Three Patriot League football student-athletes were selected to the 2018 STATS FCS Preseason All-America squad when it was announced on Tuesday. Lehigh senior running back Dominick Bragalone and Bucknell senior punter Alex Pechin were selected to the first-team, while Colgate junior defensive lineman Nick Wheeler was named to the third-team.
Lehigh senior running back
, a consensus first team All-American a season ago, picks up his second major preseason All-America award, having been recognized by HERO Sports in June. He was also named the Patriot League’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year last week.
Bragalone enters his senior season off a 2017 campaign in which he led the FCS in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns and scoring. He finished seventh in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in the FCS.
In 11 games, Bragalone rushed for 1,388 yards, the second-highest single-season total in school history, and 18 touchdowns, while adding four more receiving touchdowns. Bragalone was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and was a consensus first team All-American. He rushed for more than 100 yards in each of Lehigh’s final seven regular season games, including a pair of 200-yard efforts.
Bragalone enters his senior season with 3,567 career rushing yards and 39 rushing touchdowns. He is 129 yards shy of Lehigh’s career rushing record, held by Rabih Abdullah ’97 and three rushing touchdowns short of the school mark held by Rod Gardner ’77. Bragalone also stands just 36 points shy of Lehigh’s career scoring record (306) held by Erick Torain ’91.
For More Information on Dom Bragalone Read the Lehigh Football Release
Pechin, a 2017 STATS Third Team All-American and two-time All-Patriot League First Team honoree, enters his senior year as Bucknell’s record holder with a 43.3 career punting average. In 2017 as a junior, he posted a punting average of 45.1, which was good for third in the NCAA FCS ranks and shattered his previous single-season school record by three yards.
Of Pechin’s 72 punts, tied for the second-highest total in school history, 26 sailed for at least 50 yards, 34 fell inside the 20 and 22 went for fair catches. In the 2017 finale at Fordham, he averaged a career-high 50.9 yards per punt. That average was bolstered by three punts of at least 60 yards, including the sixth- (67) and ninth- (64) longest punts in school history.
At the conclusion of the 2017 campaign, Pechin was also recognized for his excellent work in the classroom. The Biomedical Engineering/Management for Engineers major was honored as the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was a finalist for STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award and was named to the Academic All-Patriot League and FCS ADA Academic All-Star Teams.