PRESEASON #NECFB FACT SHEET
♦ All seven NEC members placed at least one representative on the 2016 Preseason All-NEC Team. Duquesne and Saint Francis, the two teams who clashed in last year’s defacto NEC title game, garnered a league-high six selections apiece.
♦ Saint Francis kicker Lance Geesey (45) needs to make two more field goals to become the conference’s all-time FGM leader. Duquesne’s Austin Crimmins (44), who is only one make off the pace, is a threat to leapfrog Geesey.
♦ Wagner will face a FBS opponent for the fifth consecutive season. The Seahawks visit ACC member Boston College (Sept. 24) and FBS Independent Massachusetts (Oct. 29), making a pair of appearances against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision for the second consecutive season. Wagner visited Rice and BYU during the 2015 campaign.
BACK IN THE BOOTH
New York Giants’ radio personality Paul Dottino (play-by-play) and former two-time Super Bowl champion Kevin Gilbride (color) will comprise the ‘A Team’ for NEC Football on ESPN3 this season.
The two talking heads seemed pretty stoked for the season as they sat down to chat about #NECFB…
MAJOR AWARDS CANDIDATES
STATS Inc, a leader in NCAA Division I FCS coverage, unveiled its official preseason Watch Lists for the National Player of the Year awards. Three NEC footballers made the cut.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
RJ NOEL (Sacred Heart)
This is the year of the quarterback in the Northeast Conference, but Noel has had a head start. He’s been named the All-NEC quarterback in each of his first three seasons. He also won the conference’s rookie of the year award in 2013. … A New Englander through and through, Noel helped Sacred Heart win conference titles and reach the FCS playoffs in both 2013 and ’14. … He has thrown for 7,111 career yards. As a junior, he threw for 2,431 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding another six scores on the ground. … While playing with a composed demeanor, Noel is a mobile quarterback who looks to exploit matchups with his receivers. (STATS Inc)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CHRISTIAN KUNTZ (Duquesne)
After missing the 2014 campaign with ACL and meniscus tears, Kuntz returned to the Duquesne lineup as an unstoppable playmaker, leading the Dukes to the Northeast Conference title and earning STATS FCS All-America first-team honors. … The NEC defensive player of the year’s ability to rush the quarterback or drop back in coverage reflected as a junior, when he racked up 26 tackles for loss and 11 sacks among his 72 tackles with four interceptions, six pass breakups, six quarterbacks hurries, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. … Led the FCS in tackles for loss (1.8 per game) in 2013 while earning All-NEC first-team and All-America third-team honors. … Hometown product of Pittsburgh. (STATS Inc)
JAMES RENTZ (Sacred Heart)
Two-time Northeast Conference first-team selection reacts well at the snap of the ball and has power and speed in and around the box. A move from middle to outside linebacker aided him in using his strengths … Helped Sacred Heart to a second straight NEC title in 2014 and has led the Pioneers in sacks in back-to-back seasons. … Blocked two field goals when Sacred Heart beat Bryant to clinch the 2014 NEC title. … Sacred Heart defensive coordinator Dave Wissman lauds Rentz as much for his ability to be coached as for his playmaking skills. … Won a Florida state weight lifting title while in high school. (STATS Inc)