HADLEY, Mass. – Six members of the Wesleyan University football team earned all-conference recognition on Tuesday when the league office announced its 2018 All-NESCAC Teams. Highlighting the list for the Cardinals were First Team Defense honorees senior linebacker Brandon Morris and sophomore defensive lineman Taj Gooden.
>> 2018 All-NESCAC Teams <<
Additionally, senior quarterback Mark Piccirillo and senior offensive lineman Joe Wilson were named Second Team Offense, and senior defensive end Jude Lindberg and junior defensive back Ben Thaw were named Second Team Defense.
For Morris, the All-Conference selection is the second of his career, as he was also named a First Team honoree as a junior. The Davie, Fla. native has been a dominant force in the NESCAC over the past three seasons and finished his senior campaign with 55 tackles in eight contests. His average of 6.9 tackles per game ranked 12th in the league. Morris also recorded 1.5 sacks, six tackles-for-loss, and forced two fumbles, while his seven pass breakups were tied for the league-high with three others. He concludes his career with 220 total tackles, 22 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks, nine pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, three blocked kicks, and two fumble recoveries.
Gooden was named to the All-NESCAC Team for the first time in his career after a stellar sophomore season. A Brooklyn, N.Y. native, Gooden led the league in tackles-for-loss with 17.5 and finished second in the conference in sacks with nine. The 64 yards lost on his nine sacks were also a conference-best. Gooden finished the 2018 campaign with 35 tackles (3.9 per game), a forced fumble, a pass break-up, and a blocked kick.
Piccirillo picked up the third All-Conference selection of his career. A Second Team honoree as a sophomore, he was elevated to First Team last year. In 2018, Piccirillo capped off his historic career by throwing for 1,371 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. He finished the season ranked second in the NESCAC in touchdowns, third in pass efficiency (131.9), fourth in completion percentage (57.2), and fifth in yards (152.3 per game). Piccirillo was also the team's leading rusher, as he finished ninth in the conference in rushing yards (52.2 per game) while adding three touchdowns. One of the greatest NESCAC quarterbacks of all-time, Piccirillo concludes his collegiate career as Wesleyan's all-time leader in points scored (350), touchdowns (58), pass completions (530), and total offense (7,683 yards).
Wilson has been a stalwart on the offensive line since joining the program as a freshman in 2015. He is earning the third All-NESCAC selection of his career after grabbing Second Team honors as a freshman and First Team as a sophomore. Wilson and the offensive line helped pave the way for Wesleyan's rushing attack that finished the year with 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 143.3 yards per game.
Lindberg receives the first All-Conference selection of his career. The senior from Cranbury, N.J. was a force on the line and finished the year with 28 tackles, one fumble recovery, and one pass break-up. He concludes his career with 96 tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, and seven sacks.
Thaw has been one of the top corners in the league the past two seasons as he earns the first All-NESCAC honor of his career. A Connecticut native hailing from Westport, Thaw finished the year with 39 tackles (4.3 per game), six pass break-ups, two interceptions, and one defensive touchdown. In the first game of the year, Thaw picked off Middlebury twice and brought one back 30 yards for a score. He has six career interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. Last year, he led the NESCAC in interceptions with four.
Wesleyan finished the 2018 campaign with a 5-4 record to cap off its seventh-straight winning season.