For Immediate Release
February 14, 2012
Courtesy of Stonehill College Athletics Communications
Easton, Mass. – Stonehill College senior All-America kick returner/cornerback Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass./Foxborough) is the first student-athlete in program history to sign a professional contract after signing with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) the franchise announced over the weekend.
Neville is among six import players signed to two year contracts by the Alouettes, joining receiver Felton Huggins, running back Noel Devine, defensive end Michael Montgomery, defensive back Dajuan Morgan as well as defensive end Duke Lemmens who all spent time with NFL teams over the last few seasons. Montreal are one of the more successful CFL franchises, particularly over the last ten years, making eight Grey Cup appearances, winning the historic Cup on three occasions in that time, including back to back championships in 2009 and 2010.
"I'm ecstatic at the opportunity to play professionally for such a great organization," said Neville. "I was looking for an opportunity to play at the professional ranks and the Montreal Alouettes have given me this opportunity and I intend to make the most of it."
Neville, the most decorated student-athlete in Stonehill football history, earned first team All-Northeast-10 honors for the third-straight year and All-New England status from the New England Football Writers the last two seasons. He is also the first All-American in program history after being named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coaches' All-America squad in 2010. He has earned six All-NE-10 awards over the course of his four years, earning four as a return specialist (three first team) and two as a cornerback (one first team). He became the first student-athlete in program history to earn first team All-Conference honors at two positions in the same year when he accomplished the feat his sophomore season at return specialist and corner.
"We are extremely proud of the opportunity that Stephan has with the Montreal Alouettes," said head coach Robert Talley, who recently completed his fifth season in charge at at Stonehill. "His hard work and dedication to this football program has paid off and he now has an opportunity to chase his dream and play professional football. There is no question Stephan will continue to be successful and we are looking forward to following his progress."
Neville, who has set an NCAA Division II record with ten career kickoff returns for touchdowns, led the Northeast-10 for the third-straight year by averaging 29.8 yards per kickoff return (7th nationally in Division II), totaling 686 yards on 23 returns with two touchdowns. He ranks third in the NE-10 (19th nationally) by averaging 12.1 yards on punt returns, totaling 194 yards on 16 returns with one touchdown. Neville finished the year third on the team with 918 all-purpose yards, adding 38 yards on an interception return to his totals above, and also contributed 30 tackles (23 solo), including 3.0 for a loss of 12 yards, an interception, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery on the defensive side of the ball.
Neville, who tied the NCAA All-Division record with his 11 career kick return touchdowns (10 KO/ 1 PR) and matched the Division II mark for total scoring runbacks with 12, played 40 of a possible 41 games over his career. He has returned 88 kickoffs for 2,785 yards (31.65/return), with the ten returns for touchdowns. He ranks second in program history with 3,175 career all-purpose yards and has two career 94-yard touchdown returns, the first coming on the opening kickoff of a 23-21 win over then No. 24-ranked Bentley University in the final game of the 2009 season, with the latter coming against the University of New Haven in 2010. Neville led all of Division II when he averaged 36.7 yards per return his sophomore season and matched a Division II record with four kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2010.
Neville has totaled 164 tackles (114 solo) over his career on defense for Stonehill, posting 5.5 career tackles for a loss, 12 interceptions with another 25 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
The Northeast-10 is an association of 16 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 5,500 student-athletes. Each year, 4,000 of those student-athletes compete in Conference championships in 23 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.