By The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- The All-Patriot League football teams were announced Tuesday by the league office and for the second consecutive year Bucknell had seven honorees.
Junior offensive lineman Lonnie Rawles, senior defensive lineman Tracey Smith and junior linebacker Evan Byers were named to the first team, while freshman running back CJ Williams, freshman OL Julie'n Davenport, junior DL Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood and junior safety Matthew Steinbeck landed on the second team.
Six of the seven Bucknell players recognized will return to the lineup next fall. Byers (second team in 2012), Smith (second team in 2012) and Steinbeck (first team in 2012) made their second career appearances on the All-League teams.
Byers is the first Bucknell linebacker to earn first-team honors since Greg Jones in 2009. Named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after posting a career-high 19 tackles vs. VMI, Byers 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 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.
A three-year starter and Preseason All-Patriot League pick, Smith was part of a strong Bison defensive line once again this season. Bucknell ranks fourth in the nation against the run, thanks in large part to Smith's career high-tying 45 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He also added one pass breakup, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Smith finished his career with 43 games played, 32 starts, 125 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.