All-NEC selections bring much debate on Twitter

The Northeast Conference announced their yearly award winners and all-conference selections via the NEC twitter account on November 27. The distinguishable awards, produced by a coach’s vote, have brought much controversy and debate around the conference.

The majority of individual award recipients came from the regular season champion Sacred Heart, as RB Keshaudas Spence received offensive player of the year, DL Tray Moore won defensive player of the year and QB RJ Noel was named offensive rookie of the year. The Pioneers’ head coach, Mark Nofri, was also named coach of the year.

Eight RMU players received All-NEC recognition, including five first team selections. TE Tyler Digby, OL AJ Dalton, DL AJ Holderman, LB Mike Cook and returner Antwan Eddie all made the conference first team. Eddie was also recognized for defensive back on the second team, along with WR Duane Mitchell, DL Forrest Mason and P Tony LaMancusa.  In an unrelated poll, assistant head coach John Banaszak was named FCS assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association.

Several selections were criticized heavily on Twitter and were highly questionable in nature. First, potentially the most obvious one was the choice of Spence for offensive player of the year over Saint Francis’ redshirt senior tailback Kyle Hardbridge. Spence, a junior, compiled 1475 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year, but was second in both categories to Harbridge, who notched 1619 yards and 16 touchdowns, including 147.2 yards per game.

Even Central Connecticut’s Rob Hollomon could have been selected over Spence, but Harbridge out of everyone definitely deserved the award this year.

Below is a span of tweets sent out by the official Saint Francis football program account following the announcements. The rant has since been deleted, but the damage was already done throughout the Twitter world.

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Another snub hit home with the Colonials, as senior linebacker Kyle Cooper was left off the awards list despite being third in the conference in total tackles with 87, almost double the amount of Duquesne’s Dorian Bell, who made the second team over him with 47 stops on the year.

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Senior safety DJ Myers was also left off the list, but produced a quality season in his last year in Moon Township. Cook broke the RMU single-season record for tackles in a season with his 117 mark, passing former assistant coach Alex DiMichele’s record from a few years ago. The senior linebacker made serious contention for defensive player of the year honors, but that race was extremely tight with Moore producing a solid year and numbers as well.

The Colonials return four of the eight selections next year, but will have big shoes to fill with the departure of Cook and Cooper from the middle of their defense.