There is no monopoly on the Northeast Conference’s five major individual football awards. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Five different NEC programs are home to a major award recipient this season.
Outright conference champion Duquesne watched its junior linebacker Christian Kuntz secure the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award. He becomes the second Duke to ever hold the honor, joining former All-American Serge Kona (2011).
The NEC Offensive Player of the Year plaque belongs to Bryant senior running back Ricardo McCray, who led the league in all-purpose yards this fall.
The NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year award belongs to a Robert Morris Colonial for the fifth time. Freshman receiver Kyle Buss claimed the honor after ranking amongst the league’s top-five leaders in both receptions and receiving yards.
Central Connecticut defensive lineman Chris Tinkham won the race for the NEC Defensive Rookie of the Year award after averaging more than 1.0 tackle for loss per game this season. Tinkham is the third Blue Devil to earn the honor during the past decade – Lawton Arnold (2009), Anthony Wilson (2005).
Chris Villarrial presided over Saint Francis’ first winning season at the FCS level and became the first Red Flash leader to ever capture the NEC Coach of the Year award as a result. The former NFL offensive lineman brought SFU to within one victory of the conference crown.