Will Clinton, New York Become a Destination Opponents Fear?: Hamilton Football 2016 Season Preview

Who is going to be throwing the ball to Charles Ensley '17 this year for the Continentals? (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)
Who is going to be throwing the ball to Charles Ensley ’17 this year for the Continentals? (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)

Projected Record: 3-5

Projected Offensive Starters (*Five Returning)

QB: Cole Freeman ‘18

HB: Marcus Gutierrez ‘18

FB: Jason Nastovski ‘18*

WR: Charles Ensley ‘17*

WR: Chase Rosenberg ‘17

TE: Jordan Jenkins ‘17*

LT: Rob McClure ‘17*

LG: Stephen Kelley ‘19

C: (to be determined)

RG: Richie Nelli ‘19

RT: Matt Snider ‘17*

Projected Defensive Starters (*Nine Returning)

DE: Tyler Hudson ‘17*

DT: Nick Sobczyk ‘17*

DT: Poppy Green ‘17*

DE: Brent Lobien ‘17*

LB: Matt Glebus ‘17*

LB: Mickey Keating ‘17*

LB: Sean Tolton ‘19

CB: James Giattino ‘17*

SS: James Taylor ‘17

FS: Colby Jones ‘19*

CB: Conor Powers ‘17*

Projected Specialists (*Two Returning)

PK: Zach Altneu ‘18*

P: Billy Wagner ‘20

KR/PR: Alex Waugh ‘18*/Charles Ensley ‘17

Offensive MVP: WR Charles Ensley ‘17

Losing LaShawn Ware for the year is pretty brutal, but luckily 2015 All-NESCAC selection Charles Ensley is back for the Continentals. Ensley had 665 receiving yards last year, coming to an average of 83.1 Y/G, both of which were good enough to rank him at second in the league. The kid has wheels, which makes him a huge deep threat, so whoever ends up winning the quarterback competition (Cole Freeman ‘18 vs. Brandon Tobin ‘18) will be testing opposing secondaries to Ensley’s side of the field.

Defensive MVP: DE Brent Lobien ‘17

Brent Lobien wreaked havoc in the backfield last year, evidenced by his nine and a half TFL and five sacks. He had the third-most tackles on the Hamilton defense, and he forced a fumble and recovered two. Simply put, Lobien is a ball hawk, and he will help lead Coach Murray’s defense along with the other three seniors on the Hamilton defensive line.

Biggest Surprise in Camp:

Chase Rosenberg ‘17 is no longer going to be taking snaps under center. Instead, the senior has moved to wide receiver where he looks to become a secondary target behind Ensley. Rosenberg is an athletic 6’1”, so it makes sense that he has made the move since the primary quarterback battle features Cole Freeman ‘18 and Brandon Tobin ‘18. It seems like this switch is happening more and more since the emergence of Julian Edelman as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Let’s just hope Rosenberg’s quarterback, whether it turns out to be Freeman or Tobin, doesn’t get unfairly punished by league officials like Edelman’s has been…

Biggest Game: vs. Bowdoin, October 15th, 12:00pm

Hamilton ended the year on a high note by winning two of their last three games, but they are faced with a tough schedule to start the year as they face Amherst, Wesleyan and then Trinity. That’s why their matchup with Bowdoin in week four is the most important game on their schedule. It’s unlikely that they get through the first three unscathed, so getting back on track with a win at home against Bowdoin will be monumental for the Continentals.

Best Tweet:



What killed Hamilton last year was their 0-5 start. Though the Continentals have won 2 of their last 3 games, they travel to Amherst and Wesleyan before finally playing at home, where they will host Trinity. I wouldn’t say that’s the easiest first three games of the season. Luckily, the Bantams have a significantly easier final 5 games: vs. Bowdoin, at Colby, vs. Williams, vs. Middlebury, at Bates. Bowdoin and Colby will likely be two of the worse teams in the league this year, and it is especially important that Hamilton has a home game following their tough opening stretch. Williams’ new coach, Mark Raymond, is a very highly touted head coach who had a great deal of success at St. Lawrence over the last 6 years. However, Raymond was only hired in February, so he has had limited time to work with his players, something the Continentals are hoping to take advantage of. Middlebury should be down this year compared to recent years after suffering the losses of Matt Minno ‘16 and Matt Milano ‘16, and writer Liam O’Neil is actually putting Middlebury on upset alert in this Week 7 matchup as shown in his Top 10 games of 2016 article last week. Playing at Bates is never easy, but Coach Murray’s squad could be in the midst of a hot streak at this point, so anything could happen.

