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Riley HCAC Defensive Player of the Year Award Leads 10 First-Team Honorees

Riley HCAC Defensive Player of the Year Award Leads 10 First-Team Honorees

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology placed 10 players on the first-team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football team, including the Defensive Player of the Year, to highlight awards announced Wednesday.

Mike Riley led the award winners by earning HCAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in voting by league coaches.  Riley was joined on the first-team all-league squad by wide receiver Raymond Burtnick; linebacker Kaelen Garnerlinebacker Mike Henrysafety John Kirby; offensive guard Lucas Leinerpunter/kicker Matt Murray; cornerback Alec Thompson; running back Garrett Wight; and offensive tackle Parker Young.

Second-team all-conference honorees included safety/punt returner Tyler Brutofsky; tight end Michael Iacono; and defensive tackle Tyler Stewart.  Quarterback Andrew Dion claimed honorable mention all-league accolades, and Nate Jackson earned a spot on the league's all-sportsmanship team.

Riley completed the 2017 regular season as the NCAA all-divisions leader in sacks (17) and sacks per game (1.7) to set a new Rose-Hulman single-season record.  The software engineering major tallied totals of 53 tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, in addition to his 17 sacks.  His career totals include 86 tadckles, 21.5 sacks and 28 tackles-for-loss.

Burtnick tied a school record and ranked in the NCAA Division III national top 10 with 15 touchdown receptions this season.  He hauled in 48 receptions for 766 yards, increasing his career totals to 73 receptions for 1,004 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Garner earned first-team all-HCAC honors for the third consecutive year after recording 52 tadckles, 16 tackles-for-loss and 7.5 sacks.  He ranks No. 2 in NCAA Division III with four blocked kicks this season, and increased his career totals to 211 tackles, 41 tackles-for-loss, 20.5 sacks and five blocked kicks as a Fightin' Engineer.

Henry claimed all-conference honors for the third straight year, highlighted by first-team accolades in 2017.  He tallied 48 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and one interception, increasing his career totals to 154 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss and four sacks in four years on the squad.

Kirby captured first-team all-HCAC honors after earning honorable mention status last season.  He led the Fightin' Engineers with 69 tackles and added 4.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and two pass breakup.  Kirby's career totals stand at 144 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and five interceptions at Rose-Hulman.

Leiner completed his first year as a starting guard for the prolific Rose-Hulman offensive unit.  He helped Garrett Wight cross the 1,000-yard and earn an HCAC rushing championship, while also helping freshman Andrew Dion emerge as a starting quarterback during his rookie season behind a unit that allowed just 10 sacks on the year.

Murray ranked in the NCAA Division III top five in punting this year with an average of 41.7 yards per kick for his second career first-team all-HCAC award.  He also made 9-11 from field goal range, highlighted by a 40-yard boot.  On the season, the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American made 39-42 extra points.  His career totals stand at 14-17 on field goals, 70-75 on extra points and a punting average of 39.6 yards per kick.

Thompson was named a consensus first-team preseason All-American and backed up the accolades with his on-field play.  He earned first-team all-league honors for the third time with 53 tackles, three interceptions with two touchdown returns and two blocked kicks.  Thompson's career totals include 133 tackles, 11 interceptions and 27 pass breakups as a Fightin' Engineer.

Wight became the first 1,000-yard rusher and the first HCAC rushing champion at Rose-Hulman since 2011 with his performance this season.  He rushed for 1,036 yards and nine touchdowns, with one 200-yard game (Earlham) and five 100-yard rushing performances.  He closed the season with four consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.

Young played every position on the offensive line at some point in his career, with the majority of time coming at center in 2017.  He earned two first-team all-HCAC honors in his career and was a three-year starter on the Fightin' Engineer offensive line.

Second-team all-league honorees included Brutofsky, Iacono and Stewart.  Brutofsky recorded 37 tackles and one interception this year, increasing his career totals to 163 tackles, 10 interceptions and 19 pass breakups.  He also returned 41 punts for 181 yards in two years as the team's primary punt returner.

Iacono was a key blocking tight end and occasional rusher for the Fightin' Engineers this season, with seven catches for 92 yards and six carries for 31 yards.  His career totals included 69 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns, along with 547 rushing yards and seven more touchdowns on the ground.

Stewart tallied 27 tackles, six sacks and nine tackles-for-loss this season as a defensive tackle.  His career totals in four years on the defensive line included 122 tackles, 22.5 tackles-for-loss and 10.5 sacks.

Dion earned honorable mention all-league honors after earning the starting quarterback job as a freshman.  Dion finished 138-241 through the air (57%) for 2,013 yards and 22 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.  On the ground, he rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns.

Jackson captured a spot on the HCAC all-sportsmanship team for his overall efforts on and off the field.  He recorded 37 tackles and two tackles-for-loss this season, completing his career wtih 106 tackles, five sacks and 12.5 tackles-for-loss.

Rose-Hulman finished 8-2 under the leadership of head coach Jeff Sokol, who improved his career record to 48-23 in seven years at Rose-Hulman.  The Fightin' Engineers were 7-1 in league play to earn outright league runner-up honors.  Rose-Hulman opens the 2018 season at perennial power Mount Union on Sept. 1.