PHILADELPHIA – An 18th Ivy League championship for the University of Pennsylvania football team has resulted in 14 All-Ivy selections as voted on by the League’s head coaches.
The Quakers earned six first-team All-Ivy selections, tied for most among Ivy programs. Penn’s four unanimous first-team All-Ivy nods were the most among the eight Ivy schools – the other seven teams combined for five unanimous first-team selections – and are the most for a Penn team since 2003.
OL – Nick Demes*
RB – Tre Solomon*
QB – Alek Torgersen*
DE – Louis Vecchio
WR – Justin Watson*
DB – Mason Williams
* Indicates Unanimous First-Team Selection
LB – Nick Miller
LB – Colton Moskal
WR – Christian Pearson
DB – Sam Philippi
OL – Dan Poulos
Honorable Mention All-Ivy
LB – Connor Jangro
P – Hunter Kelley
OL – Nathan Kirchmier
Penn will welcome back 11 of its 14 All-Ivy selections next season – most of any Ivy League team – including all six players named All-Ivy on defense this season.
Meet Penn’s 2016 All-Ivy Selections
Nick Demes (1st) – Now a two-time All-Ivy selection, Nick Demes earned first-team All-Ivy honors at left tackle after honorable mention All-Ivy honors last season. One of Penn’s tri-captains, Demes started all 10 games this season and blocked for the Ivy League’s leading rusher and a quarterback which was sacked the second-fewest times among Ivy QBs. For his career, Demes played in 37 of a possible 40 games with 31 starts. He is Penn’s first unanimous first-team All-Ivy offensive lineman since 2009.
Tre Solomon (1st) – Penn first running back to earn first-team All-Ivy since Joe Sandberg in 2007 – and first unanimous first-team running back since Kris Ryan in 2001 – Tre Solomon led the Ivy League in rushing by 252 yards with his 907 yards from scrimmage this season – the most by a Quaker since 2006. He also led the Ivy League in carries (176) and rushing touchdowns by a running back (9). Second in the Ivy League in all-purpose yards, Solomon was No. 25 in FCS in yards-per-game (90.7) and No. 28 in total rushing yards. This season, he set career highs in carries, yards, and TDs while posting five 100+ yard games.
Alek Torgersen (1st) – A second consecutive first-team All-Ivy selection came Torgersen’s way after a 2016 campaign where he led the Ivy League and ranked No. 6 in FCS in completion percentage (66.9%) and won his second consecutive Ivy title as starting quarterback. Torgersen was not only supremely accurate, he was infrequent with his mistakes, throwing just four interceptions – fourth-fewest among all FCS signal-callers. He finished the 2016 season ranked No. 2 in the Ivy League in passing TDs (17), No. 3 in rushing TDs (8), No. 3 in passing yards (2,231), No. 3 in completions (198) and No. 3 in attempts (296). During the 2016 season, he became Penn’s all-time passing touchdown leader (51), all-time total touchdowns responsible for leader (70) and all-time total offense leader (7,937). In his final game at Cornell, he became just the second Penn QB – and eighth overall in the Ivy League – to reach the 7,000-yard mark for his career and he will graduate with 7,025 career passing yards. In his Ivy League career, Torgersen was 470-for-697 passing – setting a new Ivy League record for completion percentage in Ivy League games at 67.4%.