It’s important to remember, however, that if Hamilton wants to win these games, they are going to need to make some huge strides on offense. They ranked dead last in YPG last year, in large part due to their abysmal rushing attack, which gained just 2.3 yards per carry last year! Simply put, Hamilton could not string together drives last year, evidenced by their league worst 15.1 first downs per game. And even when the Hamilton offense did manage to get into scoring positions, they struggled to convert those chances into points. Though the sample size is small (6 attempts), Hamilton only hit 16.7% of their field goals – in other words, they hit ONE FIELD GOAL last year. For a team with a pretty respectable defense, getting 3 points where you can is crucial. For example, in their opener against Tufts, the Continentals lost by 3 points in overtime. They also missed two field goals.

On the defensive side of the ball, however, Hamilton is in very good shape once again. They do lose their top two tacklers, but defensive end Brent Lobien ‘17 and linebacker Matt Glebus ‘17 are back to anchor the Hamilton defense along with seven other returning starters. Coach Murray is confident that their defense can keep them in games (they were 5th in the conference in points allowed) and I understand why. This is an experienced group (9 of the 11 starters are seniors), and they play a physical style of football that starts up front. Lobien and defensive tackle Nick Sobczyk ‘17 tied for fourth in the league with 5 sacks last year, and the other end Tyler Hudson ’17 was right behind them with 4 sacks. This group can get pressure on the quarterback, so the question becomes whether or not the offense can convert defensive stops into points. As of now, it’s hard to say yes, but maybe Hamilton can prove people wrong this year.

The Cream Will Rise: The Weekend Preview

No team impressed more last week than Jeff Devanney's Trinity squad. (Courtesy of Robert LeBel)
No team impressed more last week than Jeff Devanney’s Trinity squad. (Courtesy of Robert LeBel)

Well, we went 4-1 in our predictions last week, but pretty much nothing went as expected. We got the Williams-Bowdoin game wrong. It seems as if the Ephs just have the Polar Bears figured out. They’ve now outscored Bowdoin 63-7 over the past two seasons. The Bantams won pretty handily as we thought they would, but we didn’t foresee a shutout coming. Hamilton forced OT before eventually falling to Tufts and QB Chase Rosenberg ’17 went completely bananas throwing the football. We got the spread on the Amherst-Bates game fairly close, so I guess that’s a check in the win column for the NbN staff. But the kicker was really Middlebury-Wesleyan, the Week 1 Game of the Week. I went for an ambitious 35-14 prediction in favor of the Panthers, and while they were able to rack up four TDs, the final score was much closer than I thought it would be.

So let’s take another shot. Week 1 provided us with some good information that will shed some light on the coming weekend.

Four to Watch

1. Wesleyan RB LaDarius Drew ’15
If you just look at the box score, you might think that Jaylen Berry ’18 has taken over as the Cardinals’ feature back, having garnered 122 yards on 21 carries as opposed to Drew’s 35 yards on six carries. However, that Drew didn’t enter the game until the second quarter was suspicious. There must have been a reason that Drew was held out for the first quarter – and I don’t know what it is, but I think it was predetermined for Drew to sit out the first quarter. Whether that’s true or not, by the time he entered the game against Middlebury, Berry had gotten rolling and there was no reason to stop him. I think Drew gets back into the action early on this weekend, and there should be plenty of rushing yards to go around for the Wesleyan backs tomorrow against Hamilton.
2. Hamilton QB Chase Rosenberg ’17
As a freshman and sophomore, Rosenberg started nearly every game, but as a team the Continentals found very little success. He was supplanted by transfer Brandon Tobin ’18 for the start in Week 1 and saw some limited action in the game’s first half, but a leg injury sent Tobin to the sidelines for good just before halftime. Rosenberg couldn’t have capitalized on his chance any better, going 14-23 for 301 yards and three touchdowns and no picks. Rosenberg will likely be the signal-caller tomorrow, so the pressure is on to keep up this level of play.
3. Middlebury RB Jonathan Hurvitz ’17
Head Coach Bob Ritter believes that Middlebury will be able to have an effective rushing attack as the season goes on, but the Panthers showed no evidence of that in Week 1. The passing game was working for Middlebury against Wesleyan in the second half, so it made since to continue to air it out, but 0.45 yards per rush is simply not going to cut it going forward. Hurvitz is the lead back for Middlebury, but Diego Meritus ’19 will see plenty of touches, too, and Matt Cardew ’18 – though he didn’t see the field against Wesleyan – could still make an impact.
4. Williams LB Russell Monyette ’17
Where did this guy come from? Monyette barely played a year ago, but in Week 1 he led the Ephs with six tackles, one for a loss, while filling in for the injured James O’Grady ’16. No word yet on whether O’Grady will be back for Week 2, and if he is we don’t know what Monyette’s role will be. Williams’ Week 2 opponent, Trinity, will look to pound the ball on the ground with multiple weapons, so the onus will be on the Williams linebacking corps to stop this multi-faceted attack.

