Wesleyan Places Record 12 Players on All-NESCAC Football Squad with Six on the First Team
Wesleyan, which tied for the NESCAC title behind a 7-1 record and captured its first outright Little Three crown since 1970 with victories over Amherst and Williams, placed 12 players on the all-NESCAC football team in 2013. That eclipsed the previous high for the Cardinal program of seven all-NESCAC honorees set last season when the squad went 5-3. Six of the 12 Redbirds tabbed for all-NESCAC are first-team choices while six are on the second team.
Five of the six first-teamers for Wesleyan are returnees to the all-NESCAC ranks while the sixth was a second-teamer in 2011. Bask on the first team are center Jacob Sheffer '14, defensive back Jake Bussani '14, defensive lineman Nik Powers '15 and receiver (though listed as a fullback) Kevin Hughes '14. Sheffer was one of the keys to the Cardinals' 30-point-per game production, 382 offensive yards per game average, and league-low five sacks allowed. Powers ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 33 including four tackes for a loss with 1.5 sacks. He also recovered a pair of fumbles. Bussani had 27 tackles, two interceptions, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick. Hughes, who also earned CoSida/Capital One District II academic All-American laurels, ranked third on the team in catches with 23, good for an 11.9 yard-per-catch average and three TDs. Moving up from the second team a year ago to the first team is Donnie Cimino '15, who came through with 35 tackles (third on the team) from his spot in the secondary while also knocking down four passes, forcing a fumble and blocking a kick. In addition he returned 15 punts for 142 yards (9.5 per return) with a long of 26, ranking second in the NESCAC for return yards. Back on the all-NESCAC squad after a year's hiatus is running back LaDarius Drew '15, who led the league with 756 yards on the ground and was the top scorer among running backs with 10 touchdowns. He also was NESCAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
Representing Wesleyan on the second team as first-time honorees are linebacker Myers Beaird '14, who racked up 28 tackles, made two interceptions and forced a fumble; offensive lineman Pat DiMase '15; running back Kyle Gibson '15, who collected 587 yards on 90 attempts with three TDs; placekicker Sebastian Aguirre '14, who set program standards during the season with seven PATs in a game, 29 during the season, 27 in a row and 87 in his career, as well as nine field goals in a season; tight end Jon Day '15, who made 10 catches for 139 yards and two scores; and return specialist Devon Carrillo '17, who brought back 15 kickoffs for a 25.7-yard average (third in the NESCAC) with a long of 45, and returned eight punts for 57 yards.
With its 12 all-NESCAC selections, Wesleyan paced the league in number of honored players as Trinity ranked second with 10, followed by Amherst and Middlebury with nine apiece.