Lewko Named Co-Ivy League Player of the Year

PHILADELPHIA - Highlighted by senior linebacker Jake Lewko's co-MVP honors, 18 members of the University of Pennsylvania football team were named to the All-Ivy teams Tuesday as announced by the league office. Six of the 18 were named to the first team.

Lewko is the first Quaker to earn Ivy League Player of the Year honors since quarterback Mike Mitchell did so after winning the 2003 Ivy title and the first Penn defensive player to win the award since linebacker Pat Goodwillie in 1994. Lewko shares the award with Brown senior wide receiver and return specialist Buddy Farnham.

In addition to Lewko, junior offensive lineman Joseph D'Orazio, senior defensive lineman Joe Goniprow, senior defensive backs Chris Wynn and Jonathan Moore, and junior kicker Andrew Samson were all named to the first team. Lewko, D'Orazio and Goniprow were all unanimous selections, while Wynn becomes the first Quaker since wideout Miles Macik (1993-95) to earn first-team All-Ivy honors in three consecutive years.

Five of the six second-team honorees will be returning to the Red and Blue next season as senior defensive back Kevin Gray was joined by juniors Zach Heller, Owen Thomas, Luis Ruffolo and Luke DeLuca, and freshman Lyle Marsh.

Earning 2009 All-Ivy honorable mention status were seniors Kyle Olson and Kyle Derham, junior linebacker Brian Levine and sophomores Erik Rask, Greg Van Roten and Luke Nawrocki.

Lewko led the No. 1 ranked defense in the FCS in tackles with 76, adding two sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick. In guiding Penn to its first Ivy League championship since 2003, the Medford, N.J., native co-captained a defense that allowed fewer points than any other team in Division I college football (FBS or FCS). Lewko and the Penn defense led the Ivy League in nearly every single statistical category: scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, first downs allowed, opponent third-down conversions, fewest penalties, fewest penalty yards, turnover margin, time of possession and red zone defense.

Wynn was a first-teamer in 2007 and 2008 with five interceptions in each of those seasons. Despite missing two and a half games this season, the Flemington, N.J., product was second on the team in passes defended and interceptions, and third in pass breakups. He finished his career fifth on Penn's all-time career interceptions list with 12, returning one of his two picks this season for a touchdown.

Four Penn linebackers made the All-Ivy lists this season as Lewko was followed by Heller, Levine and Rask. Though splitting time, all four ranked within the top six on the team in tackles. Heller was second behind Lewko with 55 tackles, second on the team with nine tackles for loss (9.0) and third in the Ivy League and second on the team with 5.5 sacks. Levine also had nine tackles for loss and was fifth on the team in tackles (43), while Rask led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss (fourth in the Ivy League) and was sixth in tackles (42).

Goniprow, who was a second-team All-Ivy recipient last year, led all Penn defensive linemen in tackles. Despite being double-teamed almost all season, he had seven tackles for loss and was third on the team and fifth in the Ivy League with four sacks.

Thomas joined Goniprow on the defensive line for the top-ranked defense. Thomas had a sack in seven of the team's 10 games, leading the team and finishing second in the Ivy League with 6.0 sacks on the year. He was second only to Goniprow among the defensive linemen in tackles with 29 total and eight for loss.

Moore earned his first All-Ivy distinction after finishing third in the Ivy League in interceptions and fourth in the league in passes defended. He had 39 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in addition to his four interceptions, seven pass breakups and 11 passes defended.

Gray shared the defensive backfield with both Moore and Wynn, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 49. He started all 10 games and was second on the team with seven pass breakups, had 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

This is the second straight year Samson has earned first-team recognition. For the second consecutive season he led all Ivy League kickers in scoring and field goals made as he headed the Quakers with 58 points on 11 field goals and 25 made extra points on 25 attempts. He has still never missed a point after attempt in his career, going a perfect 74-for-74.

This marks the first All-Ivy distinction for all three offensive lineman. D'Orazio, Ruffolo and Van Roten led a unit that ranked third in the Ivy League in rushing and ranked first in sacks allowed, giving up just 12 all year and only six in the final nine games.

Olson went undefeated as Penn's starting quarterback this season, going 6-0. Derham was one of his favorite targets as the wideout led the team with 35 catches, 388 receiving yards and three touchdown catches. Nawrocki was second on the team with two touchdown grabs, totaling 11 receptions and 88 yards on the year. Marsh was the team's top rusher with 526 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry in 2009. DeLuca led all Quakers' position players with six touchdowns, five rushing and one receiving.

The six first-team honorees marked the most for the Red and Blue since the same number earned the distinction in 2006. The 18 overall All-Ivy recipients are the most for the Red and Blue since that same year.