Tyrese Chambers Named NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year; Six Pioneers Named All-Conference

Tyrese Chambers Named NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year; Six Pioneers Named All-Conference

SOMERSET, N.J. – Eight members of the Sacred Heart football team were honored Wednesday by the Northeast Conference with the announcement of the All-Conference teams and postseason individual awards. First-year WR Tyrese Chambers was voted as the NEC's Offensive Rookie of the Year while five Pioneers earned a spot on the All-NEC First Team.

Chambers is the fourth NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year in program history while, combined with Julius Chestnut's Rookie of the Year honor last season, this marks the first time in NEC history that the players from the same school has won the award in consecutive seasons.

The four Pioneers named to the All-NEC First Team on offense include Chambers, sophomore RB Julius Chestnut, senior C Josh Sokol and junior LT J.D. DiRenzo. Senior DE Chris Agyemang is the fifth All-NEC First Team honoree for SHU and the lone Pioneer defensive player to earn All-Conference honors. WR/KR Kezio Snelling is the sixth and final All-NEC member for the Pioneers as he is a Second Team specialist.

Chambers joins RB Chestnut (2018), QB RJ Noel (2013) and QB Dale Fink (2007) as the fourth Pioneer to earn NEC Rookie of the Year honors in school history. Combined with Chestnut's 2018 Rookie of the Year honor, today's announcement marks the first time in NEC history players from the same school have earned the award in consecutive seasons.

Headlining the group of four All-NEC First Teamers on offense, tied with CCSU for the most in the league, is the Rookie of the Year Chambers who was the only first-year in the conference to earn All-NEC honors on offense or defense. Having been named a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award yesterday, Chambers adds another distinctive award to his resume with today's announcement. The go-to receiver for the Pioneers all season set SHU rookie records across the board with 50 receptions for 811 yards, 16.2 yards per catch and eight TD. Chambers' 811 receiving yards are fifth-most among FCS first-years while his eight TD are second-most among freshman in the nation.

The 2018 NEC Rookie of the Year Chestnut followed with a breakout 2019 campaign which stands as one of the top individual seasons in program history. Chestnut accumulated 1,495 rushing yards which ranks second in all of FCS and the second-highest single-season total in school history. A true workhorse, Chestnut carried an FCS-high 293 times which sets a SHU single-season record while he tallied nine 100+ yard games in 12 appearances in 2019.

The first of two offensive lineman to earn All-NEC First Team honors is the Pioneers' senior captain C Josh Sokol. Earning his first career All-NEC distinction, Sokol anchored the NEC's top pass blocking line that allowed a league-low 11 sacks (7th-fewest in FCS) and paved the way for the nation's second-leading rusher in Chestnut. Sokol finishes his collegiate career with 23 consecutive starts at center for the Pioneers, having blocked for the nation's second-best rushing unit in 2018 and the nation's second-leading rusher in 2019.

DiRenzo's talent and versatility was on display all season as the junior transitioned from starting at right tackle in all 11 games last season to an All-NEC First Teamer at left tackle in 2019. Protecting the Pioneer QB blindside all season, DiRenzo was a key piece in the Pioneers' pass blocking unit that held opponents to a sack rate below three percent in all dropbacks this season. He started all 12 games at left tackle this season and heads into his senior season with 23 consecutive starts along the Pioneer O-Line.

Now a two-time All-NEC First Team selection, Agyemang was a senior captain along the SHU defensive line and anchored a unit that ranked fourth in the NEC in both sacks and tackles for loss. Agyemang's second career First Team honor was earned in a productive 2019 campaign that saw him start in all 12 games while registering 41 tackles (seventh-most among NEC defensive lineman), 5.5 sacks (5th NEC) and eight TFL (17th NEC). His seven pass breakups led all NEC DL while he led all Pioneers in total snaps played.

Rounding out the All-NEC selections for SHU is the senior WR/KR Snelling who battled injury throughout his collegiate career to become an All-Conference honoree in his final season. Snelling's first career All-NEC honor comes as a kick returner as he led the NEC in kickoff return average (24.9) while ranking fourth in all-purpose yards per game (96). His 24.9 KO return average is the fourth-best in school history while his 29 total kickoff returns is the second-highest single-season total in program history.

Sacred Heart concluded its 2019 season with a 7-5 overall record and 4-3 mark in the NEC. This is tied for the Pioneers' highest single-season win total since 2013 and marks the sixth winning season for Head Coach Mark Nofri in his eight-year tenure at the helm for SHU.