NEC IN NFL (Post-Preseason Update): Dolegala, Stanford and Senat Secure Coveted Roster Spots

Jacob Dolegala (PHOTO: @Bengals)

Rookie Jacob Dolegala became the first former NEC quarterback to make a NFL team’s post-preseason 53-man roster.

CCSU’s all-time leading passer, who signed as an undrafted free agent following the draft, was one of four quarterbacks kept by the Bengals. It’s rare to see an NFL team carry four quarterbacks, but, the Bengals were clearly worried about the possibility of Dolegala hitting the waiver wire. Earning rave reviews since rookie camp, the rookie signal caller’s preseason production made him an appealing developmental option for a number of teams throughout the league.

Two former Wagner ballers found their way onto 53-man roster as well.

Veteran Julian Stanford, who was a virtual lock to survive cut-down day in Buffalo, is set for his seventh season in the NFL. Entering his second season with the Bills, the former all-NEC linebacker is highly valued on special teams and has owned the second-string reps at middle linebacker behind starter Tremaine Edmunds. Stanford saw time backing up Edmunds last year and it appears as if Buffalo’s coaching staff is comfortable with him there.

Former Wagner offensive tackle Greg Senat, a 2018 sixth round draft pick, snagged a spot on the Baltimore Ravens’ 53-man roster following a preseason battle. Senat, who possesses exciting athleticism at the position, spent his entire rookie year on Injured Reserve after sustaining an injury in a preseason game.

Five NEC alumni were not as fortunate as the aforementioned three.

Former all-NEC defensive backs Jermaine Ponder (Saint Francis) and Marcelis Branch (Robert Morris) were released and will hit the waiver wire. Both Ponder (Texans) and Branch (Steelers) came up with interceptions during their teams’ preseason finales. Ponder played in preseason games with three different NFL teams (Browns, Steelers, Texans) this summer. Branch had spent time on the Falcons’ practice squad before signing a futures/reserve contract with Pittsburgh this past winter.

Christian Kuntz, a former two-time NEC Defensive Player of the Year at Duquesne, joined Branch on the Steelers’ cut list. Kuntz, who doubles as a long snapper, signed with Pittsburgh after being released by the Jaguars in June.

Bryant alumni Tom Kennedy (Lions) and Thomas Costigan (Chargers) were both placed on waivers Saturday.

Costigan signed with the Chargers on August 12 after participating in the organization’s spring rookie camp.

Showing up in the Lions’ preseason finale, Kennedy caught two of four targets for 24 receiving yards and logged four punt returns. He averaged 14.0 yards per runback with a long of 28. He totaled five rceptions for 76 yards during the NFL Preseason.

Ponder, Kennedy, Kuntz, Costigan and Branch can all be claimed by another NFL team (and subsequently placed on the 53-man roster) and all have practice squad eligibility.


Jacob Dolegala (Central Connecticut)Bengals’ 53-man Roster


Julian Stanford (Wagner) – Bills’ 53-man Roster


Greg Senat (Wagner) – Ravens’ 53-man Roster


Marcelis Branch (Robert Morris) – Released by Steelers


Jermaine Ponder (Saint Francis) – Released by Texans


Christian Kuntz (Duquesne) – Released by Steelers



Tom Kennedy (Bryant) – Released by Lions



Thomas Costigan (Bryant) – Released by Chargers

Women’s Field Hockey Returns to the NEC


It’s a fresh start, but it’s not exactly new to the Northeast Conference.

The NEC crowned a field hockey champion every year from 1998 through 2012.

Now, following a seven-year hiatus, field hockey has returned to the NEC as a championship sport.

With NEC core member Wagner establishing a new program, the idea of taking field hockey back under the NEC umbrella was a no-brainer for Commissioner Noreen Morris.

“We had been in talks with the schools for some time, but we would only consider it if we had more core members sponsoring the sport,” said Morris.  “With Wagner adding the program, now is the right time.” 

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Dini’s MLB Debut Highlights Sizzling Summer for NEC Baseball Alumni

When Jon Heyman tweets your name, you’re kind of a big deal, in the baseball world, at least.

Former Wagner backstop Nick Dini, who has been working his way up the Royals’ farm system since being selected in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, received his first call-up to the major leagues and Heyman took to Twitter to spread the news.


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Trio of Top Selections Highlight #NECFB Representation on STATS Preseason All-America Teams

It’s a special start to the season for six Northeast Conference football seniors.

Headlined by a trio of First Team selections, the NEC found itself with a sextet of representatives when STATS Inc unveiled its FCS All-America Teams On Tuesday.

Duquesne’s AJ Hines, who will take aim at a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, earned one of two running back slots on the All-America First Team.

After snagging All-America Second Team accolades following the 2018 campaign, Central Connecticut guard J’Von Brown and Wagner linebacker Cam Gill garnered First Team recognition heading into the 2019 season.

Saint Francis punt returner Nick Rinella landed on the Preseason All-America Second Team while Saint Francis linebacker Da’Jon Lee and Sacred Heart running back Jordan Meachum earned Third Team plaudits.



AJ Hines, RB (Duquesne) – First Team

The 2016 STATS Jerry Rice Award winner continued his march toward NEC immortality last fall, piling up more than 200 scrimmage yards in four regular season wins as well as a FCS playoff victory over CAA member Towson.


J’Von Brown, OG (Central Connecticut) – First Team

The 350-pounder protected the NEC’s least-sacked quarterback and started all 11 games at Left Guard for conference’s top-ranked offense, which averaged 6.8 yards per play and 5.9 yards per rush.


Cam Gill, LB (Wagner) – First Team

The NEC Defensive Player of the Year, who led the circuit with 13.5 sacks, made the second-most tackle-for-loss (24.0) in the FCS and logged at least 2.0 hits behind the line of scrimmage in seven different games including visits to Montana State and ACC member Syracuse.


Nick Rinella, PR (Saint Francis) – Second Team

The all-NEC safety proved dangerous on punt return, scoring two touchdowns and accounting for the second-highest average (12.3 ypr) amongst FCS leaders with at least 20 attempts.


Jordan Meachum, RB (Sacred Heart) – Third Team

Emerging as his team’s primary ball carrier, the veteran pieced together a breakout 2018 campaign that featured the fourth-highest rushing average (126.9 ypg) in the FCS and 11 touchdowns in 11 games.


Da’Jon Lee, LB (Saint Francis) – Third Team

The edge-rushing linebacker led the FCS with six forced fumbles and logged at least 1.0 TFL in 10 of 11 games, including a combined 6.0 TFL over two games against CAA teams (Richmond, Albany).

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