Drake is the fifth Penn defensive player to be named Player of the Year – and the first since fellow linebacker Jake Lewko did so in 2009.
Wide receiver Justin Watson finished runner up for the Offensive Player of the Year Award, taking second behind Harvard’s Scott Hosch.
“Tyler was a force for us all season, often times single-handedly changing the game for us en route to an Ivy League championship. I am so happy for him today with his selection as Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year,” said Ray Priore, the George A. Munger Head Coach of Football. “Day in and day out, he was the standard-bearer in the Ivy League at his position, and I am thankful to the coaches across the League who recognized his effort and his value to our team. At the same time, Justin finishing runner-up in no way diminishes what he has meant to our program this season. Without question, we would not have won an Ivy title without him. It is truly an honor to be invited to New York and to be recognized as one of the elite players in the Ivy League on his side of the ball. Ultimately, I am proud to have the opportunity to coach such standout young men who represent the Red and Blue with honor and showcase everything that our program is about.”
The Drake File
Tyler Drakeearned unanimous first-team All-Ivy honors in 2015 on the strength of a team-high 80 tackles and an Ivy League-leading 8.5 sacks. One of 25 finalists for the STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Year Award, Drake is seventh in FCS in forced fumbles-per-game (0.40) and ninth in sacks-per-game (0.85) while also ranking 37th among all defensive players with 1.3 tackles for loss-per-game.
Drake’s 8.5 sacks in 2015 are the 10th-most in a single season by a Penn player, and most since Mike Germino had 9.5 during the 1999 season. He will graduate with 17.5 career sacks, fifth-most in program history and most since Steve Lhotak had 19 from 2000-03.
Drake’s 2015 – “Started From The Bottom”
at. Lehigh (9/19) –Records six solo tackles in Penn’s season-opening loss at Lehigh.
at No. 4 Villanova (9/24) –Forces a pair of fumbles as Penn knocks off No. 4 Villanova, 24-13. His second forced fumble comes at his own six yard line, and is recovered by teammateDonald Pancielloand returned 90 yards to give Penn a 24-7 lead with 6:51 to play.
vs. Dartmouth (10/3) –Makes a career-high 15 tackles against the Big Green
vs. No. 12 Fordham (10/10) –Reaches double figures in tackles for the second straight game, recording 12 in a loss to the Rams. Four of those tackles are quarterback sacks – most by a Quaker since Lhotak had 4.5 against Harvard in 2003.
at Columbia (10/17) –Is in on five tackles against former coachAl Bagnoli’s Lions, but his interception on the second play of the second half leads to a Penn touchdown three plays later en route to a convincing 42-7 win in the Big Apple.
vs. Yale (10/23) –Under the Friday Night Lights – and the spotlight of national television – Drake dazzles the Franklin Field crowd with an interception, forced fumble, and sack en route to Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors. The interception comes with Penn trailing, 10-0, and set in motion a drive which started a second quarter in which the Quakers outscored Yale, 20-3, to take control of the game.
at Brown (10/31) –Despite just three tackles – his lowest single-game output of the season, Drake was in on another big play as he recovers a Brown fumble at the Bears’ 17-yard line. Three plays later, the Quakers score to take a 28-7 lead and cruise to a 48-28 win.
vs. Princeton (11/7) –Makes a home in the Princeton backfield on Penn’s Homecoming Weekend, registering three tackles for loss – including one sack – in a thrilling 26-23 win in overtime. His sack is a strip-sack, turning the ball over at midfield and leading to Penn’s first touchdown drive of the game.
at No. 12 Harvard (11/14) –Finishes with 12 tackles – six of which were solo as Penn ends Harvard’s 22-game win streak.
vs. Cornell (11/21) –Earns a second Ivy League championship ring with seven tackles in his final career game against the Big Red.