Butler Places Nine Players On PFL Academic Squad

Junior Jayme Szafranski (Photo by Zach Bolinger)

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Nine Butler players, including Academic All-American Jayme Szafranski, have been selected to the 2012 Academic All-Pioneer Football League Team, released by the league office on Wednesday (Dec. 12).  The Bulldogs, who shared the PFL championship in 2012, had the second-highest total of honorees in the league.

Szafranski was one of five Butler players named to the first team.  A finance major from Barrington, Ill., Szafranski finished as Butler's third-leading tackler last season with 81 total tackles.  He ranked fourth in the PFL among defensive backs in tackles and 13th overall.  The junior safety previously had been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team.

Also named first team Academic All-PFL from Butler were running back Trae Heeter, quarterback Matt Lancaster, wide receiver Derek O'Connor and offensive lineman Matt Storey.  Heeter, a science and technology major, led the PFL in rushing in 2012, while Lancaster, a chemistry major, finished second in the conference in total offense.  O'Connor, who majors in chemistry, wound up seventh in the PFL in receptions, while Storey, a mechanical engineering and math major, anchored Butler's offensive line and helped the Bulldogs finish second in the league in total offense.

Butler also had four players named second team Academic All-PFL, including linebacker Jordan Ridley.  A science and technology major, Ridley finished fifth in the PFL in tackles, after leading the conference for two consecutive years.  Also picked to the second team were wide receiver Brendan Shannon, tight end Matt Jenson and kicker Brett Thomaston.  Shannon, who finished third in the PFL in receptions, is a science and technology major, Jenson majors in biology and Thomaston is a criminal justice major.

Six of the honored Butler players also were named to the All-PFL Team a day earlier.  Ridley was named All-PFL for the third consecutive year, and he was joined on the first team by Heeter, Lancaster and Storey.  Shannon was named second team all-league, while Szafranski earned all-league honorable mention.

Dayton led the league with 10 players selected to the Academic All-PFL Team, followed by Butler.  Campbell had eight players named, while Drake and San Diego each had six.