(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) – For the second straight season, a pair of seniors, punter Tyler Kohman (Pataskala, Ohio/Columbus Academy) and safety Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) of the Carnegie Mellon University football team headline the University Athletic Association (UAA) postseason awards. Kohman was named Special Teams Player of the Year while Fitzmorris received Defensive Player of the Year honors. The two are joined by 12 other Tartans who garnered recognition with 10 receiving first-team accolades.
Kohman was the top punter in the UAA with an average of 45.7 yards per punt, which ranked second nationally and set the program's single-season record. The senior had 16 punts of 50 yards or more including a career-best 62-yarder. Kohman placed 21 of his 45 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Fitzmorris led the UAA with 102 tackles, averaging 9.3 tackles per game. He tied the school single-game record with 22 tackles against Geneva College and then recorded a career-best 13 solo tackles against Westminster College. Fitzmorris ended his career ranked fourth on the school's all-time tackle list with 247.
Six other Tartans join Fitzmorris on the defensive first team; senior inside linebacker Stanley Bikulege (Greer, S.C./Saint Joseph's Catholic), senior outside linebackers Kyle Brittain (Largo, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic) and Quentin Wolfe (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point), junior defensive lineman Julian Nelson (Washington, D.C./ Archbishop Carroll), sophomore defensive back Anthony Kennon (Lancaster, Mass./Nashoba Regional) and sophomore defensive lineman Michael Lohmeier (Clarendon Hills, Ill./Hinsdale Central). Three senior offensive players were named first team honorees in running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.), wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and offensive lineman Tyler Eckler (Chelsea, Mich.) while sophomore returner Willie Richter (Leander, Texas/Cedar Park) joins Kohman on the special teams first team.
Bikulege, who missed time this season due to injury, was sixth on the team with 60 tackles after eight games played. In the Tartans season opener at Washington University in St. Louis, Bikulege recorded his second career interception and ran it back for his first career touchdown. The senior ended his career with 263 tackles and ranks third on the school's all-time list. Brittain was second on the team and fourth in the UAA with 78 tackles, 46 solo, and was also second on the team with two interceptions and nine passes defended. He ended his career with 233 tackles, which ranks sixth on the school's all-time list. Wolfe, the team's third leading tackler and fifth in the UAA, ended the 2017 season with 74 tackles. He recorded seven passes defended to rank third on the team and tabbed 2.5 sacks for a loss 19 yards.
Nelson, who also missed time this season due to injury, was seventh on the team with 37 tackles in eight games played. The junior recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble. Lohmeier led the team with 6.0 sacks and 9.0 tackles for a loss. His 6.0 sacks ranked second in the UAA while his three forced fumbles tied for tops in the Aassociation. Kennon ended the season with 33 stops, 22 solos, and was tied with Wolfe with seven passes defended, including his first career interception.
Benger, who was nagged by injuries all season, rushed for 1,053 yards on 190 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry, which ranked tops in the UAA. Benger, the school's all-time rushing leader with 5,376 yards, became the first back in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.
Prather led the UAA with 1,032 yards, 11 receiving touchdowns and 63 receptions. He became the first Tartan to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Prather tied the school single-game reception record with 10 in the Tartans' win at Bethany. His 11 touchdown receptions in 2017 tied for the most in a single-season for a Tartan. Prather ended his career as the school's all-time receiving leader (3,077), receptions leader (194) and touchdown receptions leader (25).
Eckler played a key part in blocking for one of the nation's top rushers the past three seasons. He appeared in 32 contests during that span and started every game the past two seasons. Eckler fronted an offensive line that helped the Tartans reach the 510-yard mark in the Tartans' win over the University of Rochester while compiling 496 yards against nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University.
Richter had a combined 816 return yards and ranked eighth nationally and first in the UAA. The sophomore averaged 14.2 yards per punt return, which ranked tops in the Association and 11th nationally. Richter returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the Tartans' win over Rochester, as it was the second longest punt return for a touchdown in program history.
The Tartans Honorable Mention Honorees:
Senior wide receiver Tommy Mansfield
Senior linebacker Sean Graff