Louis Vecchio (1st) – A truly disruptive force on the defensive line, Louis Vecchio returned from missing the final eight games of 2015 to lead the Quakers in tackles for loss (10.5) and sacks (5.5) in 2016. Seventh on the team in total tackles with 35, Vecchio was fifth in the Ivy League in sacks and sixth in TFLs. His breakout game on a national stage was a six-tackle, three-sack performance against No. 22 Harvard which included a forced fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Justin Watson (1st) – For the second consecutive season, Justin Watson led the Ivy League in receptions (89), yards (1,115) and touchdowns (8) en route to his second straight unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection. For good measure, he led the Ivy League in all-purpose yards with 1,248. One of 15 finalists for the Walter Payton Award as FCS National Offensive Player of the Year, Watson set new Penn single-season records in both receptions and yards. Among the nation’s elite receivers, Watson ranked No. 3 in the FCS in receptions-per-game (8.9), No. 5 in yards-per-game (111.5) and No. 8 in total receiving yards – despite playing one game fewer than five of the WRs ranked ahead of him. Justin a junior, Watson already ranks No. 2 all-time at Penn in receiving yards (2,694), No. 2 in receptions (205), and No. 4 in receiving TDs (19). On the Ivy League’s all-time records lists, he is No. 9 all-time in receiving yards and No. 12 all-time in receptions. Watson had six 100+ yard games this season, and his 13 career 100+ yard games are tied for third all-time by an Ivy Leaguer. No Ivy player has had 13 100+ yard games over a two-year span before Watson did so over the past two seasons. A third-team STATS FCS All-American last season and runner-up for the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Award in 2015, Watson is the first Penn wide receiver to earn back-to-back first-team All-Ivy nods since Dan Castles in 2003-04.
Mason Williams (1st) – Sophomore cornerback Mason Williams earned his first career All-Ivy nod via a first team selection after tying for the Ivy League lead in interceptions with six. In the process, he became the first Quakers with six interceptions in a season since 1984 and ranked No. 3 in all of FCS with 0.6 interceptions per game. Williams also ranked No. 5 on the team with 46 total tackles and added five pass breakups. Four of his six interceptions were in Ivy League games – including two in the win over No. 22 Harvard.
Nick Miller (2nd) – Second on the defense with 68 total tackles, Nick Miller had 42 solo stops to earn his first career All-Ivy nod. Miller truly filled the stat sheet, adding an interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery, 0.5 sacks, and four pass breakups during the course of the season. His best game of the season came at Yale, where he had 11 tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He also added 11 tackles against No. 22 Harvard.
Colton Moskal (2nd) – An All-Ivy selection for the first time, Colton Moskal was fourth in the Ivy League in total tackles with 89 this season – factoring in on 49 solo stops. He had 1.5 sacks, and two pass breakups to go with four 10+ tackle games.
Christian Pearson (2nd) – Sophomore wide receiver Christian Pearson earned his first career All-Ivy selection on the strength of a season where he set career highs in catches (40), yards (514) and touchdowns (7). His seven touchdowns were second in the Ivy League behind teammate Justin Watson. He finished sixth in the Ivy League in yards-per-catch at 12.9 and was seventh in both receptions and yards.
Sam Philippi (2nd) – Third on the team in tackles with 58 (36 solo), Sam Philippi earned his first career All-Ivy selection during his sophomore season. The safety had two interceptions and three pass breakups during the season, and 43 of his 58 tackles came during Ivy games. Both of his interceptions were in Ivy play, including a game-clinching pick in the endzone against Brown with under 2:00 to play.
Daniel Poulos (2nd) – A returning All-Ivy selection, Daniel Poulos earned second-team All-Ivy honors for the second year in a row at left guard. Poulos started all 10 games this season and blocked for the Ivy League’s leading rusher and a quarterback which was sacked the second-fewest times among Ivy QBs. Poulos played in 29 of Penn’s last 30 games, starting each.
Connor Jangro (HM) – One of just six freshman across the entire Ivy League to earn All-Ivy honors, Connor Jangro was ninth on the team with 32 total tackles and third on the team in both tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (2.0). He earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors after a seven-tackle performance at Dartmouth, and added two sacks in a win over No. 22 Harvard. Jangro is the first Penn freshman to earn All-Ivy honors since running back Lyle Marsh in 2009.
Hunter Kelley (HM) – Junior Hunter Kelley ranked No. 2 in the Ivy League in punting average at 41.8 yards – just behind the League-leader who was at 41.9. Kelley punted 37 times during the season, and 10 went for 50+ yards and he pinned opponents inside their own 20 on 10 occasions with just two touchbacks.
Nathan Kirchmier (HM) – In his first season as a starter, Kirchmier played all 10 games at center for the Quakers and blocked for the Ivy League’s leading rusher and a quarterback which was sacked the second-fewest times among Ivy QBs.