Smith Pulls In Patriot League Rookie of the Year Laurels
Nov. 20, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - Freshman wide receiver Jamel Smith (New Egypt, N.J./New Egypt) has been named the Patriot League Football Rookie of the Year, the second straight season a Lafayette player has received that honor. In addition, seven of Smith's teammates earned All-Patriot League honors while three were tabbed for Academic All-Patriot League status at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Smith was the team's second-leading receiver with 38 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns, and finished sixth in the nation in punt return average as he totaled 15 returns for 190 yards (12.7 avg) for the season. Smith came on strong in the final two weeks of the season with 14 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He is Lafayette's Patriot League-best 10th Rookie of the Year winner, and second in a row after teammate Ross Scheuerman claimed the honor last season.
Junior Mark Ross (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) and senior Rick Lyster (Ocean, N.J./Ocean Township) each played their way onto the All-Patriot League First Team. Ross turned in one of the best seasons of any Lafayette receiver in the past decade. He made 75 catches for 1,030 yards (the third-best single-season performance at Lafayette) and 10 touchdowns (fourth in a single season) while averaging 13.7 yards per catch and 93.6 yards per game. He had seven games with 100 yards or more, including a 168-yard game vs. Holy Cross and a 151-yard game at Robert Morris in which he tied the Lafayette single-game record of 13 catches.
Ross is tied for first in career receiving touchdowns with 19 and has 124 career catches, good enough for eighth all-time. He has racked up 1,733 career receiving yards, placing him seventh.
Lyster served as a team co-captain and was the anchor of the defensive line from his tackle spot. He racked up 54 tackles with 6.5 for loss to go along with three sacks. Lyster picked off the first pass of his career in his final game in the Maroon and White, intercepting Lehigh quarterback Mike Colvin on the first drive of the 148th meeting of College Football's Most-Played Rivalry. For his career, Lyster played in 33 games, starting 27 of them.
The Leopards placed five players on the All-Patriot League Second Team. A pair of sophomores earned spots on the offensive side of the ball while three players in Lafayette's secondary took home Second-Team recognition.
Sophomore tailback Ross Scheuerman (Creamridge, N.J./Allentown) garners All-Patriot League Second-Team honors for the second time in as many seasons. The 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year was the team's leading rusher again in 2012. He carried 146 times for 701 yards and five touchdowns. He also made 21 grabs for 151 yards and was the team's kick returner.
Joining him on the offense is sophomore tackle Luke Chiarolanzio (Florham Park, N.J./Delbarton). Chiarolanzio started every game at left tackle in 2012, a year removed from starting 10 games at right tackle in his rookie campaign. He is one of just two sophomore linemen on either side of the ball to garner All-Patriot League recognition.
Three members of the Lafayette secondary secured spots on the All-Patriot League Second Team. Sophomore Jared Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J./Woodbury) tied for the team lead in interceptions (four) and was fifth on the team in tackles (53) from his strong safety spot. Roberts, who was in his first season as a starter, helped lead a Lafayette secondary that was second in the nation with 22 interceptions.
Both of Lafayette's cornerbacks were also honored. Senior co-captain Darius Safford (Douglasville, Ga./Alexander) picked off three passes including one that he returned 31 yards for a touchdown versus eventual Ivy League champion Penn. He broke up five more in his final campaign. Safford made 51 tackles, including 4.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks. He played in 32 games during his career and was a full-time starter his final two seasons on College Hill.
Kyni Scott (Middletown, N.Y./Pine Bush) also intercepted three passes while totaling a team-best 70 yards on interception returns. The senior broke up nine passes and made 49 tackles with 2.5 for loss. In his career, Scott played in 27 games and started 18.
Ross was one of three Lafayette student-athletes to secure Academic All-Patriot League recognition after garnering Capital One Academic All-District II distinction earlier in the month. The Economics major maintains a 3.58 GPA and earns the honor, which is voted upon by the League's sports information directors, for the second straight season.
Junior offensive lineman Brad Bormann (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) has started 17 games and played in 24 in his career. He started every game in 2012 and the last six of his sophomore campaign primarily at guard on the strong side. Bormann majors in Biology and has a 3.72 overall GPA.
Fullback Greg Kessel (East Stroudsurg, Pa./East Stroudsburg South) has been used primarily as a lead blocker and pass protector and has been a major contributor on special teams. The junior has shown production in his limited touches, scoring one touchdown on six carries while reeling in five catches for 86 yards (17.2 yards per catch) and two scores in 2012. He played in 31 games in his career with 15 starts, collecting seven touchdowns (four receiving and three rushing). Kessel is an Economics major who holds a 3.38 GPA.
Academic All-Patriot League selections must have reached their sophomore year academically while maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20. They must also be a starter or key reserve on their team.