Stud Running Backs Spearhead NEC’s Banner All-America Showing
Two years after AJ Hines became the first-ever Northeast Conference footballer to win a STATS Legacy Award, Duquesne’s highly-decorated running back has teamed up with Wagner’s Ryan Fulse to make more history.
For the first time, both running back slots on the STATS Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America First Team are occupied by Northeast Conference rushers.
Fulse (137.1 ypg) and Hines (120.3), who ranked first and second respectively amongst FCS career rushing leaders active during the 2018 season, led a contingent of six NEC athletes who earned STATS All-America honors.
After averaging 39.1 yards per kick return, Bryant junior Jean Constant joined Hines and Fulse on the STATS All-America First Team.
The three First Team selections are the most ever celebrated by the NEC in the same year.
The 2018 season also marks only the second time ever that the NEC has produced multiple First Team honorees. Linebacker Christian Kuntz (Duquesne) and safety Lorenzo Jerome (Saint Francis) gave the NEC double representation on the First Team Defense in 2016.
Central Connecticut guard J’Von Brown (Offense) and Wagner outside linebacker Cameron Gill (Defense), both juniors, comprise the NEC’s presence on the Second Team in 2018.
Meanwhile, Saint Francis U senior safety Hakeem Kinard, the leader of the NEC’s top-ranked defense, earned a spot on the Third Team.
For the eighth year in a row, the Northeast Conference garnered multiple STATS All-America selections.
The six honorees mark the NEC’s highest single-season total since 2014.
ALL-AMERICA ONE-SENTENCE RESUMES
Ryan Fulse, Wagner (First Team Offense – RB)
The Walter Payton Award candidate, who went over 100 scrimmage yards in nine of 11 games highlighted by a 251-yard day at Montana State, paced the nation in all-purpose yards average (177.36) despite not returning a single kick or punt this season.
AJ Hines, Duquesne (First Team Offense – RB)
The NEC Offensive Player of the Year, who scored at least one touchdown in all nine of Duquesne’s victories, exceeded 200 yards from scrimmage on four different occasions during the regular season stretch run and did so again in a FCS First Round road win over CAA member Towson.
Jean Constant, Bryant (First Team Specialists – KR)
The active FCS career leader in kick return touchdowns (5) averaged a national-best 39.1 yards per run back highlighted by a game-winning 88-yarder at MEAC member Howard in Week 12.
Cam Gill, Wagner (Second Team Defense — LB)
The NEC Defensive Player of the Year, who led the NEC 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.
J’Von Brown, Central Connecticut (Second Team Offense — OL)
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.
Hakeem Kinard, Saint Francis (Third Team Defense – DB)
The highly versatile senior safety, who was amongst the NEC’s top-nine leaders in both passes defensed (11) and tackles-for-loss (9.5), spearheaded an SFU defense that ranked seventh overall in the FCS.