CLEVELAND, Ohio – Bucknell's Alex Pechin and Mark Pyles were among 49 football players honored on the 20th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team, the organization announced Friday.
Pechin, the 2017 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Pyles, a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 Selection, were previously named to the 2017 Academic All-Patriot League Team and All-Patriot League First Team. They were among four Patriot League student-athletes to be recognized by the FCS ADA, joining Fordham's Jonathan Dimon and Lafayette's Andrew Chuma.
The eighth Bison to be recognized as the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Pechin is a junior Biomedical Engineering/Management for Engineers major. In 2017, he posted a punting average of 45.1, shattering his own school record of 42.1 he set in 2015. His punting average was also slotted third in the NCAA FCS at the conclusion of the regular season, and he was named a STATS Third Team All-American on its strength.
Of Pechin's 72 punts, tied for the second-highest total in school history, 26 sailed for at least 50 yards, 34 fell inside the 20 and 22 went for fair catches. In the 2017 finale at Fordham on Nov. 18, he averaged a season-high 50.9 yards per punt. That average was bolstered by three punts of at least 60 yards, including the sixth- (67) and ninth- (64) longest punts in school history.
Also a 2015 All-Patriot League First Team selection and Bucknell's record holder in career punting average (43.3), Pechin is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and has been recognized on Bucknell's Dean's List every semester. Heavily involved on campus, he is a grader for Physics 211 and 212, a football team peer tutor, a Bucknell Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member and a Bucknell Athletics Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders participant.
Pyles, one of only nine Bison to serve as captain for more than one season, totaled 73 tackles (40 solo), eight tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one interception in 2017. The linebacker finished his career with 231 tackles (131 solo), 19 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and 11 defended passes in 42 games; Pyles, who started 31 of those games, made at least 50 tackles each of his three seasons as a starter.
Pyles was honored on the 2017 All-Patriot League First Team and the 2016 and 2015 Second Teams. He was among 181 semifinalists for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, more commonly known as the Academic Heisman. He and Lehigh's Jimmy Mitchell were the lone Patriot League student-athletes among the 37 semifinalists that hailed from FCS teams.
Football players from all FCS institutions are eligible for this award. They were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player. They must have reached their second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. They must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at their designated position.