Blue Hens Dominate All-East Football Team with Four Selections; Devlin Named Player of the Year, Pierce Rookie of the Year
January 14, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
CAPE CODE, Mass. -- The University of Delaware was well represented on the 2010 Eastern College Athletic Conference All-East team announced Friday as senior quarterback Pat Devlin and freshman running back Andrew Pierce were headliners among the honored players.
Devlin was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, Pierce was picked as the Rookie of the Year, and the two were joined on the All-East team by a pair of teammates in junior offensive guard Gino Gradkowski and senior safety Anthony Bratton.
The four helped Delaware post one of the finest seasons in school history in 2010 for head coach K.C. Keeler as the Blue Hens posted a 12-3 record, earned a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title, and stormed through the NCAA playoffs with wins over Lehigh, New Hampshire, and Georgia Southern before falling to top-ranked Eastern Washington 20-19 in the championship game in Frisco, Tex. on Jan. 7. Delaware finished No. 2 in the final Top 25 rankings and also earned the Lambert Meadowlands Cup and the ECAC Team of the Year Award as the top team in the East.
Devlin (Downingtown East HS/Downingtown, Pa.), one of the nation’s highest-rated quarterbacks and a highly-touted National Football League prospect, was outstanding as a senior in 2010 as he completed 261 of 384 passes for 3,032 yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He led the nation in pass completion percentage with a mark of .680 and ranked No. 5 in passing rating with a total of 151.64. He threw for over 200 yards nine times and threw four touchdowns passes in a game twice. In just two seasons at Delaware after transferring from Penn State, he threw for 5,696 yards and 38 touchdowns and won 18 games.
He was a first team Phil Steele College Football All-American, earned third team Associated Press All-American honors, was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year, and earned a spot on the CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic team as a graduate student in finance. He will also play in the East-West Shrine All-Star Game Jan. 22 in Orlando, Fla. Devlin becomes the sixth Delaware player to earn ECAC Player of the Year honors and the first since current NFL standout quarterback Joe Flacco in 2007.
Pierce (Cumberland Regional HS/Bridgeton, N.J.), the lone freshman on the All-East team, became the seventh Delaware player to be named ECAC Rookie of the Year and first since defensive back Sidney Haugabrook was honored in 2001. Earlier this year he was named the CAA Rookie of the Year and Phil Steele National Freshman of the Year and was honored as a third team All-American by both Phil Steele and by The Sports Network. He was one of just two freshmen in the nation to earn TSN All-American laurels.
A walk-on who earned the starting job in pre-season drills, Pierce enjoyed the finest season ever for a UD runner as he rushed 329 times for 1,655 yards and 14 touchdowns while also catching 32 passes for 199 yards and three scores. He set UD freshman records for carries in a season, yards rushing in a game (200 vs. Duquesne) and a season, rushing touchdowns in a season, and total touchdowns (16) in a season. He surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark seven times and averaged 126.5 yards per game in four NCAA playoff appearances. His 1,655 yards rushing was the second highest single season mark in UD history.
Bratton (Osbourn Park HS/Manassas, Va.) was the lone Blue Hen on the defensive side of the ball on the All-East team but was part of the most dominating defense in the country. Playing at the strong safety spot, Bratton spearheaded a unit that led the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 12.1 points per game, ranked fifth in total defense with a 280.7 total yards per game mark, and was ninth in passing efficiency defense (148.49). Delaware also ranked third in the nation with 21 interceptions.
A first team All-CAA selection as well as a third team All-American by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, and Phil Steele College Football, Bratton ranked second on the team with 99 tackles (58 solo). He had three tackles for loss, intercepted two passes, forced two fumbles, and led the squad with 12 pass breakups. He recorded 10 or more tackles four times.
Gradkowski (Seton-LaSalle HS/Pittsburgh, Pa.) anchored a deep and experienced offensive line that protected Devlin and opened gaping holes for Pierce and others. He started all 15 games at offensive guard and helped Delaware rank No. 2 in the CAA in scoring offense (27.8), rushing offense (184.4), and total offense (401.8), and No. 3 in passing offense (217.4). Delaware piled up over 400 yards eight times, including season-best totals of 589 yards vs. Towson and 510 yards vs. Massachusetts in back-to-back games in November.
Gradkowski, a second-year transfer from West Virginia, was a first team All-CAA selection this fall and earned second team All-American honors by Phil Steele.
In addition to Devlin and Pierce, Massachusetts junior linebacker Tyler Holmes was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year. Delaware and Patriot League champion Lehigh each led the ECAC balloting with four first team selections. The selections were made from a vote of ECAC-member head coaches. Only players who earned first team honors in their respective conferences were eligible for the All-East team.
The CAA placed a team-high 12 players on the all-star teams while the Patriot League had seven players honored followed by three from the Ivy League and one each from the Northeast Conference, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Big South Conference.
2010 Eastern College Athletics Conference (ECAC) All-East Team:
Offense: QB - Pat Devlin (Delaware); RB - Andrew Pierce (Delaware), Nate Eachus (Colgate); WR - Chris Summers (Liberty), Ryan Spadola (Lehigh); TE - Andrew Kennedy (Columbia); OL - Gino Gradkowski (Delaware), Ben Ijalana (Villanova), Will Rackley (Lehigh), Keith Hill Jr. (Wm. & Mary), Greg Niland (Massachusetts).
Defense - DL - Brian McNally (New Hampshire), Zach Smith (Colgate), Ronnell Brown (James Madison), Brandon Peguese (Hampton); LB - Tyler Holmes (Massachusetts), Mike Groome (Lehigh), Marquis Kirkland (Villanova); DB - Anthony Bratton (Delaware), Jarard Cribbs (Lehigh), Dino Vasso (New Hampshire), Jayah Kaisamba (Georgetown).
Special Teams: K Joe Izzo (Central Connecticut); P - Drew Alston (Cornell); KR - Shawn Abuhoff (Dartmouth).
Offensive Player of the Year: Pat Devlin (Delaware)
Defensive Player of the Year: Tyler Holmes (Massachusetts)
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Pierce (Delaware)