It was announced earlier today by the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) that 10 players from the University of Redlands football team garnered All-Conference honors, as voted upon by the eight member coaches. Senior defensive lineman Steven Locke Jr. (Barstow, CA) headlines the list with his recognition as the 2013 SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, five Bulldogs landed among the defensive standouts and four offensive players earned a spot on the All-SCIAC teams.
Following Jordan Garcia in 2012, Locke becomes the second consecutive Bulldog to be named the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year. Receiving his second All-SCIAC award of his four-year career, Locke provided an incredibly balanced effort for the Maroon and Gray, which currently ranks first in the nation for red-zone defense. In seven conference games, he recorded 38 total tackles, including seven for a loss of 23 yards to lead the team. He also tied for the team-lead in sacks with 2.5 for a loss of eight yards. Known to pressure the opposing play-callers, he registered a team-high six quarterback hurries to go along with two pass break-ups. Finally, this versatile contributor forced one fumble during the SCIAC campaign.
Seniors Daniel Kane (Covina, CA) and Sean Woods (Victorville, CA) join Locke as fellow defensive lineman to be recognized with their spots on the First Team. Kane repeats as an honoree, following last year's Second-Team award, as Woods earns his inaugural All-Conference accolade. While serving as one of four captains, Kane provided 27 total tackles, which included 15 solo hits, during the Bulldogs' conference games. He also recorded two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, highlighted by one sack. He also hurried the opposing quarterback on two occasions and swatted away one pass attempt. Woods ranked second among the Bulldogs for total tackles with 39 in seven conference competitions. He tallied 3.5 tackles for a loss of 11 yards to go along with five quarterback hurries. He also received credit for one pass break-up in his final season with the Bulldogs.
In just his second year on the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Michael Tootle (Las Vegas, NV) receives First-Team recognition for his initial award. In seven conference games, he led the Bulldogs with 50 total tackles, with half of those coming on solo hits. He also tallied 2.5 tackles for a loss of 11 yards, highlighted by one sack that pushed the opposing quarterback back nine yards. In addition to his one break-up, this multi-talented defender forced two fumbles and recovered one while also hurrying the quarterback on two occasions.
Finally, senior corner back Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) and senior full safety Nick Kido (Honolulu, HI) complete the list of honorees for the Bulldog defense. Morris lands on the First Team after being named to the Second Team in 2012. While competing in every conference games, he stepped up during pass coverage with 14 solo tackles, accounting for all but one of his hits. He also registered 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards and broke up one pass. Kido, who also served as one of four captains for the Bulldogs, finishes his career with his inaugural All-SCIAC award. During seven conference games, he provided 16 total tackles to go along with three pass break-ups.
The Redlands defense led the SCIAC foes in points (10.4), offensive yards (300.1), and rushing yards (121.0) allowed per game.
All four of Redlands' offensive recipients gain the honor for the first time in their respective Bulldog careers.
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Russell (Lacey, WA) garners First-Team accolades in his initial season with the program. After earning the start in the team's opening SCIAC game against Occidental College, he led the Bulldogs to the program's 29th conference championship with an undefeated run. During seven SCIAC outings, he racked up 1,219 yards through the air on 84 successful passes for a completion percentage of 64.1 to rank second in the conference. He connected with four different Bulldog receivers for a total of 10 touchdowns during the SCIAC season. Also a threat on the ground, Russell carried the ball 63 times for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
As one of Russell's many targets of the season, senior wide receiver Aaron Atkins (Fallbrook, CA) caps off his career with a First-Team nod for his inaugural All-SCIAC award. While making 16 grabs during the seven-game stretch, he tallied 308 yards and three touchdowns. But his average yard per catch stands out at 19.2, making him an explosive receiving option for the Bulldogs.
In addition, junior Aaron Hinkle (Lodi, CA) and senior Jorge Cervantes (Indio, CA) of the Redlands offensive line received All-SCIAC honors. Hinkle represents the Bulldogs on the First Team, while Cervantes closes out his career as a member of the Second Team. The duo played an integral role in the team's ability to rush for the second-highest number of yards in school history during the Bulldogs' 38-21 victory over Occidental. Finally, they both contributed to the team's ability to convert on fourth down, ranking Redlands first in the nation in this category.
Redlands finished the 2013 campaign as SCIAC champions after going undefeated in conference competition for the first time since 2002. Following the program's 29th overall SCIAC title, the Maroon and Gray advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship tournament for the seventh time in program history.
For a complete list of the honorees, please visit www.thesciac.org.