DANBURY, Conn. – Quarterback Raleigh Yeldell headlines a group of nine Wolves honored by the Eastern College Athletic Conference on Tuesday afternoon, with seven selections to the 2016 ECAC Division II Football All-Star team and two honorable mention nods.
Offensive All-Star selections included Yeldell, the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, and several other Wolves: wide receiver Markell Castle, tight end Baptiste Staggers, and offensive linemen Tyler Stasky and Bobby McNeil. Defensive lineman Jamarcus Henderson and linebacker Joe Blue were named to the All-Star defense, while wide receiver Cole Watson and defensive lineman Jimmy Holmes received honorable mention honors.
Yeldell, already named one of nine finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy and the South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, picked up ECAC Offensive Player of the Year honors. He also earned a selection to the All-Star team, equivalent to an all-conference first team, at the quarterback position after leading the nation with a completion percentage of 70.3, ranking eighth in Division II with 341.8 yards of total offense per game, and becoming Newberry's first-ever 3,000-yard passer in a single season.
Castle led the South Atlantic Conference with 976 receiving yards, one yard from tying for second place in single-season school history, and caught seven touchdown passes on the season. The sophomore from York had five 100-yard games, including a 181-yard effort in the season-opener against Florida Tech that included a one-handed grab named the No. 2 play on SportsCenter's Top 10.
Staggers totaled 260 yards on 24 catches this season, averaging 10.8 yards per catch and adding four touchdowns. He caught at least one pass in every regular season game and had as many as 64 yards during a game.
Stasky and McNeil anchored the left side of a dominant offensive line that allowed just 20 sacks on 423 pass attempts and helped the Wolves roll up school records in passing yards, total offense, and scoring in 2016. McNeil was a candidate for the Gene Upshaw Award, given to the best offensive or defensive lineman in Division II, and accumulated 47 pancake blocks at his left guard position. He has started 34 of Newberry's 35 games over the last three seasons. Stasky made nine starts at left tackle, compiling 25 pancake blocks and averaging a grade of 90 out of 100 matched up against most teams' top defensive end.
Henderson finished second on the team with 65 tackles, including conference highs with 22.0 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks that ranked seventh in Newberry single-season history. He had at least one tackle for loss in 10 games this season, notched six or more stops on seven occasions, and led the team with nine quarterback hurries.
Blue was the SAC's third-leading tackler with 91 stops on the season, Blue notched 7.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage with 2.0 sacks. He intercepted a pass with three pass breakups, forced a fumble, recovered another, reached double figures in tackles five times, led Newberry in tackles seven times, and finished second on three occasions this season.
Watson earned honorable mention accolades after securing a first-team nod from the SAC. He was second on the team and fifth in the SAC with 697 yards and scored six touchdowns on his 51 catches. He netted a career-high 151 yards at Mars Hill, one of his three 100-yard games on the season.
Holmes was also awarded honorable mention status by the ECAC after accumulating 4.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss from his defensive tackle position, contributing to a defense that sacked the opposing quarterback 34 times and had 92 tackles for loss. He also had an interception, broke up a pass, and blocked two kicks.
The Eastern College Athletic Conference is an affiliation of institutions stretching up the Eastern seaboard and as far west as Missouri. While the South Atlantic Conference is the primary conference for most Newberry sports, including football, the Wolves are eligible for postseason ECAC awards in all sports by virtue of their dual membership in the ECAC, which is the primary conference for Newberry's field hockey and wrestling programs.
Click here to view the full release from the ECAC.
ECAC ALL-STARS – OFFENSE
QB – Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry
RB – David White, LIU Post
RB – Jarel Elder, West Chester
WR – Shane Hubbard, LIU Post
WR – B.J. Bunn, UNC Pembroke
WR – Markell Castle, Newberry
TE – Baptiste Staggers, Newberry
OL – James Louison, LIU Post
OL – Joseph Lacey, LIU Post
OL – Tyler Stasky, Newberry
OL – Bobby McNeil, Newberry
OL – Doug Gilbert, West Chester
ECAC ALL-STARS – DEFENSE
DL – Joe Bryant, Cheyney
DL – Anthony DeNunzio, LIU Post
DL – Kenny Scotland, LIU Post
DL – Tyler Hilton, UNC Pembroke
DL – Jamarcus Henderson, Newberry
LB – Elijah Williams, UNC Pembroke
LB – Garrett Barnett, UNC Pembroke
LB – Joe Blue, Newberry
DB – Jared Chester, LIU Post
DB – Kevin Malone, West Chester
DB – Nydair Rouse, West Chester
DB – Christian Carpenter, Gannon
ECAC ALL-STARS – SPECIAL TEAMS
P – Matt Davis, UNC Pembroke
K – Matt Davis, UNC Pembroke
RS – Tra Chandler, UNC Pembroke
QB – Jeff Kidd, LIU Post
RB – Rontonio Stanley, UNC Pembroke
WR – Cole Watson, Newberry
WR – Tyler Karpinski, West Chester
OL – Demarcus Whitehurst, UNC Pembroke
OL – Lawrence Keys, UNC Pembroke
OL – Tyler Drob, West Chester
DL – Kevin Petit-Frere, LIU Post
DL – Alpha Lamin, UNC Pembroke
DL – Jimmy Holmes, Newberry
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jared Chester, LIU Post
COACH OF THE YEAR – Bryan Collins, LIU Post