NEC Football’s Reese’s Senior Bowl Prospects

Julius Chestnut totaled 189 scrimmage yards in the #NECFB Spring Championship Game

It’s the ultimate pre-draft all-star game and it has eyes on Northeast Conference football.

On an annual basis, the Reese’s Senior Bowl provides an opportunity for elite draft prospects from around the country to showcase their talent and connect with coaches and decision-makers from all 32 NFL teams.

Sacred Heart running back Julius Chestnut and Merrimack cornerback Darion McKenzie may earn the chance to attend the week-long festivities in Mobile, AL this coming February. The two players appear on the official Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List heading into the 2021 fall season.

Chestnut comes off a spring season that saw him finish third overall in the Stats Perform Walter Payton Award voting. He totaled 888 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns in four games against NEC opponents. In a NCAA FCS playoff game, the 6-foot-1 do-it-all running back rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown against No. 5 Delaware.

Chestnut will enter his fourth collegiate season with 3,063 career rush yards over a 28-game span. He averages 5.75 yards per carry.

McKenzie made Merrimack’s lone interception in a game against Sacred heart this past spring. In 2019, the 6-foot-2 cornerback appeared in nine games and totaled 11 pass break-ups.

Should Chestnut and/or McKenzie impress enough to earn an official invitation, they would join a short list of NEC invitees.

In 2017, Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome became the first-ever NEC athlete to earn a spot in the Senior Bowl.

Jerome, a four-time all-NEC first team honoree, performed exceptionally well during the all-star game, intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble. He went on to sign a post-draft contract with the San Francisco 49ers, and he currently competes for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

During the 2020 NFL Draft process, Wagner’s Cam Gill (LB) and Chris Williams (DL) were invited to the East-West Shrine Game. Gill went onto sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in Super Bowl 55. Williams spent the 2020 NFL season on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad and is battling for a spot on the 53-man roster this summer.


LIVIN’ THEIR BEST LIFE: NEC Alumni Update (Karinchak, Fish, Jerome)

Their collegiate playing days are long gone, but numerous Northeast Conference alumni are actively enjoying professional careers in sports.

In addition to those who are competing at the pro level, there are plenty of NEC alumni who have made their marks in different sectors of the sports industry.


Heading into Summer 2019, we take a look at three NEC alumni who are currently livin’ their best life in the world of sport….

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NEC In The Pros: An Update on Three All-Time Greats


New Jersey’s own Miles Austin was a three-time all-NEC performer for Monmouth before defying the odds as an UDFA at the NFL level.

Danielle McEwan earned the NCAA Bowling Championship MVP award as a freshman, contributing immensely to Fairleigh Dickinson’s national team title. When the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour re-booted in 2015, the three-time NEC Player of the Year seem destined for stardom in the pro ranks.

Landing at Saint Francis, former Florida high school quarterback Lorenzo Jerome used his above-average athleticism and superb football instincts to become the first-ever four-time all-NEC first defensive back in league annals. After earning the MVP award at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, he became the first NEC player ever to compete in the Reese’s Senior Bowl where he caused three turnovers (FF, 2 INT).

One, if not all, of the three decorated athletes has likely popped into your Twitter TL recently. Here’s why…



Jerome made the San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man opening day roster in 2017 as an undrafted free agent. He went on to play in five regular season games before being waived by the 49ers on October 9, 2017. The ultra-talented safety resurfaced with the Seattle Seahawks during the 2018 NFL Preseason, but did not survive the final end-of-summer cutdown.

Itching for an opportunity to play at the professional with plenty to offer, Jerome found a new chance north of the border. The Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) officially announced Jerome’s free agent signing on May 1 ahead of the 2019 CFL Draft.




Two-time NCAA Player of the Year Danielle McEwan was a top performer for Team USA prior to joining the reincarnated PWBA Tour in 2015. Fast-forward to present day and McEwan has embarked on her fifth season as a professional.

McEwan most recently qualified for the five-person step ladder finals at the Nationwide Greater Cleveland Open, which was the third tournament on the PWBA season schedule. Prior to 2019, McEwan collected three standard PWBA tournament title and one major championship.




Following the 2006 NEC football season, Austin went on to earn an undrafted free agent contract from the Dallas Cowboys. Finding his way onto the Cowboys’ 53-man opening day roster in 2007 as a kick returner, Austin eventually worked his way into the rotation as a receiver. After his opportunity on offense, he quickly achieved stardom. He led the NFL in receiving yards during the 2009 season and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl twice.

Austin played in 129 regular season games over his 10-year NFL career (making him the second-longest tenured NFL player to ever come out of the NEC), but he had left behind some unfinished business at Monmouth. Having never completed his degree requirements, Austin decided the returned to school following his retirement from the NFL. Physically going back into the classroom, Austin has earned his degree and has graduated from the university. He won’t be walking at commencement because he is on assignment for the 49ers as an assistant coach.





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.