Miami Dolphins sign former BCU linebacker Ryan Lewis to free agent deal

The Miami Dolphins have signed former BCU linebacker, Ryan Lewis, to a rookie free agent deal according to the Palm Beach Post.

Lewis is a two time All-MEAC defensive performer and was selected as the conference’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.  But don’t expect to see the 6-1, 245 pound Pompano Beach native making tackles, taking on offensive linemen,  or guarding tight ends if he’s on Miami’s roster next year.  The Dolphins are expected to convert Lewis to fullback.

Lewis is the third BCU player to ink a free agent deal this week (Ryan Davis, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars; and Jean Fanor, S, Kansas City Chiefs).

Best of luck to Ryan Lewis in all of his future endeavors.

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BCU’s Ryan Davis earns MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Honors

2011 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year-Ryan Davis

Associated Press– Bethune-Cookman’s Ryan Davis earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor as voted on by the MEAC head football coaches and sports information directors. 

Ryan Davis led the MEAC in sacks (12.0) and tackles for loss (21.5) and ranked in the top 10 nationally in both categories.  He ranked third on the team in tackles with 65 this season including 40 solo and 25 assisted.  He also recorded 17 quarterback hurries, eight forced fumbles, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.  He was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week once this season and was named the FCS Defensive Player of the Week once by the Sports Network. 

Sophomore running back Isidore Jackson joins Davis as a first team All-MEAC selectee.  Jackson finished the year as the conference’s second leading rusher gaining 866 yards on 146 carries with 7 rushing touchdowns.

The MEAC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker  Ryan Lewis, was an second team selectee as were fellow linebacker Reggie Sandilands, safety Jean Fanor, offensive lineman Natiel Curry, and offensive lineman Terrance Hackney.

Norfolk State quarterback Chris Walley and North Carolina A&T State running back Mike Mayhew were selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) Co-Offensive Players of the Year.

Greg McGhee of Howard earned the Rookie of the Year award and Norfolk State’s Blake Matthews was selected as the Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Seven-year head coach Pete Adrian of Norfolk State was named the Coach of the Year.  Adrian led the Spartans to its first-ever MEAC football title following a 9-2 overall finish and 7-1 mark in conference play.  The Spartans earned the conference title following a 47-14 victory over Morgan State on Saturday, Nov. 12.  The No. 19th ranked Spartans rose to its highest-ever ranking in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 poll and earned the MEAC’s automatic berth with the title. 

Senior Mike Mayhew capped off a tremendous four-year collegiate career with yet another conference top honor after receiving Rookie of the Year honors just three years ago. In 11 games Mayhew led the MEAC in rushing with 231 carries for 1,120 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 93 yards. Mayhew was named to the All-MEAC Preseason First Team and was MEAC Offensive Player of the Week once this season. He ranks 23rd in the nation in rushing and averaged 101.8 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.

Chris Walley led the MEAC in most of the passing categories this season including total yards (2,309), average per game (209.9), efficiency (148.5) and completions (211).   He also led the conference in total offense averaging 235 yards in 11 games.  The 6-2, senior from Tallahassee, Florida ranks 18th in the nation in pass efficiency and 33rd in total offense.  Walley completed 69.2-percent of his passes (211-305) with 17 passing touchdowns and ranked third on the team in rushing with 89 attempts and 276 total yards with five TDs on the ground. He was selected as the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week three times this season.

Greg McGhee led the Bison and was third in the MEAC in total offense averaging 197.5 yards per game.  The rookie connected on 56-percent of his passes (182-321-5) with 1,784 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 starts.  He was second on the team in rushing with 388 yards on 116 carries with four rushing touchdowns.  The Pittsburgh, Pa. native was selected as the MEAC Rookie of the Week five times this season.

Blake Matthews aided a powerful Spartan offense that accounted for 4,319 total yards including 1,843 yards on the ground. Behind Matthew’s blocking Norfolk State finished second in the MEAC in total offense and passing offense. He provided protection for four different players to rush for over 200+ yards. He also allowed senior quarterback Chris Walley to throw for 2,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. Matthews was named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week once this season and anchored a line that only gave up 13 sacks on the year.

