BC’s Kuechly wins AP honors
The satisfaction kept building each week on the field as Luke Kuechly led a Boston College defense that helped turn a five-game losing streak into a five-game winning streak, which propelled the Eagles into a bowl game for the 12th consecutive year.
And Kuechly, a sophomore middle linebacker, started picking up individual honors; first team, All-Atlantic Coast Conference; runner-up for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker; first team on the Football Writers, Coaches Association, and Walter Camp All-American teams.
Yesterday, Kuechly was named to the first team of the Associated Press’s All-American squad, making him the 11th consensus All-American in BC history and the first since defensive back Jamie Silva in 2007.
Other BC first-team consensus All-Americans include Luke Urban (1920), Gene Goodreault (1940), Mike Holovak (1942), Doug Flutie and Tony Thurman (1984), Mike Ruth (1985), Pete Mitchell (1994), Mike Cloud (1998), and William Green (2001).
Kuechly was an outside linebacker last season, but with the graduation of Mike McLaughlin and the illness and injuries suffered by Mark Herzlich, he was moved to the middle in training camp.
BC coach Frank Spaziani compared the position switch to crossing the Expressway at rush hour, but Kuechly, 6 feet 3 inches, 235 pounds, never seemed to miss a step, extending his string of double-digit tackle games to 21. He broke the school record for tackles in a season with 171, which led the nation, as did his 102 solo tackles.
“He is as good at his position as [former BC quarterback and current Atlanta Falcon] Matt Ryan was at his position,’’ said Spaziani, who was recruiting in Ohio yesterday. “In all aspects . . . leadership, and obviously production.’’
Kuechly, who attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, was not highly recruited by such major schools as Ohio State or Notre Dame because he was regarded as too small to play linebacker and not fast enough to play defensive back. He did both at St. Xavier, and he attracted interest from BC (as well as Virginia and Stanford) because he fit the mold that its coaches look for in a player, student, and person.
“A typical BC kid,’’ said Spaziani, who had hoped to redshirt Kuechly as a freshman, but couldn’t when the player began dominating from almost the first day he arrived at BC.
“It’s just another great award in what has been a fabulous season, especially the way our team has been playing right now,’’ Kuechly said. “But I guess this just means a lot because it’s one of the oldest and I really appreciate it.’’
“Now we have to keep it going and go out and win the bowl game [against Nevada Jan. 9 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl]’’.
Eagles senior offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo was a third-team AP All-American selection.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.