Darren Robinson receives preseason defensive player of the year honors.
July 16, 2013
Stephen F. Austin junior defensive end Darren Robinson has been named 2013 Phil Steele's Magazine Southland Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year announced publication officials Tuesday afternoon. Robinson, a 2012 first-team All-SLC selection, is one of 11 Lumberjacks named to the squad. Among the 11 SFA selections, five garnered first-team honors.
Robinson was one of the conference's many bright spots during the 2012 season. After being forced out of the lineup due to injuries in 2011, Robinson posted a career year last season. He earned postseason honors after finishing among the league's top 10 in tackles for losses (11.5), and second in the league in sacks (7.5).
Robinson recorded 31 total tackles, in addition to his stops behind the line of scrimmage. He was also credited with two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a pass break up. He enters the 2013 season with nearly 20 tackles for losses, and nine sacks in his career.
Robinson made a habit of saving his best for the toughest competition last season. Against a top-10 foe on the road at Montana State, Robinson recorded three tackles, including two that went for losses. In the upset victory over Central Arkansas, he also had three stops including two sacks.
Joining Robinson on the first team are Gus Johnson (running back), D.J. Ward (wide receiver), Collin Garrett (linebacker) and Nick Bruno (punter).
Johnson asserted himself as one of nation's more punishing runners in 2012. A first-team all-conference selection last year, Johnson just missed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau while posting two 200-yard rushing games. Johnson received national player of the week honors following his 215-yard outing in an upset victory over Central Arkansas. He closed out the year with a career-best 226-yard performance in a win over Northwestern State.
While Johnson was busy making headlines for running the football, Ward was doing the same but at the receiver spot. Despite having a wealth of returning talent at receiver last season, Ward battled his way into the Lumberjack starting lineup. He finished second on the team with 62 catches for 762 yards and four touchdowns and received second-team all-conference honors in 2012.
Garrett had an immediate impact on the Lumberjack defense in his first season with the team. The speedy linebacker finished among the league leaders, and led the squad with 96 total tackles. He also recorded 9.5 tackles for losses and picked off a pass.
Bruno took over as the team's punter during his rookie season. The Rowlett, Texas native, averaged nearly 38 yards per punt as a freshman, including a career best of 76 yards. He also killed nine punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
SFA also had six players earn preseason second-team honors. The offensive selections are Mike Brooks (wide receiver), Ryne Chambers (offensive line) and Andrew Ratliff (offensive line). Malcolm Mattox (defensive end) and Caleb Nelson (defensive back) were the defensive selections, while Jordan Wiggs (kicker) was the specialist.