Duquesne QB Buechel Adds Name to #NECinNFL List, Joins WR Capers at Steelers’ Camp

The Northeast Conference’s all-time leading passer didn’t have to travel far for NFL rookie mini camp.

Duquesne’s Dillon Buechel had a chance to show off his skills in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ brass.  After playing his collegiate home games at Rooney Field on The Bluff, the all-NEC quarterback attended Steelers’ rookie minicamp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Buechel’s top target from the 2016 season was also present for the three-day camp, which began on May 12. All-NEC receiver Wayne Capers, Jr., who totaled 948 yards and nine touchdowns on 50 receptions as a senior, accepted an invitation shortly after the 2017 NFL Draft ended.

Buechel and Capers are two of four Duquesne graduates to earn a NFL rookie mini camp invitation this spring.  Offensive lineman Larson Graham (Atlanta Falcons) and All-American linebacker Christian Kuntz (Tampa Bay Bucs) are the others.

Rookie minicamp roster is announced – Steelers.com

fb 17 steelers mini roster

 

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Men’s Lacrosse Fans Shatter NEC Front Row Viewership Record

It was a great night all-around in Smithfield.

Hosting a NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Play-In Game for the second time, Bryant out-classed MAAC champion Monmouth to advance into the main championship draw.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed in the 10-7 triumph, which was seen by a RECORD number of viewers via NEC Front Row.

Shattering the previous single-game event record for the NEC’s digital network, the Bryant vs. Monmouth game drew 8,143 unique visitors to the site.

Interestingly enough, the old mark was set by lacrosse fans, too.

In 2014, Bryant welcomed MAAC member Siena to Smithfield for a NCAA Play-In contest. The Bulldogs posted a 9-8 victory as the game attracted what was then the highest number of viewers in Front Row history, a mark that reigned atop the record book until this past Wednesday night.

Maybe, the NEC and MAAC men’s lacrosse champions should meet more often. The fans seem to love it.

A Look At The #NECelite from the 2017 Softball Season

A perfect 16-0 regular season conference record resulted in a heavy Red Flash presence on the All-NEC Softball honors list.

Saint Francis U, which is in search of its first NEC Tournament title, secured four of the six major NEC awards and placed a league-high nine players on the all-conference squads.

Check out the big winners in the Northeast Conference’s postseason softball awards programs…

 

Complete #NECelite List

NEC-related Rumblings from NFL Rookie Mini Camps

Najee Harris answers a question during the live program at 2016 #NECFB Social Media Day – MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)

The first wave of NFL rookie mini camps unfolded this past weekend and there was some good news for a pair of NEC alumni.

Wagner’s Najee Harris, who was a captain during the 2016 season, entered the Oakland Raiders’ mini camp on a tryout basis and left with a three-year NFL free agent contract.

Harris was active in the Seahawks’ linebacking corps this past fall, recording 44 tackles (30 solo). The 6-foot-2 225-pounder logged 4.5 hits for a loss as well as four quarterback hurries. The versatile Harris was credited with five pass break-ups last season and his lone interception came in a victory over NEC champion Saint Francis U.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Bay, Saint Francis U alumnus Lorenzo Jerome was busy doing work at the San Francisco 49ers’ rookie mini camp. The four-time all-NEC first team safety signed a UDFA contract only hours after the completion of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jerome went undrafted despite receiving rave reviews from analysts such as the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock and ESPN’s Todd McShay. The positive comments were warranted considering that Jerome made 18 interceptions during a collegiate career that included All-America honors at two different positions (DB, KR).

Jerome was responsible for three takeaways (2 INT, FF) in the Reese’s Senior Bowl in April, only one week after earning the MVP Award at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The 5-foot-11 native Floridian apparently continued such behavior with the 49ers this past weekend. Jerome reportedly made a highlight-reel worthy interception during 11-on-11 drills. He also became the subject of a story written by Sacramento Bee reporter Matt Barrows.

 

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Three Undrafted NEC Footballers Who Played Multiple NFL Seasons and Some

They are responsible for some of the longest-tenured NFL careers in Northeast Conference history and none of the three men were drafted.

Robert Morris offensive lineman Hank Fraley was the first, going undrafted in 2000 after garnering three consecutive all-NEC first team selections. When his playing career was finally over, he had made 142 appearances (123 starts) during NFL regular season games and was the Eagles’ starting center in Super Bowl XXXIX. Fraley is currently pursuing a career in coaching. After serving as an offensive line assistant with the Minnesota Vikings, he signed on with Pac-12 member UCLA this past winter.

Monmouth’s Miles Austin was also a three-time all-NEC first teamer, but he, too, did not hear his name called on Draft Day in 2006.  The explosive wideout, who averaged more than 20.0 yards per catch during the 2005 season, signed on with the Dallas Cowboys and made his initial impression by returning kicks. By 2010, Austin was a two-time Pro Bowler. He posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2009 and 2010. He played 129 career games, second all-time for a NEC alumnus behind Fraley.

Then, there’s Wagner alumnus Julian Stanford, who has been an active member of the 53-man roster for three different NFL teams. The Nutmeg State product was an all-NEC first teamer in 2011, but had to settle for an undrafted free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the Spring of 2012. Stanford made the Jags’ 53-man roster out of training camp and proceeded to start six games as a rookie. After eventually moving on to stints with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Bucs, Stanford is back in the New York Metropolitan area. He played in nine games for the New York Jets during the 2016 campaign, including three starts in place of the injured Darron Lee. He made 28 tackles before his season ended with a trip to the injured reserve list (ankle).

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