Pitt Cleans Up With Big East Awards

The Pitt football team earned three of the Big East's top post-season honors, including the Offensive, Defensive and Rookie of the Year awards, it was announced today by the Conference's office.

Pittsburgh freshman running back Dion Lewis was selected the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, while junior defensive end Greg Romeus and senior defensive tackle Mick Williams were named Co-Defensive Players of the Year.

Overall, 14 Panthers were named to the All-Big East Team, the most in school history. The Player of the Year awards and All-Big East Team are selected by a vote of league coaches.

Lewis (Albany, N.Y./Blair Academy N.J.) is the first player since Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick in 1999 to be selected the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound tailback rushed for 1,640 yards and scored 17 touchdowns during the regular season. He leads the Big East and ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game (136.67 avg.).

With a bowl game remaining, Lewis is already the most prolific freshman rusher in Big East history. He also is just 46 yards shy of the legendary Tony Dorsett's 36-year-old Pitt freshman rushing record of 1,686 yards set in 1973. Lewis' 102 points are a new Pitt freshman standard, eclipsing LeSean McCoy's 2007 mark (90).

Two teammates are sharing the Defensive Player of the Year award for the first time in Big East history. Pitt players have earned the Big East Defensive MVP award in three of the last four years, including linebackers Scott McKillop in 2008 and H.B. Blades in 2006.

Romeus (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Glades) paces Pitt's defensive front with 40 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and eight quarterback sacks. He also has two forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. Williams (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) ranks second in the Big East in tackles for loss (1.25 TFL/game). On the year he has 39 tackles, 15 TFLs, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

Pitt had 10 first-team All-Big East selections overall. In addition to Lewis (unanimous), Romeus (unanimous) and Williams, other Panthers honored on the first team included sophomore receiver Jonathan Baldwin, senior cornerback Aaron Berry, senior tight end Dorin Dickerson, senior linebacker Adam Gunn, senior offensive guard John Malecki, junior offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and senior quarterback Bill Stull.

Second-team honorees included senior tight end Nate Byham, junior safety Dom DeCicco, junior placekicker Dan Hutchins and senior defensive tackle Gus Mustakas.

Baldwin (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) has compiled 54 catches for 1,080 yards (20.0 avg.) with eight touchdowns. Pitt's first 1,000-yard receiver since 2004, he ranks second in the Big East and 15th nationally in receiving yards per game (90.0 avg.).

This is the second All-Big East honor for Berry (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt), who was a second-team pick in 2008. This season he has 28 tackles, nine pass breakups and one interception despite missing two games to injury.

Dickerson (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) is one of the country's most productive tight ends with 45 receptions for 508 yards (11.3 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. A John Mackey Award finalist, his 10 TDs are a single-season record for a Pitt tight end, eclipsing Kris Wilson's nine scores in 2003.

Gunn's (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) first-team selection caps a remarkable year for the senior, who returned to action in 2009 after missing nearly all of last year with a serious neck injury. As the Panthers' starting middle linebacker, he has compiled 70 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.

Malecki (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) and Pinkston (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) were part of an exceptional offensive line that produced a 1,600-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver, and only gave up 1.08 sacks per game this year. The pair was instrumental in helping Pitt average 33.2 points per game during the regular season, the fourth-highest scoring average in school history.

Stull (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-LaSalle) enjoyed an outstanding final season, throwing for a Big East-high 2,470 yards. He completed 65% of his passes (192 of 297) with 21 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Stull ranks sixth in Pitt history with 5,089 passing yards.

Byham (Franklin, Pa./Franklin) is the first tight end in Pitt history to twice be named to the All-Big East Team. He was an integral contributor to the Big East's top rushing attack this season and also had nine receptions for 99 yards.

DeCicco (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) was an asset for Pitt's run and pass defense this year at strong safety. He is the team's top tackler with 85 stops and is also tied for the team lead with three interceptions.

Hutchins (Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township) converted 19-of-24 field goals (79.2 percent) and 45-of-47 extra points (95.7 percent) this year. His 102 points set a single-season Pitt kick scoring record, eclipsing Carson Long's 33-year-old mark of 99 set in 1976. Hutchins leads the Big East in overall and kick scoring (8.5 points/game), field goals (1.58 FG/game) and field-goal percentage. He ranks 11th (tied) nationally in field goals per game.

Mustakas (Cooper City, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna Prep) is another vital performer on Pitt's defensive front, compiling 36 tackles, nine TFLs, 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. The versatile Mustakas played both tackle spots this year.

Ranked as high as No. 16 nationally, Pitt (9-3) will conclude its season against North Carolina (8-4) in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 26, at Bank of America Stadium. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN and kick off at 4:30 p.m. For ticket information, go to www.PittsburghPanthers.com.

Pitt's 2009 All-Big East Team Members

First Team

Jonathan Baldwin, WR

Aaron Berry, CB

Dorin Dickerson, TE

Adam Gunn, LB

Dion Lewis, RB (unanimous)

John Malecki, OG

Jason Pinkston, OT

Greg Romeus, DE (unanimous)

Bill Stull, QB (co-first team with Cincinnati's Tony Pike)

Mick Williams, DT

Second Team

Nate Byham, TE

Dom DeCicco, S

Dan Hutchins, PK

Gus Mustakas, DT

Pitt's Big East Offensive Player of the Year Awardees

2009 Dion Lewis, RB

2003 Larry Fitzgerald, WR

2000 Antonio Bryant, WR

1994 Billy West, RB

Pitt's Big East Defensive Player of the Year Awardees

2009 Greg Romeus, DE; Mick Williams, DT

2008 Scott McKillop, LB

2006 H.B. Blades, LB

Pitt's Big East Rookie of the Year Awardees

2009 Dion Lewis, RB

2007 LeSean McCoy, RB

2002 Larry Fitzgerald, WR

1991 Tom Tumulty, LB

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