Patriot surprise: Shafnisky, not Edmonds named Player of the Year
(STATS) - Rushing for more yards than anyone in the FCS - and by a wide margin - could put Chase Edmonds in the running for some national player of the year awards. Yet, that wasn't good enough to get him top honors in the pint-sized Patriot League.
Instead, it was Lehigh quarterback Nick Shafnisky who was named the Patriot's Player of the Year even though he missed 2 1/2 games and didn't lead the league in passing yards or touchdown passes. Apparently voters felt that the senior dual threat leading Lehigh to a perfect conference record, a 9-2 season overall and a playoff berth outweighed Edmonds' seemingly superior statistics.
Edmonds, of course, did make the All-Patriot first-team offense after rushing for an FCS-best 1,799 yards, 281 more than second-place Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T. A junior who already owns the conference's all-time record with 62 rushing TDs, Edmonds ran for 19 scores this season to finish second in the Subdivision.
Shafnisky did run for 10 TDs of his own and threw for 20 in just nine games, having missed time due to a nagging ankle problem. He completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,448 yards and rushed for 302 as the Mountain Hawks finished among the top 10 offenses in the FCS with 40.5 points and 491.5 yards per game.
Andy Coen is the mastermind of that offense and earned the conference's Coach of the Year honor. It's the second time in 11 seasons at Lehigh that he's won the award.
Shafnisky's two favorite targets were among five Mountain Hawks named to the first-team offense. Troy Pelletier and Gatlin Casey each topped 1,000 yards and totaled 25 touchdowns.
A pair of Colgate defenders took home the conference's other two honors. Junior Pat Afriyie earned Defensive Player of the Year after finishing among the national leaders with 10 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Defensive back Abu Daramy won Rookie of the Year after totaling 22 tackles and four pass breakups while keying the Red Raiders' special teams with 21.4 yards per kickoff return and 7.3 per punt return.
PATRIOT LEAGUE POSTSEASON AWARDS=
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Nick Shafnisky, QB, Lehigh
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Pat Afriyie, DL, Colgate
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Abu Daramy, RS/DB, Colgate
COACH OF THE YEAR - Andy Coen, Lehigh
PATRIOT LEAGUE FIRST TEAM
QB - Nick Shafnisky, Lehigh
RB - Dom Bragalone, Lehigh
RB - Chase Edmonds, Fordham
FB/HB - John Wilkins, Colgate
WR - Gatlin Casey, Lehigh
WR - Brendan Flaherty, Holy Cross
WR - Troy Pelletier, Lehigh
TE - Dylan Wadsworth, Lafayette
OL - Anthony Coyle, Fordham
OL - Jordi Dalmau, Colgate
OL - Julie'n Davenport, Bucknell
OL - Zach Duffy, Lehigh
OL - Ryan Paulish, Colgate
DL - Abdullah Anderson, Bucknell
DL - Pat Afriyie, Colgate
DL - Dewayne Cameron, Holy Cross
DL - Justin Vaughn, Fordham
LB - Colton Caslow, Lehigh
LB - Kyle Diener, Colgate
LB - Nick McBeath, Holy Cross
LB - Ben Richard, Bucknell
DB - Bret Berg, Bucknell
DB - Caleb Ham, Fordham
DB - Bryan Marine, Bucknell
DB - Chris Morgan, Colgate
PK - Ed Mish, Lehigh
RS - Gatlin Casey, Lehigh
P - Ed Mish, Lehigh
NON-SPECIALIST - Hunter Kiselick, Georgetown