FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conference Champion Hounds Lead the Way with Five Major Award Winners
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Assumption's electrifying return specialist Deonte Harris has been named the Northeast-10 Conference Most Valuable Player as the league office announced its 2017 football all-conference teams and major award winners.
For a complete list of all-conference members and award winners, as voted upon by the league's head coaches, please see below.
Harris was one of five major award winners from the NE10 Champion Greyhounds, who will host an NCAA Second Round game this Saturday afternoon against Findlay. Joining Harris from Assumption as this year's major award recipients were defensive back Andrew Benson, defensive lineman Ray Sarkodieh, place-kicker Cole Tracy, and head coach Bob Chesney. Benson landed NE10 Defensive Player of the Year honors, Sarkodieh was tabbed the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, Tracy - the conference's Special Teams Player of the Year, while Chesney was selected as the league's Coach of the Year.
Harris is the first Assumption player to ever be named the conference MVP as he helped lead the Hounds to the 2017 conference regular season title. The junior finished the year with 12 touchdowns, six receiving and six on returns, which ranked fifth in the NE10. Harris, meanwhile, led the nation with five punt return touchdowns while also tying the NCAA single-season Division II record. He also had punt return touchdowns in three consecutive games – tying the NCAA All-Division record, in addition to leading the nation in punt return average. Over the final two games of the regular season teams punted or kicked off 20 times though Harris was only able to return one punt, as teams kicked the ball short or out of bounds. He also has 47 receptions for 567 yards, along with totaling 1,457 all-purpose yards this season. He was a unanimous selection for the conference's First Team return specialist as well.
Harris's teammate Andrew Benson earned the conference's Defensive Player of the Year award. The senior defensive back leads the NE10 with eight interceptions and also added three fumble recoveries, which was third-best in the league. Benson led a Hounds defense that led the league allowing only 13.5 points per game on the season and was a unainimous First Team All-NE10 selection.
LIU Post's Yianni Gavalas was tabbed the NE10's Offensive Player of the Year by the league's head coaches. The graduate student had an outstanding year for the Pioneers as he led the league in a number of statistical categories. Gavalas was tops in the league in completions (257), completion percentage (70.8%), passing yards (3,087), passing touchdowns (37), and passer efficiency rating (171.5). Gavalas, who threw at least three touchdown passes in each game this season, was also named First Team All-Conference.
Bentley's Austin Ryan was named the conference's Rookie of the Year as the first-year wideout had one of the best freshman campaigns in recent memory. Ryan led all of NCAA Division II with 16 touchdown receptions for the Falcons. Overall, Ryan pulled down 49 catches (8th-best in the NE10) for 1,237 yards, which led the league. His 25.2 yards per catch also were tops in the league, and were among the national leaders. Ryan was also named a First Team All-Conference selection, as well as a unanimous addition to the All-Rookie Team.
Assumption's Ray Sarkodieh was selected as the league's Defensive Lineman of the Year. Sarkodieh led the conference in sacks with 12 and is currently third in the league with 13.5 tackles for loss. The senior has registered 48 tackles from his end position and has added a pair of forced fumbles and a blocked kick. The Worcester product was also a unanimous First Team selection.
LIU Post's Joe Lacey earned NE10 Offensive Lineman of the Year as he spearheaded a unit that only allowed six sacks all season long and was tops in the league in many offensive categories. The Pioneers offensive line was among the most dominant units in the league this fall with Lacey leading the way. He was also a unanimous First Team selection.
Cole Tracy earned the inaugural Special Teams Player of the Year award after posting the best kicking season in conference history. The senior currently ranks first in the nation with 23 field goals and is second nationally in field goal percentage at .920. Tracy is also sixth in the nation among all players in scoring and first among kickers with 129 points. He hasn't missed an extra point this season and has made 29 straight field goals of 40 yards or less, dating back to 2016. Earlier this year, Tracy also made a school-record 53-yard field goal in a win over Stonehill.
Assumption head coach Bob Chesney was named the NE10 Coach of the Year by his peers after leading the Hounds to their second NE10 Title in 2017. His team started the year 9-0 and rose as high as eighth in the nation. They finished the regular season 9-1 overall and ranked first nationally in redzone defense, third in redzone offense, third in scoring defense, third in sacks, sixth in scoring offense and 13th in interceptions. This past weekend the Hounds won the program's second NCAA contest, defeating California (Pa.) 40-31. 15 of Chesney's student-athletes were named All-Conference, including nine First Team honorees.
