LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football program held its annual postseason awards banquet Sunday evening in the Terrace Room inside the Langone Center. Seventeen different players were presented awards during the 52nd annual event. Junior LB Evan Byers (Roaring Brook, Pa./Wyoming Seminary/Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.)) headlined the list of award winners by claiming the Bison Gridiron Club Award as team MVP for the second consecutive season.
A two-time All-Patriot League selection, Byers is the first player to earn the Bison Gridiron Club Award in back-to-back years since Adam Lord in 2001 and 2002. He finished his junior campaign with a career-high 129 tackles, good for tied for ninth on the program’s single-season list. He became the first new entrant on that top-10 list since 1997.
A Preseason All-Patriot League selection, Byers registered eight double-figure tackle outings this season and is the first Bison since Willie Hill in 1996 and 1997 to post back-to-back 100-tackle campaigns. He ranks fourth nationally in tackles per game (11.7) and is just 107 tackles shy of the program record entering his senior year.
Byers, who earned the Stuart M. Smith Memorial Award as the team’s top newcomer in 2011, also shared the Sledge Hammer Award with senior P/WR/PR Kyle Sullivan (Wilmington, Del./St. Mark’s).
The versatile Sullivan earned the Sledge Hammer Award and shared the Special Teams MVP honor with senior LB/LS Jeff Goyette (Dillsburg, Pa./Trinity). A member of the Academic All-Patriot League Team, Sullivan punted 63 times for a 37.1 average with 20 landing inside the 20-yard line. As a punt returner, Sullivan ranked 12th nationally in punt return average. He returned 15 punts, including a 59-yarder for a touchdown at Cornell, marking the first punt return for a touchdown by a Bison in a decade. As a wide receiver, Sullivan had 11 receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown. The transfer from Rutgers also returned six kicks this year, averaging nearly 20 yards per return.
This is the second consecutive year Sullivan and Goyette have shared the Special Teams MVP Award, while it is the third straight honor for Goyette, who also earned the Bucknell Football Leadership Award and Captains Award on Sunday.
A four-year long snapper for Bucknell, Goyette was one of just two members of the Bison senior class to play in all 44 games over the last four years. He handled more than 400 snaps over his career and recorded 26 tackles.
Goyette shared the Captains Award will fellow team captains senior FB Travis Friend (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and senior CB Derrick Palmer (Roanoke, Va./William Byrd). Friend also garnered the Bobby Pangburn Memorial Award, which is presented for commitment, dedication and unqualified friendship. He previously earned the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award and Bucknell Football Leadership Award in 2012.
A three-time All-Patriot League selection, Friend matched Goyette by playing in all 44 games over the last four years. A strong blocker and receiver out of the backfield, he finished his senior campaign with 15 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His final career numbers include 65 receptions for 392 yards and 47 rushes for 119 yards. Overall, Friend registered eight touchdowns.
A starter in 31 career games, including all 11 in both 2011 and 2013, Palmer posted at least 30 tackles in each of his four years, including 33 this past fall when he ranked ninth on the team. Palmer recorded a career-high four tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with a career-high seven pass breakups. He finished his four-year career with 145 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 19 pass breakups.
Senior four-year starting QB Brandon Wesley (Plano, Texas/Plano East) and junior S Matthew Steinbeck (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) shared the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award. Steinbeck also earned the George L. McGaughey Memorial Award as the outstanding player in the Lafayette game after posting after posting seven tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss and picking off two passes against the Leopards.
A First Team All-Patriot League pick in 2012 and a Second Team All-Patriot League choice in 2013, Steinbeck ranked second in the league with five interceptions one year after leading the conference with six. He now stands seventh in program history with 11 in his three-year career.
A Preseason All-Patriot League selection, Steinbeck finished third on the Bison with a career-high 64 tackles. He added two tackles for loss, four pass breakups and one fumble recovery while starting all 11 games for the second consecutive year.
Steinbeck previously won the Clarke Hinkle Award in 2012 as the team’s outstanding defensive back or linebacker.
