HADLEY, Mass. – A day after earning the Joe Zabilski Award as the top Division II/III offensive player in New England, senior wide receiver Mike Breuler added another prestigious accolade to his resume today as the Hamden, Conn. native was named the 2017 NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year. Additionally, three others were named First Team All-NESCAC while five were recognized on the Second Team to bring Wesleyan's total to nine all-conference selections, as announced Tuesday by the league office.
Breuler is the third Cardinal ever to earn NESCAC Player of the Year honors, and the first since the 2014 season in which Jesse Warren '15 was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Jake Bussani '14 was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
The award is well deserving for the senior wide receiver who led the league in receiving yards (1,172), receptions (87), receptions per game (9.7), and receiving yards per game (130.2). His 1,172 receiving yards and 87 catches set new NESCAC and Wesleyan single-season records while his 15 catches against Middlebury were the most ever by a Cardinal receiver in a single-game. He also tied for the league lead in touchdowns (10) and ranked second in all-purpose yardage (1,172). Breuler recorded 100 or more receiving yards six times, including a pair of 200-yard games this season.
ALL-NESCAC FIRST TEAM
- Breuler, a 2016 First Team selection as well, is joined on the First Team Offense by junior quarterback Mark Piccirillo while junior defensive lineman Grant Williams and junior linebacker Brandon Morris were named to the First Team Defense.
- Piccirillo had an incredible junior campaign in just his second season as the starting QB as he set 11 program records with one of the greatest single-season performances in NESCAC history. The Shelton, Conn. native totaled 2,657 passing yards this season on 233 completions which rank fourth and fifth all-time among NESCAC leaders in a single season. He also threw a league-high 20 touchdowns and led the conference in total offense (347.9 yards/game) while averaging a league-best 295.2 yards through the air and 52.7 yards on the ground (sixth-best). Piccirillo became Wesleyan's all-time touchdown leader with 42 for his career in just two full seasons under center. He also set single-season program records for points scored (144), touchdowns (24), touchdown passes (20), completions (233), passing yardage (2,657), consecutive passes completed (11), and total offensive yardage (3,131), while setting the career mark in touchdowns and points scored (252), and single-game records of completions (39) and consecutive passes completed (11).
- Williams earned his second all-conference honor of his career after being named to the Second Team a year ago. The junior ranked fourth on the team in tackles for loss with five for 29 yards and totaled 26 tackles on the season. He was a force up front as the Cardinals held opposing teams to just 119 yards per game on the ground.
- Morris received his first All-NESCAC honor of his career after a stellar junior campaign in which he led the league in tackles with 95 and averaged 10.6 per game. He also posted a team-high four sacks for a loss of 34 yards, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, and broke up two passes.
ALL-NESCAC SECOND TEAM
- Five Cardinals earned Second Team honors—Terence Norton '19 (offense), Shayne Kaminski '18 (defense), Elias Camacho '18 (defense), Sam Han '20 (specialists), and Corey Phillips '18E (specialists).
- Norton had a breakout junior campaign to earn his first all-conference selection of his career. The offensive lineman from Andover, Mass. protected Piccirillo all season and helped Wesleyan lead the league in total offense with an average of 417.8 yards per game.
- Both Kaminski and Camacho were named to the Second Team for the second year in a row. Kaminski, a senior leader and tri-captain in 2017, was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-District® First Team selection last week for his excellence in the classroom and on the field. He finished the year ranked 13th in the NESCAC in tackles with 62 total and 6.9 per game. He also recorded 3.5 sacks and two interceptions—one to seal the win in OT against Tufts and the other returned 31 yards for a TD at Amherst.
- Camacho was a leader in the secondary and finished the season ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 35 (3.9 per game). He also recorded an interception and broke up five passes as the Cardinals' defense allowed just 186.1 yards per game through the air.
- Placekicker Corey Phillips and punter Sam Han were both named Second Team Specialists after terrific seasons. Phillips finished third in the NESCAC in scoring with 48 points as he went 6-of-9 on field goal attempts and 30-of-32 on extra points. Han averaged 39.3 yards per punt, which marked the second-best average in the league while placing 10 inside the 20-yard line.