2011 All-MEAC FOOTBALL HONORS

Player of the Year: Chris Walley, Norfolk State and Mike Mayhew, North Carolina A&T

Defensive Player of the Year: Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman                                            

Offensive Lineman of the Year: Blake Matthews, Norfolk State

Rookie of the Year: Greg McGhee, Howard                                                                                                   

Coach of the Year: Pete Adrian, Norfolk State

2011 All-MEAC FIRST TEAM

Offense

POS Name CL School Hometown
QB Chris Walley r-Sr. Norfolk State Tallahassee, Fla.
RB Isidore Jackson r-So. Bethune-Cookman Mossy Head, Fla.
RB Mike Mayhew Sr. North Carolina A&T Charlotte, N.C.
TE Lamont Bryant Sr. Morgan State Newport News, Va.
WR Willie Carter Sr. Howard Denmark, S.C.
WR Xavier Boyce r-Jr. Norfolk State Virginia Beach, Va.
OL Kendall Noble r-Sr. Norfolk State Rocky Mount, N.C.
OL Steven Robinson r-Sr. Florida A&M Tallahassee, Fla.
OL Corey Gwinner r-Sr. Howard Ypsilanti, Mich.
OL Blake Matthews r-Sr. Norfolk State Manassas, Va.
C Shelly Anthony r-So. Florida A&M Atlanta, Ga.
Defense        
DL Ryan Davis Sr. Bethune-Cookman Tampa, Fla.
DL Sackie Kerkulah r-Sr. Howard Willingboro, NJ
DL Josh Turner r-Sr. Norfolk State Chesterfield, Va.
DL Pat Washington r-Sr. South Carolina State Hollywood, S.C.
LB Keith Pough r-Jr. Howard Orangeburg, S.C.
LB Corwin Hammond r-Sr. Norfolk State Louisville, Ky.
LB Donovan Richard r-Sr. South Carolina State Georgetown, S.C.
DB John Ojo Jr. Florida A&M Tallahassee, Fla.
DB Micah Pellerin Sr. Hampton New Orleans, La.
DB Justin Ferrell Sr. North Carolina A&T Danville, Va.
DB Dominique Ellis r-Sr. South Carolina State Union City, Ga.
P Branden Holdren Jr. Florida A&M Jacksonville, Fla.
P/K Ryan Estep r-Sr. Norfolk State Chesapeake, Va.
Ret Edmond Baker r-Jr. Florida A&M Miami, Fla

2011 All-MEAC SECOND TEAM

Offense

POS Name CL School Hometown
QB Greg McGhee Fr. Howard Pittsburgh, Pa.
RB Asheton Jordan Jr. South Carolina State Summerville, S.C.
RB Travis Davidson Jr. Morgan State Redford, Mich.
TE Joe Hawkins Jr. Norfolk State Chicago, Ill.
WR Wallace Miles r-Sr. North Carolina A&T Atlanta, Ga.
WR Kevin Elliott r-Sr. Florida A&M Orlando, Fla.
OL Alex Harper r-Sr. North Carolina A&T Baltimore, Md.
OL Terrance Hackney So. Bethune-Cookman Chapel Hill, N.C.
OL Lawrence Brewer Sr. Morgan State Fort Washington, Md.
OL Branden Curry r-Sr. Florida A&M Hollywood, Fla.
C Natiel Curry r-Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
         
Defense        
DL Joey Christine Sr. Norfolk State Stephens City, Va.
DL Corey Berry r-Sr. Howard Orangeburg, S.C.
DL Ian Davidson Sr. Hampton Washington, DC
DL Zackary Stewart Sr. Morgan State Upper Marlboro, Md.
LB Reginald Sandilands Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
LB Delbert Tyler So. Hampton Monroeville, Pa.
LB Ryan Lewis Sr. Bethune-Cookman Pompano Beach, Fla.
DB Jean Fanor r-Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
DB DeVonte Reynolds r-Sr. Norfolk State Warsaw, Va.
DB Christian Thompson Sr. South Carolina State N. Lauderdale, Fla.
DB Lanny Kelly Sr. Howard Richmond, Calif.
P Jordan Stovall Jr. Hampton Elgin, S.C.
P/K Trevor Scott r-Sr. Florida A&M Jacksonville, Fla.
Ret Geovonie Irvine r-Jr. North Carolina Central Durham, N.C.