Assumption led the way with 15 All-Conference selections, followed by LIU Post with 11 student-athletes recognized on the 2017 NE10 All-Conference teams.
Most Valuable Player – Deonte Harris, Assumption
Offensive Player of the Year – Yianni Gavalas, LIU Post
Defensive Player of the Year – Andrew Benson, Assumption
Rookie of the Year – Austin Ryan, Bentley
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Joe Lacey, LIU Post
Defensive Lineman of the Year – Ray Sarkodieh, Assumption
Special Teams Player of the Year - Cole Tracy, Assumption
Coach of the Year – Bob Chesney, Assumption
2017 NE10 Football All-Conference
First Team Offense
Yianni Gavalas, QB, LIU Post
Malik Pierre, RB, LIU Post
Jhalen Bien-Aime, RB, Pace
Ashton Grant, WR, Assumption@^
Austin Ryan, WR, Bentley
Andrew Jamiel, WR, Stonehill#
Ryne Griesenauer, TE, Southern Connecticut
James McNerney, OL, Assumption
Joe Lacey, OL, LIU Post*@
Chris Coles, OL, LIU Post#
Elliot Leubner, OL, New Haven*#^%
Joe Buissereth, OL, Southern Connecticut
Cole Tracy, PK, Assumption
Deonte Harris, RS, Assumption@
First Team Defense
Anthony Appleton, DL, American International*#
Joey Bruno, DL, Assumption
Ray Sarkodieh, DL, Assumption*
Anthony DeNunzio, DL, LIU Post*@
Jesse Jones, DL, Merrimack
Matt Weiss, DL, Southern Connecticut
Isaiah Robinson, LB, American International
Levi Fancher, LB, Assumption
Kaleb Silva, LB, Assumption
Brandon Brown, LB, Bentley
Matt Corrie, LB, Pace
Devonte Dillon, DB, American International@
Andrew Benson, DB, Assumption*@
Nick Athy, DB, Bentley
Jared Chester, DB, LIU Post@
Danny Stock, P, New Haven@^
Second Team Offense
Marc Monks, QB, Assumption#
Dylan Oxsen, RB, Assumption#
Derrick Villard, RB, Merrimack
Ju'an Williams, WR, American International
Michael Richardson, WR, LIU Post
Justin White, WR, New Haven
Justin Lamb, TE, Stonehill
Tyler Armillay, OL, Assumption
Connor Peck, OL, Bentley
James Louison, OL, LIU Post@
Shane Fisher, OL, New Haven
Jorge Geronimo, OL, Pace
Danny Stock, PK, New Haven
Shaquan Hall, RS, Southern Connecticut
Second Team Defense
Goran Krasic, DL, Assumption
Abel Joseph, DL, LIU Post
Scott Lavelle, DL, New Haven
Christian Sullivan, DL, New Haven
John Ejiofor, DL, Stonehill
Jordan Francklin, LB, New Haven
Eric Mercer, LB, Saint Anselm
Mike Cerisano, LB, Southern Connecticut
Vasilios Grigorakos, LB, Southern Connecticut
Joe Kim, DB, Assumption
Peter Thorbahn, DB, Bentley#
Jake Carlock, DB, LIU Post
Richard Wright, DB, LIU Post#
Nick Bona, DB, Stonehill
Seamus Wallce, P, Assumption
Samad Davila, American International
Khaleed Exum-Strong, FB, Assumption
Carlins Platel, DB, Assumption
Tim Leonard, OL, Bentley
Sean Mitchell, OL, Bentley
Austin Ryan, WR, Bentley*
Stephen Sturm, QB, Bentley*
Nazir Streater, DB, LIU Post
Jake Ragusa, LB, Merrimack*
Rodney Samson, RB, Merrimack
Javeon Ensley, DB, New Haven
McPrecia Remy, LB, New Haven
Daryl Nixon, WR, Pace
Zhyaire Fernandes, WR, Southern Connecticut
Nate Bresson, DL, Stonehill
Matthew Marvin, OL, Stonehill
@ - First Team in 2016
# - Second Team in 2016
^ - All-Conference in 2015
% - All-Conference in 2014
* - Unanimous Selection
Additional information for this release provided by the athletic communications staff at Assumption
ABOUT THE NE10
The NE10 is an association of 15 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.
Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.