CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson was honored as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and seven of his Bucknell football teammates joined him on the 2017 All-Patriot League teams, the league office announced Tuesday morning.
Anderson, now a four-time All-Patriot League selection, was joined on the First Team by punter Alex Pechin and linebackers Mark Pyles and Ben Richard. In addition, placekicker John Burdick, cornerback Colin Jonov, linebacker Simeon Page and offensive lineman Chase Watkins were voted to the All-Patriot League Second Team.
Anderson became the third Bison in the past four seasons to be voted as the Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches after helping Bucknell pace the Patriot League in total defense (294.6), a mark that ranked 12th in the NCAA FCS at the end of the regular season. Previously, linebacker Evan Byers (2014) and safety Clayton Ewell (2015) received this prestigious award.
Pyles and Richard will graduate as three-time All-Patriot League picks while Pechin earned his second spot on the First Team. Burdick, Jonov, Page and Watkins were recognized as All-Patriot League players for the first time. Of Bucknell's eight 2017 honorees, six were seniors.
Abdullah Anderson was named the @PatriotLeagueFB Defensive Player of the Year; eight Bison were voted to the 2017 all-league teams.— Bucknell Football (@Bucknell_FB) November 21, 2017
Story: https://t.co/Qcwae9gQHo | #StartTheStampede pic.twitter.com/va43EplCtE
Anderson totaled 42 tackles (20 solo), nine tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one blocked extra point in 2017. During his stalwart career, he started 43 games, recording 171 tackles (96 solo), 33.5 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks and four blocked kicks. Three of his four blocked kicks were field goals; he will graduate tied for first in school history with Josh Eden (2006-07, 2010-11).
Anderson was previously recognized on the 2016 and 2015 All-Patriot League First Teams and the 2014 Second Team. He became the third Bison to garner four All-Patriot League citations in his career, joining Rich Lemon (1993-96) and Julién Davenport (2013-16). Also a three-time Preseason All-Patriot League selection, Anderson was named to the 2017 STATS Preseason Third Team All-American and the 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List.
With their 2017 recognition, Anderson, Fordham's Chase Edmonds and Lehigh's Troy Pelletier brought the list of four-time All-Patriot League honorees to 15.
Pechin posted a punting average of 45.1 in 2017, shattering his own school record of 42.1 he set in 2015 en route to his first All-Patriot League First Team nod. His punting average was also slotted third in the NCAA FCS at the conclusion of the regular season. Of his 72 punts, 26 sailed for at least 50 yards, 34 fell inside the 20 and 22 went for fair catches; he posted a season-long 67-yard punt in the 2017 finale at Fordham and had zero punts blocked over the course of the season.
Pyles, one of only nine Bison to serve as captain for more than one season, was recognized after accumulating 73 tackles (40 solo), eight tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one interception. He 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 previously honored on the 2016 and 2015 All-Patriot League Second Teams. He was a semifinalist for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, which is often referred to as the "Academic Heisman," and captured 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 accolades.
For the second-straight season, Richard led the Bison in tackles, finishing with 77 (38 solo). He also recorded six tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble over the course of the season. Richard, who started 34 of his 38 career games, finished his time as a Bison with 255 tackles (131 solo), 26.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. He made at least 70 tackles in each of his three seasons as a starter.
Richard was previously recognized on the 2016 All-Patriot League First Team and the 2015 Second Team. He was also a two-time Preseason All-Patriot League pick.
With 14 field goals, Burdick matched Ryan Korn's (2003) single-season school record. None were more dramatic than the career-best 46-yard field goal he booted as time expired to lift Bucknell to a 34-31 victory over Sacred Heart on Sept. 23. The senior also matched Steve Barimo's (1989) single-game school record by making four field goals during the Bison's contest at Cornell on Oct. 14. He finished the year as Bucknell's leaders in points (56) after going 14 for 20 on his field-goal attempts and 14-for-17 on his point-after bids.
Jonov returned from an injury that forced him to miss the 2016 campaign to make an impact in the secondary. Most notably, he was at the center of one of this season's most dramatic NCAA FCS plays. On Oct. 21 at Lafayette, he returned an interception a school-record 95 yards for a touchdown, propelling Bucknell to a 13-7 overtime victory at Lafayette. Jonov, who also returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown against Marist in the 2017 opener, finished second in Bucknell's history in single-season interception return yards (159). He also made 33 tackles (26 solo) over the course of the season and finished his career with 77 tackles (60 solo) and six interceptions for 212 yards in 25 games, all of which were starts.
