Joey Slackman captures the Bushnell Cup and is named Ivy Defensive Player of the Year

On Monday afternoon at the legendary New York Athletic Club for the presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup, co-hosted by the Ivy League and the National Football Foundation (NFF), senior defensive lineman Joey Slackman etched himself further into University of Pennsylvania football history.

Slackman was selected Defensive Player of the Year by the Ivy League, the Quakers’ first honoree since Tyler Drake in 2015.

He won the award over Dartmouth defensive lineman Charles Looes. Yale quarterback Nolan Grooms was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, earning the Bushnell Cup.

“Thank you to the Penn coaching staff for taking a chance on me and believing in me from the beginning,” he stated. “I’m honored not only to be here but also to be a part of this program.” From the beginning of my career to where I am now, I would not be standing here if you hadn’t given me a chance a few years ago.”

Joey Slackman captures the Bushnell Cup and is named Ivy Defensive Player of the Year

Slackman received the conference’s highest defensive distinction just 44 miles west of his hometown of Commack, N.Y., following one of the most dominant defensive seasons in team history.

He led the Ivy League in tackles for loss for most of the season, finishing second by the end. He also had four sacks, four hurries, a pass breakup, and a field goal blocked. Slackman totaled 50 tackles and finished fourth on the team with 23 solo stops. He was chosen first-team All-Ivy as well as Academic All-Ivy for his efforts this season.

Slackman had several standout performances this season, including a season-high 3.5 TFLs against Bucknell on Sept. 23 and an 11-tackle showing against Brown on Oct. 27. Slackman tore his bicep muscle in the third quarter of the Quakers’ three-overtime loss at Harvard on Nov. 11, but he played the rest of the game to force overtime and keep the Crimson at bay as long as possible.

“Joey’s leadership has been unparalleled in my opinion since he joined the program,” stated George A. Munger Head Coach Ray Priore. “It’s the kind of thing you look for in young men who will represent you both on and off the football field.” They are talented, as are many of our children, but do they work hard and develop winning habits? You observe Joey and his thinking, his study of movies in order to be the best he can be. He’ll go down in history as one of the greats that went through this program.”

Notemeal Bushnell Cup

Joey Slackman captures the Bushnell Cup and is named Ivy Defensive Player of the Year
  • Since 1970, the Bushnell Cup has been won by ten Quakers, six of whom have been on defense.
  • Penn’s first Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year honoree since linebacker Tyler Drake in 2015 is Slackman.
  • The award was first given to a defensive lineman since Tom Gilmore in 1985.
  • Ray Priore’s second winner of the Bushnell Cup (Drake, 2015).

The Asa S. Bushnell Cup has been presented yearly since 1970 in memory of its namesake, a 1921 Princeton alumnus who served as commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference from 1938 to 1970. The Bushnell Cup is presented by a vote of the Ivy League’s eight head football coaches to players who exhibit exceptional traits of leadership, competitive spirit, team contribution, and on-field accomplishments.

From 1970 until 2010, the Bushnell Cup was awarded to the Ivy League Player of the Year (or co-Players of the Year if voting was tied). Since the 2010 season, the award has been presented as part of the festivities surrounding the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, with four finalists announced a week before the presentation.

With the 2011 season, the award began recognizing Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, with each receiving the Bushnell Cup. The offensive and defensive finalists are announced, and the Players of the Year are revealed at the presentation.

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