#PollWeek Winds Down As Fall Season Fires Up

The Northeast Conference published one preseason poll per day last week.

Here’s a sport-by-sport look at How They Stand heading into the 2018 fall sports seasons…

 

NEC WOMEN’S SOCCER

2017 #necwsoc champion: Saint Francis U

2018 #necwsoc preseason favorite: Saint Francis U

 

NEC MEN’S SOCCER

2017 #necmsoc champion: St. Francis Brooklyn

2018 #necmsoc preseason favorite: St. Francis Brooklyn

 

NEC VOLLEYBALL

2017 #necvb champion: LIU Brooklyn

2018 #necvb preseason favorite: LIU Brooklyn

 

NEC MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

2017 #necxc men’s champion: Central Connecticut

2018 #necxc men’s preseason favorite: Central Connecticut

 

NEC WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

2017 #necxc women’s champion: Sacred Heart

2018 #necxc women’s preseason favorite: Sacred Heart

NFL Preseason Update on #NECFB Alumni (Mid-August)

SeattleTimes.com: Seattle safety Lorenzo Jerome (40) practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. Friday, August 3, 2018.

 

Six Northeast Conference alumni are battling in NFL training camps across the country.

All six men participated in Preseason Week 1 games.

With the help of Twitter, we have provided updates below…

 

JULIAN STANFORD (WAG), Buffalo Bills

Hoping to make a NFL 53-man roster for a sixth season, Stanford was signed to a free agent contract this past offseason. He’s had a role on all of Buffalo’s special teams units and also saw time at linebacker during the preseason opener against Carolina.

With the Bills preparing for their second preseason game against Cleveland, Stanford turned some heads by picking off Nate Peterman in practice.

 

 

MATT DIAZ (WAG), Tennessee Titans

The all-NEC left tackle signed an UDFA contract with the Titans in May. He saw time protecting the quarterback’s blindside in Tennessee’s first preseason contest. Wearing No. 75, he helped pave the way for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

 

LARSON GRAHAM (DUQ), Pittsburgh Steelers

Follow his senior season (2016) at Duquesne, the all-NEC offensive tackle signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent. The Falcons released Graham prior to the start of the 2017 NFL regular season. This past spring, Graham finally landed on his feet with the Steelers. The former tackle initially slid over to guard before earning practice snaps at center, too.

 

 

GREG SENAT (WAG), Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens’ 6th Round draft pick missed the Hall of Fame Game due to injury, but returned to practice in time for Baltimore’s second preseason tilt. He saw plenty of first-half reps at left tackle during a 33-7 win over the Rams.

 

LORENZO JEROME (SFU), Seattle Seahawks

The four-time all-NEC first team safety dazzled at two major pre-draft All-Star Games in 2017 before signed an UDFA deal with San Francisco. He made the opening day 53-man roster and played in four games, but was released in Week 5. Earlier this summer, Jerome received an opportunity from Seattle and has impressed during his short time there.

 

MARCELIS BRANCH (RMU), Atlanta Falcons

After closing out his Robert Morris career in 2016, Branch signed with Atlanta after not being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent the entirety of his rookie season on the Falcons’ practice squad and has been taking reps as a third-string safety during 2018 training camp.

 

Saint Francis’ Former Stud Safety Lands in NFC West Again

It was a nearly a 10-month wait, but former all-NEC safety Lorenzo Jerome has a second opportunity in the National Football League.

The Saint Francis U alumnus, who earned All-America honors as a defensive back and kick returner at different points during his collegiate career, has signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

Jerome, who went undrafted despite excelling in two pre-draft All-Star Games, originally inked a rookie deal with the San Francisco 49ers during Spring 2017. He proceeded to earn a spot on the team’s opening day 53-man roster and appear in four games before being released following Week 5 of the regular season.

He subsequently participated in workouts with a number of NFL teams, but remained unsigned until the Seahawks officially added him to their 90-man training camp roster on July 30.

Jerome was the first-ever defensive back in Northeast Conference history to earn four consecutive all-NEC first team honors.

After making 18 career interceptions for Saint Francis, Jerome picked off two passes en-route to winning the MVP award at the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. One week later, he caused three turnovers in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

 

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#NECFB Quintet Garners Preseason All-America Honors from STATS

 

 

All five men ranked amongst the national statistical leaders in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision last season and all five have received a Preseason All-America distinction from STATS as the start of the 2018 campaign nears.

Saint Francis senior receiver Kamron Lewis, the 2016 NEC Offensive Player of the Year, accounts for the conference’s representation on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Second Team Offense. After setting the league’s single-season receiving record with 1,478 yards as a sophomore, Lewis caught 65 passes for 909 yards in 10 games last fall. His 6.5 receptions per contest placed the California product in the No. 14 spot on the FCS leader board.

Reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year Thomas Costigan earned a spot on the Second Team Defense. Bryant’s senior linebacker led the circuit with 11.5 sacks last season, a number that tied him for third place overall in the FCS. His 17.0 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles were also league highs.

Bryant junior Jean Constant joined Costigan on the STATS FCS All-America Second Team, occupying a special teams slot as a kick returner. The speedy receiver, who made 48 receptions as a sophomore, logged at least 100 kick return yards on five separate occasions in 2017. His 27.5 yards per kickoff return represented the highest average amongst all FCS players who logged at least 25 returns. Constant, who totaled a program-record 989 KOR yards, returned two kickoffs to paydirt and also scored seven touchdowns receiving.

Duquesne placed a pair of accomplished skill position players – WR Nehari Crawford and RB AJ Hines — on the STATS FCS All-American Third Team Offense.

Averaging 15.8 yards per catch, Crawford broke the 1,000-yard receiving barrier last season. The elusive veteran totaled a league-leading 1,026 receiving yards to go along with 15 touchdown grabs, the most by any FCS receiver during the 2017 regular season.

Duquesne, which featured the conference’s top-ranked offense, again benefitted from bell cow running back AJ Hines. After winning the 2016 STATS Jerry Rice Award as the nation’s best freshman player, Hines fought through injury to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark again in 2017. In nine games, the bruising ball carrier rushed 182 times for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns.

AJ Hines (left) poses with Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice at the 2016 STATS FCS Legacy Awards banquet.

 

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