July 22, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - One of the final preseason All-America teams for the Football Championship Subdivision was released on Friday, and there was no surprise who represented the Patriot League as Colgate senior running back Nate Eachus, Lehigh senior linebacker Mike Groome and Lehigh junior wide receiver Ryan Spadola all added yet another preseason honor with a spot on the 2011 Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America Team.
Eachus was named as the first-team running back, continuing a perfect run with his sixth first-team honor of the preseason. Groome was placed on the second-team defense while Spadola made the third-team offense. The trio was just recognized with preseason All-America honors on Wednesday from Phil Steele's.
Eachus continues his run of preseason accolades heading into the fall. He was named as one of 20 preseason candidates for the Walter Payton Award last week by The Sports Network. That distinction came after being ranked as one of the top running backs in the nation by the organization and receiving first-team preseason All-America recognition from outlets including Sporting News, Athlon, Lindy's and Consensus Draft Services as well as Phil Steele's.
Eachus earned consensus first-team FCS All-America honors for his stellar 2010 campaign. The 2010 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, Eachus had one of the best seasons for a running back in school and Patriot League history. He carried 317 times for 1,871 yards and 21 touchdowns for the season, and also caught 17 passes for 160 yards and a score. The 1,871 rushing yards stood third in a single-season in Patriot League history, just four yards behind former teammate Jordan Scott (2007). Eachus averaged 170.1 rushing yards per game, which led the FCS by nearly 25 yards per contest. It was the second-best mark in Patriot League annals, just behind Scott's 170.5 average in 2007.
In addition to previously earning second-team honors from Phil Steele's, Groome had also been named as an honorable mention preseason All-American by Consensus Draft Services and one of the top 10 players at his position by The Sports Network. He led Lehigh with 131 tackles in 2010 and finished with seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception. Groome made the fourth-team defense on Phil Steele's FCS All-America team for his performance last year.
Spadola earns his top honor to date with the third-team selection from The Sports Network/Fathead.com. The standout wide receiver made the fourth team on Phil Steele's list, was chosen as an honorable mention preseason All-American by Consensus Draft Services and named as one of the top 10 returning wide receivers by The Sports Network. Spadola received third-team All-America honors from The Sports Network/Fathead.com in 2010 as he caught 78 passes for 1,130 yards and nine touchdowns. He was Lehigh's first 1,000-yard receiver since Josh Snyder in 2001.
For the full 2011 Sports Network/Fathead.com preseason All-America team, click here.
The Patriot League Football season kicks off on Sept. 1, with the League's presason poll and offensive and defensive players of the year announced at Football Media Day on August 2. The Patriot League is celebrating its 25th Anniversary Football season, with the announcement of the 25th Anniversary Team on Monday.