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Hawks of the Year

This offseason, five Lehigh players got national recognition as a part of the Sports Network All-America team, while ten Lehigh players garnered all-League awards.

Of course, all these pale in comparison to the real awards: the LFN awards for "Hawks of the Year". The awards were based on my nominations, and you, the fans, got your vote as well. By compiling my nominees for "Hawks of the Week" and counting your votes weekly for the MVP of each week, I present the winners of the 2007 Mountain Hawk team.

Offensive Hawks of the Year
With the struggles on offense Lehigh had this year, it's officially a tie: the winners are freshman RB Jaren Walker and junior RB Josh Pastore. Walker, the freshman from Las Vegas, NV, gave Mountain Hawk fans a tantalizing look at the future after forging for 375 yards and 1 TD in three starts, while Pastore battled injuries all year but showed flashes of the dominating runner he can be with 251 all-purpose yards in two starts. Both Walker and Pastore flashed the type of ability that could be dominating in the Patriot League - and Lehigh fans are eager to see what this dynamic duo can do in 2008.

Defensive Hawk of the Year
A member of the all-Patriot League first team, big plays on defense and special teams led senior DB Brannan Thomas to come away with Defensive Hawk of the year honors. His 32 tackles and 3 interceptions led the defense, but equally important were his 335 return yards and a key punt return for a touchdown against Harvard that was the difference in that game. Battling injury most of the year, the senior truly laid it all out on the field this year and deserves the honors he got this year on defense.

Special Teams Hawk of the Year
A member of the all-Patriot League second team and Sports Network all-American honarable mention, junior P/K Jason Leo dominated games with his punting prowess. With his "rollout" punting style, Leo ended up 3rd in the nation in net yards per punt (42.1 yards) and the Harleysville, PA native put 19 punts inside the 20 yard line. He also would have 6 touchbacks on kickoffs and convert 11 of 18 field goals, including two over 40 yards. Fans are very interested to see how Jason will do next year as well after winning this year's Special Teams hawk of the Year honors.

Hawk Of The Year
The winner of this year's "Hawk Of The Year" goes without a doubt to another junior, a first team all-Patriot selection on defense and another Sports Network all-American honarable mention. The winner is junior LB Tim Diamond.

Diamond patrolled the middle in the Hawk defense and racked up 107 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss including 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 3 fumble recoveries. His forced fumble directly contributed to the win over the eventual Ivy League champion in Harvard: his strip of quarterback Chris Pizzotti was scooped up and returned for a touchdown in a 20-13 victory, also giving him College Sporting News Player of the Week honors as well. In an amazing 22 tackle game, he also fell on Harvard's final pitch to seal the victory for the Mountain Hawks that week.

Diamond's tough play, solid tackling and leadership on the defense earned him "Hawk of the Year" honors. Congratulations to all the winners!

Other postseason honors:
Junior DT Brian Jackson
, first-team all Patriot League, Sports Network All-American (second team)
Senior C John Reese, first team all Patriot League, Sports Network honrable mention
Senior OL Jimmy Kehs, second team all Patriot League
Freshman DB/KR John Kennedy, second team all Patriot League
Senior DT Kyle Adams, second team all Patriot League, Sports Network honrable mention
Sophomore LB Matt Cohen, second team all Patriot League
Senior DB Ernest Moore, second team all Patriot League

Congratulations to everyone!

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