Wesley, the 2010 Stuart M. Smith Award winner as the team’s rookie of the year and the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, will graduate with virtually every Bucknell football career passing record. He ranks first in program history in career pass completions (571), career pass attempts (984), career passing yards (6,277) and career total offense (6,952). Wesley is tied for fifth on the program’s career touchdown list with 26 and is the first player in program history to throw for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons.
Sophomore WR Bobby Kaslander (Verona, N.J./Verona/Bridgton (Maine)) came on during the second half of the year and had his breakout performance during a 28-7 win at Colgate. Thanks to his career-high nine catches for 119 yards, Kaslander earned the Keating-Rieu Memorial Award as the outstanding player in the Colgate contest. Overall, Kaslander finished his second season with 24 catches for 327 yards, ranking third on the team in both categories.
The members of the left side of the offensive line – LT Julie'n Davenport (Paulsboro, N.J./Paulsboro) and LG Lonnie Rawles (Perth Amboy, N.J./Perth Amboy) – each walked away with an award on Sunday. Davenport earned the Stuart M. Smith Award as the top newcomer, while Rawles picked up the John Campana Award as the outstanding offensive lineman. The 2012 recipient of the Campana Award, Rawles is the first two-time winner since James Phelan in 2008 and 2009. Between them, Davenport and Rawles missed just two plays all season.
Senior Tracey Smith (Allen, Texas/Allen) was the recipient of the George Rieu Award as the squad’s outstanding defensive lineman. A First Team All-Patriot League selection, Smith was a three-year starter on a defensive line that has ranked in the top 10 nationally against the run three consecutive seasons. He posted a career-high 45 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks this year.
Smith, a Campbell Trophy semifinalist and a 2012 Second Team All-Patriot League choice, finished his career with 43 games played, 32 starts, 125 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He was also named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team late last month.
Sophomore S Clayton Ewell (Springfield, Pa./Springfield Township) was presented the Clarke Hinkle Award as the outstanding defensive back or linebacker. The first-year starter was fourth on the team with 61 tackles and his team-best 12.5 tackles for loss ranked fourth in the Patriot League. Ewell also tied for the team lead with seven pass breakups.
Second Team All-Patriot League choice CJ Williams (Cockeysville, Md./Calvert Hall/Navy Prep) earned the Big Blue Award as the outstanding back or receiver. The freshman rushed 212 times for 899 yards, the second-most by a Bison freshman in program history. He also caught 12 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, Williams scored 11 times, tying him for ninth on the school’s single-season list.
Williams had four 100-yard performances this season, making him just the 12th different Bison to accomplish that feat four times in the same year. His 899 yards were the most by a Bucknell running back since 2003 and ranked him fourth in the Patriot League.
Freshman QB Alexander Romango (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel), freshman DL Troy Glenn (Newark, Del./Caravel Academy) and junior FB Dillon Rupp (Washington, D.C./The Landon School (Md.)) were named the Scout Team Players of the Year on offense, defense and special teams, respectively.
Sophomore OL Ryan Riethmiller (Martins Ferry, Ohio/The Linsly School (W. Va.)) earned the C. Dale Wolfe Recognition Award, which is given to the most inspirational player. He is currently back home in Ohio battling an illness.
Senior WR Jake Flaherty (Oceanport, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) was the recipient of the Moxie Award, which is presented for special contribution to the Bucknell football program. A former wide receiver, Flaherty had his Bison career cut short due to numerous knee injuries, but stayed with the program in a student assistant coach role.
Also during the program, Bucknell President John Bravman addressed the crowd, the nine players that earned postseason athletic and academic honors from the Patriot League were recognized and each assistant coach presented his position group with their varsity letters. The evening concluded with a terrific highlight video of the 2013 campaign and some closing words from head coach Joe Susan.
The Bison posted their second winning record in the last three years as the finished the season 6-5 after winning five of their final six contests. Bucknell finished the regular season ranked 15th nationally in total defense and fourth in rushing defense.