Page, Bucknell's fifth freshman to be selected to an all-league team in the past five seasons, set a freshman record with nine sacks in 2017. The hybrid linebacker/defensive end totaled 46 tackles (29 solo), 13.0 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble, leading the Bison in tackles for a loss and sacks. In the 2017 finale against Fordham, he matched a school record last equaled in 1998 by recording four sacks.
Watkins was one of only six Bison who started all 11 games in 2017. Bucknell's only offensive lineman who entered this season with starting experience, he shifted to left tackle from right tackle to fill Davenport's spot on the line. Over the course of the season, he served as a mentor to the younger players on the line, a group which included nine underclassmen.
2017 Football Major Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Dom Bragalone, Lehigh, Jr., RB
Defensive Player of the Year: Abdullah Anderson, Bucknell, Sr., DL
Rookie of the Year: Grant Breneman, Colgate, Fr., QB
Coach of the Year: Dan Hunt, Colgate
2017 Football All-Patriot League Teams
QB: Brad Mayes, Lehigh, Jr.,
RB: James Holland III, Colgate, Sr.
RB: Dom Bragalone, Lehigh, Jr.
FB/HB: Will Eisler, Lafayette, Jr.
WR: Austin Longi, Fordham, Jr.
WR: Gatlin Casey, Lehigh, Sr.
WR: Troy Pelletier, Lehigh, Sr.
TE: Dylan Wadsworth, Lafayette, Sr.
OL: Ryan Paulish, Colgate, Sr.
OL: Jovaun Woolford, Colgate, Jr.
OL: Anthony Coyle, Fordham, Sr.
OL: Zach Duffy, Lehigh, Sr.
OL: Tim O’Hara, Lehigh, Sr.
OL: Brandon Short, Lehigh, Sr.
PK: Chris Puzzi, Colgate, So.
RS: C.J. Amill, Lafayette, Jr.
DL: Abdullah Anderson, Bucknell, Sr.
DL: Pat Afriyie, Colgate, Sr.
DL: Nick Wheeler, Colgate, So.
DL: Khristian Tate, Georgetown, So.
LB: Ben Richard, Bucknell, Sr.
LB: Mark Pyles, Bucknell, Sr.
LB: Nick McBeath, Holy Cross, Sr.
LB: Brandon Bryant, Lafayette, Sr.
DB: Abu Daramy-Swaray, Colgate, So.
DB: Tyler Castillo, Colgate, Sr.
DB: Alec Wisniewski, Colgate, Sr.
DB: Dylan Mabin, Fordham, Jr.
DB: Phillip Parham, Lafayette, Sr.
P: Alex Pechin, Bucknell, Jr.
Special Teams Non-Specialist: Ahmad Wilson, Georgetown, Fr.
QB: Peter Pujals, Holy Cross, Sr.
RB: Alex Mathews, Colgate, So.
RB: Chase Edmonds, Fordham, Sr.
WR: Thomas Ives, Colgate, Jr.
WR: Michael Dereus, Georgetown, So.
WR: Blaise Bell, Holy Cross, Sr.
TE: Isaiah Searight, Fordham, Jr.
OL: Chase Watkins, Bucknell, Sr.
OL: Scott Hirshman, Colgate, Sr.
OL: Ben Hartman, Fordham, Sr.
OL: Jimmy Murray, Holy Cross, Sr.
PK: John Burdick, Bucknell, Sr.
PK: Ed Mish, Lehigh, Jr.
RS: Isaac Ellsworth, Georgetown, Sr.
DL: Teddy Capsis, Holy Cross, Jr.
DL: Jack Kutschke, Holy Cross, Sr.
DL: Tyler Cavenas, Lehigh, Sr.
DL: Matt Rothrock, Lafayette, Sr.,
LB: Simeon Page, Bucknell, Fr.
LB: Trent Williams, Colgate, Sr.
LB: Glenn Cunningham, Fordham, Fr.
LB: Jerry Powe, Lafayette, Jr.
DB: Colin Jonov, Bucknell, Sr.
DB: Antonio Jackson, Fordham, Jr.
DB: David Akere, Georgetown, Sr.
DB: Eric Mitchell, Lafayette, So.
P: Michael Turk, Lafayette, Fr.
STNS: Jack McCabe, Holy Cross, Jr.