Preseason Projections Revealed during #NECFB Summertime Celebration at MetLife Stadium


The MetLife Stadium operations team was in full concert mode with Guns N Roses shows slated for the weekend.

But football was still in the air at the Home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.

Hinting that another football season is on the horizon, the Northeast Conference hosted its second annual #NECFB Social Media Day in the field-level Coaches Club at MetLife.

The Division I FCS conference welcomed current coaches and players along with selected alumni to the Garden State for a preseason pigskin celebration. In addition to a sponsor summit and VIP Luncheon, the NEC produced a live season preview program that was carried by ESPN3 and unveiled the results to the preseason coaches’ poll.


#NECFB Social Media Day Preseason Poll Reveal (VIDEO)



The Results of the Coaches’ Vote…

2016 #NECFB Social Media Day Player Lineup


The following athletes will represent their teams during the second annual #NECFB Social Media Day event at MetLife Stadium.

The preseason festivities kick off at 11:00 am ET on July 21 and can be seen live via NEC Front Row and ESPN3.

DB – Chuckie Wingate (Sr., 5-9, 160)
                – 29 career appearances (6 INT, 16 PBU)
                – Selected a team captain for second straight year
LB – Marquise Watson (Sr., 6-0, 250)
                – Played in 33 of 34 possible games (injury cost him one game in 2015)
                – One of four team captains for second year in a row
LB – Randall Laguerre (Jr., 6-2, 230)
                – All-NEC Second Team as sophomore
                – 8.4 tackles/gm in 2015 (3rd in NEC)
                – 14.0 TFL in 19 career appearances
DB – Najae Brown (Jr., 6-0, 190)
                – All-NEC Second Team as sophomore
                – Made at least 6 tackles in all 11 games last year
                – team-high 3 INT in 2015
QB – Dillon Buechel (Sr., 6-4, 200)
                – Ranked Preseason Top 10 FCS QB by Athlon Sports
                – Fourth all-time leading passer in NEC history (7,455 yds)
                – 6 TD passes in FCS playoffs vs. William & Mary
LB – Christian Kuntz (Sr., 6-1, 220)
                – 2015 FCS ADA National Linebacker of the Year
                – 26.0 TFL led all DI FCS players in 2015
                – Two-time STATS FCS All-American
                – League-leading 4 INT last season
OL – Blake Chambliss (Jr., 6-5, 300)
                 – 19 career starts on left side
                 – Has played guard and tackle
DB – Andy Smigiera (Sr., 6-1, 205)
                 – started every game last two seasons at safety
                 – All-NEC Second Team in 2015
                 – FCS ADA Academic All-Star
RB – Ose Imeokparia (Jr., 5-10, 180)
                – played in all 11 games last year
                – 833 yards from scrimmage in 2015
DL – Ryan Cottrell (Sr., 6-4, 260)
                – All-NEC Second Team in 2015
                – played in 23 consecutive games
PK – Lance Geesey (Sr., 5-10, 180)
                – 2015 FCS ADA National Placekicker of the Year
                – 16-for-17 on FG attempts last season
                – 45 career FG, one shy of NEC record
DB – Lorenzo Jerome (Sr., 6-0, 195)
                – STATS FCS All-American
                – 12 career INT (4th amongst active FCS leaders)
                – No. 1 kick returner in FCS (31.2 ypr)
TE – Ryan Owens (Sr., 6-4, 235)
                – All-NEC Second Team in 2015
                – Led Wagner in receptions and receiving yards
                – 2016 co-captain
LB – Najee Harris (Sr., 6-1, 225)
                – Made 11 starts in 2015
                – Team-leading 10.0 TFL
                – 2016 co-captain

Year of the Pioneer?

SHU President John Petillo (left) and Deputy AD Brad Hurlbut (right) accept the Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup

SHU President John Petillo and Deputy AD Brad Hurlbut accept the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup

All 10 Northeast Conference core members strive for greatness in both athletic competition and academic achievement. Rarely, however, does one particular athletic department finish first in both conference-wide races.

This year, the Sacred Heart Pioneers are that rarity.

The Pioneers re-claimed the NEC Commissioner’s Cup and proceeded to add the NEC Institutional Academic Award to the Pitt Center’s trophy case.

Sacred Heart, which won the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup for five straight years from 2007-12, racked up 210.68 points over the course of the 2015-16 academic year to end Bryant’s two-year reign as Cup champion. The Bulldogs finished second with 196.48 points, followed by Saint Francis U in third place with 190.21 points.

Sacred Heart won four NEC championships, including its second straight “Triple Crown” of women’s cross country, women’s indoor and women’s outdoor track and field. The Pioneers also captured the NEC women’s bowling title. SHU won NEC regular season championships in women’s basketball and women’s bowling, and finished in the top-three of the NEC regular season standings in five different round-robin sports (baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling and football).

In the classroom, Sacred Heart student-athletes posted a combined 3.331 grade point average to set a conference record. The Pioneers edged out Saint Francis U (3.289), Robert Morris (3.270) and LIU Brooklyn (3.269) to claim the coveted academic honor.

Of the 22 Sacred Heart teams that competed in NEC sponsored sports, 20 of them compiled a 3.0 or better GPA and 18 of those teams registered at least a 3.20 GPA on the year. The Pioneers won a pair of NEC Team GPA awards in men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Bottom Line: It was a very good year to be a Pioneer.

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For a comprehensive review of what went down in the Northeast Conference this past year, read the league’s official Year-In-Review.


CREME OF THE CONFERENCE: Provident Bank Salutes NEC Student-Athletes of the Year

The conclusion of the academic year signals a salute to those special individuals who left more than a mark on the Northeast Conference over the past 10 months.

Presented by Provident Bank, the NEC is proud to recognize the finalists for its Student-Athlete of the Year awards. The pools of ten men and ten women finalists will produce the two conference-wide winners.

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