Foxborough, Mass., native collects honors after record setting weekend
EASTON, Mass. (November 16, 2011) – Stonehill College senior All-American Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass./Foxborough) has been named the D2Football.com National and Northeast-10 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in Saturday's 28-23 NE-10 victory at Assumption College to close out the season.
Neville collects the national Special Teams Player of the Week honors from D2Football.com for the first time in his career while collecting the NE-10 award for the second time this season (fourth career) after leading Stonehill to victory in his final collegiate game on Saturday. Neville posted a pair of kick returns for touchdowns, matching an NCAA All-Division record with his tenth career kickoff return for a score when he took the opening kickoff of the second half 77 yards to the end zone. He later added his first career punt return for a touchdown to put the Skyhawks in front for good with 6:21 remaining in regulation.
Neville racked up 234 total yards on returns in the game, while Stonehill finished with just 184 yards of total offense in the win. He posted 131 yards on three kickoff returns and another 103 yards on three punt returns. The 234 yards give him 3,175 career all-purpose yards, good for second all-time in Stonehill history behind former teammate Eddie Vachon (4,689). Neville also contributed a solo tackle on the defensive side of the ball in the win on Saturday.
Neville caps his career with a school-record 2,785 career kickoff return yards and his 11 combined kick returns for a score match the NCAA Division II record for total kick return scores set by Deante Steele of Shephard University from 2007-10 and are two shy of the NCAA All-Division mark of 13 set by Larry Beavers of Division III Wesley College. Neville, who broke the NCAA Division II record for kickoff returns for a touchdown earlier this season, matches Beavers' All-Divisions record for kickoff return scores (10) set from 2004-08. He also has a fumble return for a touchdown against Southern Connecticut State University in 2010, giving him 12 total runback touchdowns over his career at the College.
Neville, who became the 12th Stonehill student-athlete to appear in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of Sports Illustrated on September 26 after breaking Dave Ludy of Winona State University's NCAA Division II record for kickoff return touchdowns earlier this season, ranks seventh in Division II with a Northeast-10 best 29.8 yards per kickoff return by totaling 686 yards on 23 returns with two touchdowns. He ranks third in the NE-10 (19th nationally) by averaging 12.1 yards on punt returns, totaling 194 yards on 16 returns with the one touchdown. Neville finished the year third on the team with 918 all-purpose yards, adding 38 yards on an interception return to his totals above.
Neville, the first All-American in program history when he was named to the American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches' All-America Team as a junior, also earned All-New England and All-Northeast-10 honors as a kick returner after matching an NCAA Division II record with four kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2010. Neville led the NE-10 for the second-straight year by averaging 30.9 yards per kickoff return (3rd nationally), returning 25 kickoffs for 773 yards. Neville finished second on the team with 848 all-purpose yards, adding six punt returns for 38 yards and 37 interception return yards.
Neville has played 40 of a possible 41 games over his career and returned 88 kickoffs for 2,785 yards (31.65/return), with the ten returns for touchdowns. He ranks second in program history with 3,175 career all-purpose yards and has two career 94-yard touchdown returns, the first coming on the opening kickoff of a 23-21 win over then No. 24-ranked Bentley University in the final game of the 2009 season, with the latter coming against the University of New Haven in 2010. Neville led all of Division II when he averaged 36.7 yards per return his sophomore season.
Neville, a two time All-NE-10 selection at cornerback, has totaled 164 tackles (114 solo) over his career on defense for Stonehill, posting 5.5 career tackles for a loss, 12 interceptions with another 25 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Stonehill posted back-to-back wins to close out the 2011 season, finishing with a 4-7 record overall, including a 3-5 clip in Northeast-10 play to place sixth in the Conference standings.