BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University wide receiver Neal Sterling (Belmar,
N.J./Manasquan) was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, league
officials announced on Wednesday.
Sterling, who was also named Second Team All-NEC, was joined by
four other Hawks on all-league teams.
Senior safety Jose Gumbs (Queens, N.Y./Mt. Hebron) and senior defensive
end Ian Simon (West Windsor, N.J./West Windsor Plainsboro/Howard) were named
First Team All-Northeast Conference while redshirt junior offensive tackles Dino
Molina (Damascus, Md./Damascus) and Mike Murphy (Toms River, N.J./Toms River
East) were named to the conference's second team.
"Neal had a great first year," said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. "He is very
deserving of this recognition. I am happy that a number of our players were
rewarded for their excellent play this season. Having five players named to the
All-NEC team is a testament to the hard work that these players put in."
Sterling becomes the third Monmouth player to earn NEC Offensive Rookie of the
Year (Joe Migliore, David Sinisi). The 6'
4" wideout led the team in receptions with 57, which is the third most in
school history. Sterling was recently
named a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the nation's top FCS freshman. He amassed 677 yards, which was second among
all FCS freshman, and had five touchdowns.
Gumbs was named First Team All-NEC for the third straight season
after finishing first on the team in tackles for the fourth straight year (75).
Gumbs led the NEC in forced fumbles with four, had nine pass breakups, two
interceptions and blocked three kicks.
Simon earns his first all-league nod after finishing first in the
league in sacks with nine and third in the league in tackles-for-a-loss with
13.5. The senior had 35 tackles, three
forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries in his final season in West Long
Branch. His nine sacks were the most for a Monmouth player since the 2003
Murphy and Molina, Monmouth's two starting offensive tackles earn the first
All-NEC recognition of their careers. The duo led the way for a team that
averaged almost 25 points per game and owned the league's third ranked pass
offense. Murphy started every game at left tackle while Molina missed just the
final game of the season due to injury.
Monmouth has had at least one offensive lineman represented on one of
the two teams for nine straight years, dating back to the 2003 season.
Jordan Brown was Offensive Player of the Year, Duquesne's Serge Kona was
Defensive Player of the Year, Albany's Bob Ford took home Coach of the Year