Big East announces postseason awards

Dion Lewis is the Big East's offensive player of the year, while Pitt teammates Greg Romeus and Mick Williams shared the defensive player of the year award in voting by the league's head coaches. It's the first time two teammates have ever shared that honor.

Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard repeated as the league's special teams player of the year, while Brian Kelly made it a three-peat on coach of the year honors.

Lewis, who rushed for nearly 1,700 yards, also was named the Big East rookie of the year. He's the first to win both offensive and rookie awards since Virginia Tech's Michael Vick.

The league also announced its postseason first and second All-Big East teams and made the late Jasper Howard an honorary captain. The UConn cornerback was stabbed to death hours after the Huskies' Oct. 17 win over Louisville.

"We regard the Big East Conference as the biggest family in collegiate athletics,” commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. “As a family, we wanted to respectfully remember Jasper Howard and honor his memory."

When I revealed my own awards on Tuesday, I chose Williams as the defensive player of the year but noted how close it was between him and Romeus. Obviously, the coaches couldn't decide.

Here's the complete list of all the award winners and the first- and second-team selections. There are a few differences between the official Big East team and my choices for the ESPN.com All-Big East team. Because the league simply awards extra spots when there are ties, both Bill Stull and Tony Pike are officially first-teamers at quarterback. Anthony Davis made the league first team but not mine at offensive tackle; while Davis is clearly the most naturally gifted lineman in the league, there's no way he was consistent or productive enough this season to earn that distinction.

The coaches also chose Cincinnati's Chris Jurek at center, while I had UConn's Moe Petrus. Either one is a fine choice.

On defense, the official team has five defensive linemen, four linebackers and three cornerbacks, plus two safeties. Well, you could definitely stop some offenses with that kind of lineup. I think it's time the league institute some tiebreaker rules, because in an eight-team league, that's completely ridiculous.

Anyway, one of the main differences in the league's team and my own is the coaches voted for West Virginia's Robert Sands at safety over my pick, South Florida's Nate Allen. I have no beef with that, since I wrestled with that choice for a long time.

Most people would have picked two-time All-American defensive end George Selvie as the preseason defensive player of the year. The South Florida senior only made the league's second team, however.