Cole Doyle

St. Francis quarterback Cole Doyle scrambles against Duquesne on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Loretto, Pa. 

LORETTO, Pa. – The St. Francis University football team earned four of the five major Northeast Conference yearly awards, 10 first-team all-league selections and three second-team honors on Wednesday.

Cole Doyle was named Offensive Player of the Year, Donnell Brown was voted Defensive Player of the Year, Makai Jackson earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and Chris Villarrial was selected as Coach of the Year. The three players earned spots on the NEC first team as well. This is the first time since Sacred Heart in 2013 that a team earned at least four of the five major awards.

Brown became the first defensive player of the year selection in St. Francis history, while Doyle was the school’s fourth offensive player of the year and first since Kamron Lewis in 2016. Jackson is the fifth St. Francis offensive rookie of the year and first since Marcus Bagley in 2014.

Villarrial earned his third NEC coaching award after he netted back-to-back honors in 2015 and 2016.

The 10 NEC first-team selections broke the previous program record of seven, set in 2015 and 2016. St. Francis earned seven more first-team selections than it did in 2021.

One day after being named one of 30 finalists for the Walter Payton Award, presented to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Doyle earned the top offensive honor in the NEC.

He ranks fourth in the FCS with a 179.9 passing efficiency, 12th with a 68.4% completion percentage and 17th with 21 passing touchdowns this season.

After an all-NEC second-team selection in 2021, Brown became the first defensive player of the year and first defensive lineman, alongside teammate Sebastian Benjamin, to earn a first-team honor since 2009. Through consistently drawing double-team attention from opponents, Brown still ranked fourth in the NEC with 131/2 tackles for loss and eighth with 51/2 sacks. He also tied the NEC lead with two fumble recoveries.

After he was selected as one of 25 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award, presented to the top freshman in the FCS, Jackson was named the top offensive rookie in the NEC. He ranks eighth in the FCS and leads freshmen with 7.3 receptions per game and is 22nd and leads freshmen with 83.6 receiving yards per game. He leads the NEC in both categories and his eight touchdowns are third in the conference. His 920 yards is tied for fourth in single- season program history and his 80 receptions rank fifth.

Villarrial was also named one of 16 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the national coach of the year in the FCS. He led St. Francis to its second NEC title and first since 2016. The 2022 team has the most wins in Division I program history and a nine-game winning streak, which is the longest since 1971-72.

Elijah Sarratt was named to the first team at wide receiver. Sarratt is tied for third in the FCS with a single-season program record-tying 13 receiving touchdowns. During conference play, he ranked third with 73.3 receiving yards per game and scored 10 touchdowns, four more than any other wide receiver.

Offensive linemen Tre’Quan Dorsey and Seth Osborne were selected to the NEC first team. Dorsey plays left tackle on an offensive line that allows an FCS sixth-ranked 0.91 sacks against per game. Osborne, a second-team pick in 2021, centers an offensive line has helped pave the way for a 21st-ranked rushing attack in the FCS with 192.2 yards per game.

Benjamin, a first-team selection, ranks third in the NEC with 61/2 sacks this season and tied a single-game program record with four sacks in the season opener at Akron.

Defensive backs Travell Cook and Gregory Reddick were selected to the first team. Cook produced five takeaways this season with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Reddick was selected as the 2021 NEC defensive rookie of the year. Reddick ranked second in the conference with 7.9 tackles per game. He added three pass breakups.

Kicker Alex Schmoke earned a spot on the first team for the second straight season. Schmoke leads the NEC with 17 made field goals and was the only player in the conference with a conversion of at least 50 yards. His field goal total this season is second in program history.

Offensive lineman Bailey Iboleon is a second-team selection. Iboleon appeared in 10 games, eight starts, at guard this season.

Linebackers Marcel Mami and Willie O’Hara were named to the second team. Mami is tied for eighth in the conference with six tackles per game.

O’Hara leads the team with 77 total tackles, which ranked third in the NEC, and recorded one interception and one forced fumble.

St. Francis clinched its second berth in the FCS playoffs in program history. The Red Flash travel to face No. 23 Delaware at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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