PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers senior football players Gary Brackett and L.J. Smith,were named to the ECAC Division I-A All-Star team, while junior Nate Jones was an Honorable Mention selection, it was announced Wednesday. " />
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Rutgers Trio Earns ECAC Honors
  • Posted on January 08, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers senior football players Gary Brackett and L.J. Smith,were named to the ECAC Division I-A All-Star team, while junior Nate Jones was an Honorable Mention selection, it was announced Wednesday.

    Brackett, of Glassboro, N.J., was selected as a linebacker on the ECAC’s All-Star team. Brackett, who originally earned a spot on the Rutgers football team as a walk-on in 1999, manned the middle linebacker position throughout the 2002 season and was the leading tackler for the Knights with 126 stops. A two-time recipient of the Homer Hazel Trophy as Rutgers football’s Most Valuable Player, Brackett also led the Scarlet Knights with 13 tackles for loss (for minus 47 yards) and was second with four sacks (for minus 26 yards) in 2002. Brackett recorded double-digit stops in eight of the Scarlet Knights 12 games. Brackett recorded a season high 14 tackles at Pittsburgh.

    Smith was the Scarlet Knights' leading receiver in 2002 despite playing with injuries throughout the season. Smith caught 32 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including a season high seven grabs before over 103,000 fans at Tennessee. Smith caught five passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener vs. Villanova and added his third TD of the season against Temple, when he finished a catch-and-run play by covering 53 yards on a pass across the middle. Smith, of Highland Park, NJ, ended his Rutgers career as the second-most prolific tight end in Rutgers history. He was sixth all-time in receptions (122), ninth in all-time in yards (1458) and eighth in TD receptions (10).

    Brackett and Smith served as captains of the Scarlet Knights (elected by their teammates, along with safety Shawn Seabrooks) for two consecutive seasons (2001 and 2002).

    Jones, a junior cornerback, was selected as an Honorable Mention ECAC All-Star selection as a return specialist. Jones had an outstanding season for the Scarlet Knights, both as a kick returner and a starting cornerback. The 5-10, 175-pound resident of Scotch Plains, N.J., was the No. 1 kick returner in the BIG EAST, and No. 6 nationally, averaging 28.3 yards per return. Jones had two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns, at Tennessee and at Syracuse, becoming only the second player in BIG EAST history (Nate Terry of West Virginia, in 1997) to accomplish that feat. Jones started all 12 games at cornerback for the Scarlet Knights, and finished the season as the Scarlet Knights’ third leading tackler with 84 stops. Jones was also named to the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America squad (second team).

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