, Mo., is one of nine returning starters on the Missouri State defense this fall.