In just his second season in the NFL, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has achieved a high honor for a defensive player. As reported by NFL.com on Feb. 2, Kuechly was announced as the 2013 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.
Kuechly, who played his college football at Boston College, was chosen for his all-around play at middle linebacker. He added a tremendous run-stopping ability to the Panthers defense as well as versatility in his ability to provide pass coverage as well.
One of he highlights of the 2013 season for Kuechly was his 24 tackles in a Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints. The one game stood out, but it was his overall performance throughout the season that earned him just enough votes to beat out Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis.
Luke Kuechly beat out Mathis by just 1.5 votes and was honored to add the award to the top defensive rookie honor he achieved last year. The honor caught him by surprise.
“I had no idea. You look at the list of guys: Robert Mathis, a sack master, a guy that forced a lot of fumbles. And obviously, everybody knows about Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Those guys are both studs.”
Kuechly led a Carolina Panthers defense that ranked second behind the Seattle Seahawks in points allowed with 241. The team also improved their record from 7-9 to 12-4.
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