Defensive backs and linebackers preview

The strength of this year’s Wildcat squad is the defensive “back seven”.  The Cats return 4 linebackers and 3 defensive backs who started at least 2 games last season.  The top 6 tacklers are all back, 5 of whom are either defensive backs or linebackers.  

Secondary

Terry Williams, who was a great Wildcat DB in his playing days (2ndround draft pick of the NY Jets 1988), has built quite a resume for himself as BCU’s defensive backs coach.  During his tenure at Bethune, Williams has coached Buchanan Award winner and NFL Pro Bowler Rashean Mathis, All-Pro Safety Nick Collins, AP first team All-American and Buchanan Award finalist Bobby Williams, and All-MEAC first team performer Travis Roland.   Thankfully for the Cats the accolades for the secondary extend beyond individual awards.  The Wildcat secondary has held opponents to an under 50% completion rate in 5 of the past 7 seasons and they produce their fair share of turnovers year in and year out.  Last year, ball hawks Arkee Smith and Michael Williams recorded 11 interceptions from the safety position alone.  Smith

BCU's Michael Williams intercepts a pass

has since graduated but the Cats will look to M. Williams for leadership and production in the defensive backfield.   Although he did not start a single game in 2010, M. Williams finished the year with 6 INTs, was fourth on the team in total tackles, and was voted as a first team All-HBCU performer by BoxToRow/BASN. 

Returning starters Aaron Bagsby (FS) and Daniel Rhodes (CB) join M. Williams in the defensive backfield.  Bagsby and Rhodes ended 2010 5th and 6th respectively in total tackles.  DJ Howard started two games in 2010 before suffering a season ending injury.  Howard is a versatile athlete who can play both safety and corner.  3 Star recruit Dion Hanks participated in eight contests as a true freshman and will likely see increased playing time this year.  Jean Fanor, Cincinnati transfer Quincy Quetant, North Carolina Prep signee Marquis Drayton, and incoming true freshman Nick Addison are all likely contributors in this year’s secondary.

The one area of criticism for this group last year is that they did not make enough plays near the line of scrimmage.  The secondary and particularly the safeties will need to do a better job of recognizing and providing support against the outside zone and zone read plays that plagued the Wildcat defense a season ago.     Grade- B

Linebackers

Ryan Lewis (81 tackles, 4 ints, and 5 sacks) and Reggie Sandilands (81 tackles, 1 int, and 3.5 sacks) team up to lead what is arguably the best linebacking corp in all of HBCU football.  Lewis has been named as the preseason MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and a 2nd team All-American by the Sports Network.  Sandilands has received his share of preseason recognition as well being named on the first team All-MEAC defensive squad as well as on several watch list.  Lewis and Sandilands share a rather symbiotic relationship.  Both players are entering their third year as starters for the Wildcats and their height (6-1), weight (220), and playing styles are nearly identical.  Both players even have flowing dreadlocks hanging from their helmets as they chase down opposing running backs.  The superlative duo will be joined by returning starter Rock Angrand and capable backup Jarkevis Fields.  The linebackers possess great closing speed, they do a very nice job of shedding blockers, and they’re very instinctive.  Rutgers transfer Al-Ghaffar Lane will add more speed, athleticism, and depth to this already talented bunch.  There really are no glaring weaknesses amongst this group.   Our grade- A.

‘Cats LB Ryan Lewis named among Top 10 by TSN

Ryan Lewis Named Among Top 10 FCS Linebackers by TSN

The Sports Network has began to look ahead to the upcoming 2011 FCS Football season. After last year’s 10-2 mark highlighted by a playoff appearance, the Wildcats are on everyone’s radar.  The Wildcats return several notable stars from last season. TSN, the top coverage media outlet for FCS football, named their Top Ten FCS Linebackers on Friday, counting B-CU’s Ryan Lewis among them.