Westampton, N.J., senior defensive back is one of three Skyhawks to earn award for their respective sports for fall season
EASTON, Mass. (February 20, 2014) – Stonehill College senior defensive back James Lanier (Westampton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) has earned the Northeast-10 Conference Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award for football as the league announced its academic awards for the fall 2013 seasons.
Lanier is the first Stonehill football student-athlete to earn the NE-10 Sport Excellence Award since the Conference started issuing the award in 2009. He is also one of three Stonehill student-athletes to receive the recognition for the fall season, joining field hockey senior All-American Devin Ingersoll (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) and men's cross country junior Bryan Wilcox (Plantsville, Conn./Southington). The trio gives Stonehill 15 Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence winners in the five years of its existence.
Lanier, who was a National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Award candidate and William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, has earned the NE-10 Sport Excellence award for playing a key role in leading the Stonehill football team to a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship and appearance in the Conference championship game this fall while also earning a 3.51 cumulative grade point average while majoring in criminology at the College. He has collected NE-10 Academic All-Conference honors each of the last two seasons and was a Capital One Academic All-District I pick in 2012. He has received NE-10 Commissioner's Honor Roll status every semester at the College and Athletic Director's Honor Roll three semesters.
Lanier started all 11 games for Stonehill this fall and finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles (41 solo), including 2.0 tackles for a loss of a yard, an interception, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He was a leader on special teams as well, leading the punt coverage team with eight tackles. Lanier finished his career with 126 tackles (97 solo), including 3.5 stops for a loss of six yards, an interception, nine pass breakups, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in 42 career games played. Lanier has appeared in 36 games over his career at Stonehill and totaled 98 tackles (76 solo), with 2.5 for a loss of five yards, an interception, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He posted a career-best 43 tackles (35 solo) as a junior with 1.5 for a loss for a loss of five, three breakups, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Lanier is a Dean's List student at Stonehill and Edwin Sutherland Criminology Honor Society member. He has worked as a Resident Assistant at the College, is a member of MOSAIC (Male Diversity Club) on campus and is the football team's representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Lanier is a mentor with the Youth Diversion program at the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton and has completed internships with Plymouth County (Mass.) District Attorney's Office, United States Marshals Service and Burlington County (N.J.) Superior Courthouse.
The Northeast-10's Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence program recognizes student-athletes that have excelled both on the field and in the classroom. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have completed at least two consecutive semesters of enrollment at their current institution, two total years of athletic eligibility, and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of a 3.30. The award is voted on by a pool of administrators (senior woman administrators/sports information directors/faculty athletic representatives) from Northeast-10 institutions.
Stonehill posted its best season in nearly 20 years this fall as it finished with an 8-3 record overall, including an 8-1 mark in the Northeast-10 to earn a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship. The Skyhawks posted their first winning season since an 8-2 campaign in 1996 and fell a win shy of the single-season program record of nine in 1995. Stonehill finished above .500 in NE-10 play for the second-straight year and third time in head coach Robert Talley's seven seasons at the helm.
Stonehill appeared among teams receiving votes in the AFCA Division II poll for the first time in program history six weeks this fall, including five straight leading up to Saturday's NE-10 Championship appearance, and was ranked in each of the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings this fall. Stonehill is also ranked sixth in final ECAC Lambert Meadowlands poll, after being ranked as high as fifth this season, marking the first time the Skyhawks have been ranked in that poll.
With 20 intercollegiate sports, Stonehill boasts one of the top athletic and academic programs in the country. The Skyhawks have finished in the top three in the final NE-10 Presidents' Cup standings nine straight years, winning the Cup four times, including a streak of three-straight from 2009-10 through 2011-12. This prestigious award is given to the top performing athletic school in the Northeast-10, across all sports and seasons. Stonehill has received the NCAA Division II Presidents' Award for Academic Achievement each of the first two years if the program's existence of honoring programs with an Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90-percent or better. The Skyhawks have earned a 97% Academic Success Ranking (ASR) by the NCAA, which considers the academic success rate of the institution based on the graduation rate of student-athletes, good for fifth among all NCAA Division II institutions, with ten Skyhawk teams receiving a perfect rating of 100%. In addition, the Skyhawks are ranked sixth in the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Power Rankings used to assess the academic and athletic standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs.