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.
Rawles became Bucknell's first offensive lineman to earn first-team honors since Jon Churchill in 2001. He started all 11 games this season at left guard and has now started 29 consecutive games on the offensive line.
Davenport made it two members of the offensive line recognized by landing on the second team. He started all 11 games of his freshman campaign at left tackle. Twice this season, including last week at VMI, he had a special offensive play run for him and he finished with 32 yards on two rushing attempts.
Fellow rookie Williams was also a second-team choice after rushing 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.
One year after leading the Patriot League in interceptions with six, Steinbeck added five more in 2013 to rank second in the league. He now stands seventh in program history with 11 in his three-year career.
Steinbeck, a Preseason All-Patriot League selection, finished third on Bucknell with a career-high 64 tackles. He added two tackles for loss, four pass breakups and one fumble recovery while starting all 11 games.
Baldwin-Youngblood earned his first career All-Patriot League citation in his first year as a regular starter. He was among the team leaders in tackles (45) and tackles for loss (11.5), while his eight sacks tied him for the Patriot League lead with teammate Matt Johnson. Baldwin-Youngblood was especially effective late in the season, piling up five sacks and six tackles for loss over the final two games.
Bucknell finished with a 6-5 mark in 2013, its second above-.500 finish in the last two years. The Bison won five of their final six games and finished the regular season ranked 15th nationally in total defense and fourth in rushing defense.