JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2018) – The All-American week continued for ETSU football.
Redshirt senior offensive lineman Matt Pyke (Clinton, Tenn.) and redshirt junior defensive lineman Nasir Player (Columbia, S.C.) were placed on the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches’ All-America teams, which was announced by the organization on Friday.
Pyke earned first team honors and Player was placed on the second team. The duo become the first Buccaneer players to receive this honor since 1996 when defensive lineman James Russell made the team.
Pyke, who picked up his fourth All-American honor this postseason, played in 789 of the 795 possible snaps this season for the Bucs. The Clinton, Tenn. native received the Jacobs Blocking Award, which is given to the top offensive lineman in the Southern Conference, while also earning first team all-SoCon honors. Pyke started all 45 games over his playing career, while his blocking this season led the Blue and Gold turn in nine 100-yard rushing games and four games of over 200 yards.
Player collected his second All-American honor this season (STATS FCS) and was also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award. The Columbia, S.C. native totaled 43 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles in 11 starts for the Bucs. The first team all-SoCon selection finished third in the conference in forced fumbles for per game (0.27), tied for fourth in sacks per game (0.55) and tied for sixth in tackles for loss per game (1.0). Player also earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Week following 6-tackle, 3-sack and 2-forced fumble game in the win over Chattanooga on Sept. 29.
Following today’s awards announcement, the Bucs have now collected 13 All-American honors this postseason. ETSU recorded an eight-win season, a share of the SoCon title and the program’s first playoff appearance in 22 years this past 2018 campaign.
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