PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Dec. 19, 2013) – Rutgers redshirt freshman linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) was named Athlon Sports Second Team Freshman All-America, the website announced. It is the second national honor for the middle linebacker, as he also earned Sporting News Freshman All-America First Team last week.
Longa joins Kaleb Johnson (2011), Scott Vallone (2009), Tom Savage (2009), Joe Lefeged (2007), Anthony Davis (2007), Courtney Greene (2005) and Terrell Willis (1993) as Scarlet Knights to pick up Freshman All-America honors from multiple media outlets.
“Putting together an all-freshman task is no easy assignment,” the release from Athlon states. “Talent and recruiting ranks don’t always equal success as a freshman. With that in mind, our task of picking players for the three teams was split based on production and talent.”
Longa held or tied the team lead in tackles in nine of the 12 regular season games on his way to 111 stops. That total led all freshmen nationally in addition to tackles per game (9.25). He is the first RU freshman with 100-plus tackles in a season since Greene in 2005. The last Rutgers middle linebacker to total 100 tackles in a season prior to Longa was former NFL standout Gary Brackett in 2002 with 130.
Longa set his career high with 14 tackles in the win at SMU, while picking up two sacks versus Eastern Michigan. He was one of the key factors in Rutgers’ stout run defense, which currently ranks fourth nationally.
Rutgers finishes the 2013 season with its eighth bowl appearance in the last nine years at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Kickoff between Rutgers and Notre Dame is set for Saturday, December 28 at noon.
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