2013 Bucknell Football Award Winners
Scout Team Player of the Year (Offense): Alexander Romango
Scout Team Player of the Year (Defense): Troy Glenn
Scout Team Player of the Year (Special Teams): Dillon Rupp
Moxie Award: Jake Flaherty
- Presented for special contribution to the Bucknell football program
Bucknell Football Leadership Award: Jeff Goyette
Bobby Pangburn Memorial Award: Travis Friend
- presented for commitment, dedication and unqualified friendship
George L. McGaughey Memorial Award: Matthew Steinbeck
- Outstanding player in the Lafayette game
Keating-Rieu Memorial Award: Bobby Kaslander
- Outstanding player in the Colgate game
Stuart M. Smith Memorial Award: Julie’n Davenport
- Outstanding newcomer
John Campana Award: Lonnie Rawles
- Outstanding offensive lineman
George Rieu Award: Tracey Smith
- Outstanding defensive lineman
Clarke Hinkle Award: Clayton Ewell
- Outstanding defensive back or linebacker
Big Blue Award: CJ Williams
- Outstanding back or receiver
Special Teams MVP: Jeff Goyette, Kyle Sullivan
C. Dale Wolfe Recognition Award: Ryan Riethmiller
- Most inspirational player
Tom Gadd Coaches' Award (Offense): Brandon Wesley
Tom Gadd Coaches' Award (Defense): Matthew Steinbeck
Captains Award: Travis Friend, Jeff Goyette, Derrick Palmer
Sledge Hammer Award: Evan Byers, Kyle Sullivan
Bison Gridiron Club Award: Evan Byers
- Team MVP
2013 Bucknell Football Letterwinners (total number of career letters in parentheses)
Junior CB Jaylen Amaker (2)
Junior DL Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood (3)
Junior CB Terry Bennett (1)
Freshman OL Ned Bent (1)
Freshman S Thomas Bodolus (1)
Junior WR Josh Brake (3)
Freshman OL Devlin Brennan (1)
Junior DE Josh Butler (2)
Junior LB Evan Byers (3)
Freshman WR Will Carter (1)
Senior K Sean Cobelli (2)
Junior S Dominique Daniels (2)
Freshman OL Julie’n Davenport (1)
Sophomore RB Matt DelMauro (1)
Senior S Derek-London Dierkes (2)
Sophomore LB Audrey Dieujuste (1)
Sophomore TE Brian Duncan (1)
Sophomore S Clayton Ewell (2)
Senior WR Jake Flaherty (2)
Senior DL Brent Forbes (3)
Senior FB Travis Friend (4)
Senior K Blair Gatewood (1)
Senior LB/LS Jeff Goyette (4)
Junior OL Nevin Hagman (2)
Junior TE Jake Hartman (2)
Junior DE Connor Hayes (1)
Sophomore OL Clayton Hoffmaster (2)
Junior FB Karem Hyman (2)
Sophomore WR Matthew Jegede (1)
Senior LB Matt Johnson (4)
Sophomore OL Ramy Kased (2)
Sophomore WR Bobby Kaslander (1)
Junior TE Patrick Kelly (3)
Senior CB Austin Kevitch (1)
Sophomore DE Jimmy King (1)
Junior QB Trey Lauletta (2)
Junior TE Josh Lebo (2)
Junior LB Lee Marvel (3)
Junior K Derek Maurer (1)
Junior DE Dylan McDonnell (3)
Senior S Ryan Morgan (4)
Senior WR Patryk Najbar (1)
Sophomore DE Robert Naylor (1)
Freshman QB RJ Nitti (1)
Junior OL Brandon Noblett (2)
Freshman CB Nick O’Brien (1)
Senior CB Derrick Palmer (4)
Junior OL Lonnie Rawles (3)
Sophomore RB Brian Regan (2)
Senior TE Joe Sangimino (1)
Senior DE Sean Sellers (4)
Senior DL Tracey Smith (4)
Junior S Matthew Steinbeck (3)
Senior S Wayne Stewart (2)
Senior WR/P/PR Kyle Sullivan (2)
Sophomore S Louis Taglianetti (2)
Senior RB Charles Thompson (2)
Junior CB Tajh Turner (1)
Senior CB Sal Vallala (4)
Senior QB Brandon Wesley (4)
Freshman RB CJ Williams (1)