Dayton’s Trautman, Stetson’s Duncan Highlight 2019 PFL Major Award Recipients

Monday, December 2, 2019
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – For the first time in the history of the Pioneer Football League, a tight end has earned the league’s Offensive Player of the Year with Dayton senior tight end earning the 2019 honor. Moreover, for the fourth time in the last six seasons, a Stetson student-athlete has been named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year with redshirt senior defensive back Colby Duncan earning that award this season. That pair highlight the league’s 2019 Major Award recipients, presented Monday.

Redshirt junior punter Tanner Kuljian and head coach Dale Lindsey represented 2019 PFL regular-season champion San Diego, receiving the PFL’s Special Teams Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.

There was a definite Florida flavor to the league’s top freshman awards this season. Stetson running back runner Jaylen Leary earned the league’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year award, becoming the first Hatter to win the rookie offensive award. Jacksonville linebacker Ethan Hull was the league’s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the second Dolphin to earn that award.

These honors launch the PFL’s annual awards week. The PFL will announce its 27th All-PFL Teams, Tuesday. The league will announce its Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Wednesday, coinciding with the announcement of the 27th Academic All-PFL teams. 

Trautman, a senior from Williamsburg, Michigan, was the FCS’s top-rated tight end in receiving touchdowns (14), receptions (6.4 per game), receiving yards (916), and scoring (7.8 points per game). He ranked among the FCS’s Top 50 in each of those categories, including third in the nation in receiving touchdowns. The 6-6, 230-pound Flyer also ranked first or second in each of the receiver categories. It is the seventh time a Dayton student-athlete has been named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and the first time since Connor Kascor earned the award in 2014.

Duncan, a redshirt senior from Jacksonville, Florida, finished the PFL campaign with 79 tackles (9.9 per game), ranking third among all defenders. He also had 6.0 tackles for loss in league play and was ranked among the Top 10 during conference play. For the season, Duncan ranked 37th among all FCS tacklers with 8.9 tackles per game (second in the PFL). He joins three-time PFL Defensive Player of the Year honoree Donald Payne as the only Stetson student-athletes recognized as the league’s top defensive player.

Kuljian, a redshirt junior from Temecula, California, was the league’s second-ranked punter over the entire season, averaging 40.4 yards per punt on 31 attempts in 11 regular-season contests, including six punts of 50-plus yards. In PFL play, he boasted a league-best 40.6 yard-per-punt mark over 22 kicks. It is the second consecutive year a member of the Toreros special teams unit has earned the PFL’s top special teams award.

Leary, a freshman from Savannah, Georgia, finished 2019 with 1,013 rushing yards (92.1 per game) and seven touchdowns, ranking among the league’s Top 5 and the FCS’s Top 30 in all three categories. He posted 818 rushing yards and five touchdowns in PFL play, averaging 102.2 yards per game. He had a 220-yard performance against Dayton and three other 100-yard rushing outings during the season.

Hull, a redshirt freshman from Crestwood, Kentucky, posted 84 tackles (7.0 per game) and 7.5 tackles for loss in his first PFL campaign. He led all freshman defenders in tackles this season and was ninth among all PFL tacklers. Hull finished the eight-game league slate with 52 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. He is the second Jacksonville athlete to earn the Freshman Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Mike Klein (2010).

Lindsey earns his third Coach of the Year award, the 2019 honor joining his 2014 and 2016 awards. He led San Diego to its fourth consecutive perfect 8-0 league mark and its sixth-straight PFL title (five of those outright). Lindsey finished the season with a 53-3 career PFL mark, becoming the fourth coach in league history to record 50 career PFL victories. 

2019 Pioneer Football League Major Award Winners

Offensive Player of the Year: Adam Trautman, Dayton

Defensive Player of the Year: Colby Duncan, Stetson

Special Teams Player of the Year: Tanner Kuljian, San Diego

Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Jalen Leary, Stetson

Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Ethan Hull, Jacksonville

Coach of the Year: Dale Lindsey, San Diego

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: To be announced, Wednesday