Foxborough, Mass., native earns AFCA honors as return specialist
EASTON, Mass. (December 15, 2010) – The Stonehill College football team has its first All-American in program history with junior Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass./Foxborough) earning the honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as a return specialist today. He is one of 25 student-athletes selected to the team and one of just three from Super Region 1.
Neville, an All-New England and All-Northeast-10 Conference first team selection this fall, is the lone NE-10 football player named to the AFCA Division II Coaches' All-America Team. In fact, he is the first NE-10 football player to earn AFCA All-America honors since Merrimack College defensive back Andrew Jackson was the lone NE-10 representative in 2008.
Neville led the Northeast-10 for the second-straight year by averaging 30.9 yards per kickoff return (3rd nationally) while matching an NCAA Division II record with four returns for a touchdown. He returned 25 kickoffs for 773 yards, including a career-long matching 94 yard return for a score against NE-10 champions University of New Haven on October 8. Neville finished second on the team with 848 all-purpose yards, adding six punt returns for 38 yards and 37 interception return yards.
Junior Stephan Neville matched an NCAA Division II record with four kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. (PHOTO BY Robert Klein)
Neville leads all four divisions of NCAA football with his four kickoff returns for scores this season, breaking his own school record for touchdowns on kick returns and matching the NCAA Division II single-season mark set by Merrimack's Jackson in 2004. He earned NE-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors twice this fall.
Neville, a two-time All-Conference selection at cornerback with his second team award this fall, started all ten games for Stonehill this year, finishing with 44 tackles (29 solo), two interceptions and nine pass breakups for 11 passes defended (2nd NE-10), a forced fumble and fumble recovery that he returned 35 yards for a touchdown to finish the year with five total returns for scores – just one shy of the NCAA Division II record for total touchdown returns.
Neville is the lone player in program history to earn All-Northeast-10 honors at two positions, doing so in each of the last two seasons. He is a three-time All-NE-10 pick as return specialist after collecting first team honors for the second-straight year this fall, while earning first team All-Conference honors at cornerback his sophomore season.
Neville, an NE-10 All-Rookie team selection as a freshman, has played 30 games over his career and returned 64 kicks for 2,109 yards (32.95/return), with eight returns for touchdowns - matching the Division II record set by Winona State University's Dave Ludy from 1991-94. His first career 94-yard return came on the opening kickoff of last year's 23-21 victory over No. 24-ranked Bentley University in the final game of the season. Neville led all of Division II when he averaged 36.7 yards per return his sophomore season.
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Neville has totaled 134 tackles (91 solo) over his career on defense for Stonehill, posting 2.5 career tackles for a loss, 11 interceptions with another 20 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Stonehill finished the season with a 5-5 record overall, 3-5 in the NE-10, marking the third time in four years under head coach Robert Talley the Skyhawks have finished with a .500 record.