The honors keep rolling in for San Jose SaberCats defensive lineman Joe Sykes after his masterful 2012 season in the Arena Football League. At its Silver Anniversary Gala Event on Aug. 9, the league announced Sykes as the recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year honor.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman out of Southern set a new AFL record with 16 sacks this year, surpassing teammate Gabe Nyenhuis' previous mark of 15.5 when Nyenhuis suited up for the Tulsa Talons in 2010. Sykes set a franchise record with four sacks in a single game against the Iowa Barnstormers.
He was twice named Defensive Player of the Week during the season--once after the Barnstormers game, and again after a game against the Orlando Predators in which he recorded 2.5 sacks and a 43-yard interceptions return for a touchdown.
Sykes also recorded 33 tackles, including a league-leading 18 for a loss, forced five fumbles, recovered two fumbles, and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown on top of his pick-six.
In addition to this honor, Sykes has also been named the league's Defensive Lineman of the Year, and he earned first team All-Arena honors.
The SaberCats finished 2012 with a 12-6 record and a trip to the playoffs.
The author is currently in New Orleans for ArenaBowl XXV. He is a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and holds media credentials with the Arena Football League. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.