PITMAN, N.J. – The New Jersey Athletic Conference announced its all-conference selections for football on Friday, and 10 Salisbury University student-athletes were selected, including three to the first team.
Seniors Malique Pratt and Blake Joppy, and sophomore Tyler Rosello were all named to the first team. Seniors Brandon Lewis, Zachary Wolfrey, Dakarai Ellis, and Tim Steindl, and junior Andrew Houck were second-team picks, while senior Brady Curley and sophomore Keith Payne were honorable mention honorees.
Pratt, Salisbury's starting superback in 2017, rushed for a team-high 702 yards during the regular season and seven touchdowns. His 47-yard rumble in the regular-season finale against Frostburg State University in the fourth quarter, tied the game and sent it to overtime. This season, Pratt has rushed for 6.88 yards per carry, which ranks 19th in the nation.
Joppy has been one of the most electric return men in the conference this year, earning his first-team nod on special teams. He has 12 kickoff returns this season, averaging 26.8 yards per return, which leads the NJAC and ranks 17th in the nation. On punts, he has fielded 28 returns, averaging 8.6 yards per return, which ranks fifth in the NJAC.
Rosello moved into the starting center spot on the offensive line this season, and started every game, leading the Sea Gulls to the eighth-best rushing offense in the nation, averaging 290.4 yards per game during the regular season.
Rosello's offensive linemate Houck made his first All-NJAC appearance, with his second-team pick. He started all 10 games in the regular season at the guard position, helping drive the running game while the offensive line allowed the fifth-fewest sacks among the NJAC teams.
The man Rosello and Houck protected, quarterback Lewis rushed for 625 yards, while finding the end zone nine times. He passed for 618 yards and six touchdowns, with a passing efficiency rating of 113.5.
The Salisbury defense was among the best in the nation in 2017, ranking 17th in Division III football in yards allowed and points allowed per game. Wolfrey anchored the linebacker position coming up with 30 tackles this season, including seven tackles for loss and one sack.
Ellis was a menace in the secondary, tallying 57 tackles – 37 of which were solo stops – from his corner back position, getting two interceptions and five pass breakups, 8.5 tackles for loss and a sack and half. He also forced a fumble and recovered one and was named the team's Mike McGlinchey Most Valuable Player from the Regents Cup game against Frostburg State.
Steindl has been key in the field position battle this season, as the team's punter on every opportunity. He had 41 punts during the regular season, averaging 38 yards per kick, with nine of them coming down inside the 20-yard line. He has four punts of more than 50 yards and ranks fourth in the league in punting avearge.
Curley, a slot back, makes his second honorable mention appearance, earning the honor last season, as well. In 2017, he has rushed for 474 yards and five touchdowns. He has also caught nine passes for a team-high 148 yards.
Payne, a defensive back, has made 32 tackles this season, with 3.5 for loss, while coming up with a team-high five interceptions. His 0.6 interceptions per game rank third in the NJAC and 33rd nationally.
The Sea Gulls close the 2017 season at the ECAC D3 Football Fest this Saturday, November 18. Salisbury will take on Ithaca College in the Scotty Whitelaw Bowl, beginning at 5 p.m.
To see the All-NJAC teams in their entirety, click here.