08/06/2012 5:32 PM
CHICAGO – The Arena Football League Office announced today that San Jose SaberCats DL JOE SYKES has been named The Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year and Arizona Rattlers OL KYLE YOUNG has been named The Spalding Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Sykes (6-5, 280, Southern) had one of his most impressive statistical seasons as an Arena Football defensive lineman. The second-year man recorded an AFL single-season record for sacks in a season with 16.0, breaking the previous record of 15.5 set in 2010 by SaberCats teammate Gabe Nyenhuis.
Sykes, No. 17 on the AFL’s Top 25 Players of 2012, finished the season with 33.0 total tackles, five forced fumbles, recovered two more and had an interception return for a touchdown. He also returned a blocked field goal for another score. He was awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording a single-game franchise record four sacks against the Iowa Barnstormers. Sykes later earned the award again in Week 14 by recording 2.5 sacks and a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Orlando Predators.
Young (6-6, 320, Fresno State) is a part of one of the best offensive lines in the AFL, only allowing nine sacks on the season, which is second best in the League for Arizona. He was named First-Team All-Arena in both 2010 and 2012.
Young started every game this season and consistently played at a high level. His blocking contributed to Arizona ranking third in the League in passing offense with 312 yards per game and fourth in scoring offense with 62.1. He and the Rattlers won the West Division title and helped quarterback Nick Davila earn Second-Team All-Arena as well. This was due in large part to the stellar protection on Young.
AVITAE ArenaBowl XXV, featuring the Philadelphia Soul and Arizona Rattlers, will be played at the New Orleans Arena on Friday, August 10 at 10:30 p.m. ET.