PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Dec. 23, 2013) – Eight members of the Rutgers football team earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-American Athletic Conference Teams, the publication announced. The Scarlet Knights had four offensive players, three defensive players and one specialist honored.
Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is hailed as the nation’s most informative preseason football magazine. Complete information can be found at PhilSteele.com.
RB Paul James (Glassboro, N.J.): The sophomore broke through with 833 yards rushing in eight games this season, scoring nine touchdowns. He was also named First Team All-American AthleticConference in a vote of the league’s head coaches.
TE Tyler Kroft (Downingtown, Pa.): The sophomore was the only Scarlet Knight to record a reception in all 12 regular season games. He led the team with 40 catches on the season to go with 530 yards, scoring four times. He was also named First Team All-American Athletic Conference in a vote of the league’s head coaches and SI.com Honorable Mention All-America.
C Betim Bujari (Secaucus, N.J.): The junior earned Second Team All-American Athletic Conference after playing in eight games on the offensive line. The team averaged 146.8 yards per game rushing in contests he played in.
PR Janarion Grant (Trilby, Fla.): Also a Second Team All-American Athletic Conference selection, the true freshman returned both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season. He led the conference in the regular season with an average of 9.2 yards per punt return. The returner is the first Rutgers true freshman to earn all-conference since 1998.
OL Kaleb Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.): The junior started all 12 regular season games at left guard as has started the last 36 going back to his freshman season.
LB Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.): The redshirt freshman 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 has also earned Freshman All-America status from Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Sporting News.
DT Darius Hamilton (West Paterson, N.J.): The sophomore broke through with 42 tackles, 10.0 TFLs, four sacks and three pass break-ups from the interior defensive line. He started 11 games.
DE Marcus Thompson (Oakland Park, Fla.): The senior led the team with 5.5 sacks on the season, including a stretch with at least one in three straight games. He is fourth on the defense with 46 tackles.
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, Dec. 28 at noon.
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