August 4, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League football trio of Colgate's Nate Eachus and Lehigh's Mike Groome and Ryan Spadola, who have been recognized by a number of news outlets heading into the 2011 season, have another honor to add to their resumes as they were named to the College Sporting News Football Championship Subdivision Preseason All-America Team.
Eachus, a senior running back was named to the first team, continuing a perfect run with his seventh first-team honor of the preseason. Lehigh senior linebacker Groome was placed on the second-team defense while junior wide receiver Spadola made the third-team offense. The trio was also recognized with preseason All-America honors from Phil Steele's and picked up spots on the 2011 Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America Team.
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, which also named him a first-team All-American. 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 and The Sports Network/Fathead.com, 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 picked up his second preseason third-team selection after earning third-team preseason All-American 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.
College Sporting News also released its 2011 Preseason Top 25 with reigning Patriot League champion Lehigh earning 16th on the list.
This is the Mountain Hawks' fifth mention in the top 25 by a preseason media outlet. Lehigh's top ranking came from Lindy's, where the Mountain Hawks were ranked No. 12. Lehigh took the No. 14 spot in Athlon, No. 16 in Phil Steele's and No. 22 in Sporting News, and also claimed the No. 15 ranking in the AnyGivenSaturday.com fan poll.
The Patriot League Football season kicks off on Sept. 1, with Fordham taking on Connecticut and Holy Cross hosting Massachusetts.