Game Previews

Bowdoin (0-1) at Amherst (1-0): Amherst, Massachusetts, 1:00 PM

These are two teams coming off of vastly different Week 1 performances. Going into enemy territory is going to be a big challenge for Bowdoin. However, I think both teams regress towards the mean somewhat this week. We’re just learning what Reece Foy ’18 can do as the Amherst QB, and he might turn out to be as good as he was in Week 1, but don’t expect him to look great every single time out. As for the Polar Bears, there wasn’t much to like last Saturday. Still, I think another week to learn a new system, get comfortable with a new coach and to work out some kinks will prove to make a big difference. Will it be enough, though, to surprise the LJs? Doubtful.

Prediction: Amherst 31-Bowdoin 7

Wesleyan (1-0) at Hamilton (0-1): Clinton, NY, 1:00 PM

The Continentals played some inspired football last weekend. Hamilton fans came away pleasantly surprised, I would imagine, and this week we’ve tipped our cap to Coach Dave Murray and crew. There’s reason to believe that things are be turning around in Clinton. That being said, Hamilton played what might have been its best game and still lost to a middling Tufts squad. Meanwhile, Wesleyan looked very tough against Middlebury. I’m extremely impressed by how Coach Dan DiCenzo was able to get a green group so ready to play in Week 1, and that rushing attack is simply deadly. I think the good Hamilton vibes take a big hit this weekend, unfortunately. It’s going to get better, but this game could be ugly.

One thing I can’t predict is who will lead the rushing attack for the Cardinals, but I expect it will be as potent as in Week 1. WR/Wildcat QB Devon Carrillo ’16 is looking like a staple in the Cards’ attack as a sweep/option threat. I wonder if they might try to get him the ball in space with some screens out of the slot this week, as he had zero receptions against Middlebury.

Prediction: Wesleyan 33 – Hamilton 7

Colby (0-1) at Middlebury (1-0): Middlebury, VT, 1:00 PM

At face value this looks like an easy contest for Middlebury. But wait, do I smell a trap game? The Panthers got beat up against a physical Wesleyan team, and next week is circled on their calendars as they will be traveling to Amherst. For some reason, I’ve got a feeling that Middlebury is still shaking off the cob webs a little bit. The statistics don’t necessarily suggest that (except for the aforementioned rushing problems), but the offense doesn’t look to be a full steam yet. Defensively, the nearly 300 rushing yards allowed in Week 1 was very disappointing. That should get better, but will it happen this week? And for Colby, the questions are endless. Nothing went right against Trinity. What happened to that two-headed monster at tailback? And how was Trinity able to rip through the Mules’ D so easily? Perhaps they’ll do better against an aerial attack than they fared against Trinity’s ground game. But I don’t think they do well enough to overcome the home team.

Prediction: Middlebury 28 – Colby 17

Williams (1-0) at Trinity (1-0): Hartford, CT, 1:30 PM

The Ephs surprised us with a beatdown of the Polar Bears last week, but they did the same thing in Week 1 a year ago and ended up 2-6. Will this be a repeat of Williams’ 2014 campaign, or was the 27-7 win in Week 1 truly a statement of a new and improved Ephs squad?

I tend to lean towards the former. Maybe this team is better than a year ago, but I also think Trinity is elite. The cream is going to continue to rise to the top in the NESCAC, and I think that divide will become a lot clearer this week with Trinity, Middlebury, Wesleyan and Amherst all picking up wins. Oops, I guess I just spoiled my prediction…

Prediction: Trinity 38 – Williams 7

Road Teams Rule Week One: Football Stock Report 9/28

After what seemed like an eternity, NESCAC football returned in triumphant glory on Saturday, and a lot of what we anticipated came to fruition, but there were many surprises, as well.

Today we give you the risers and fallers in our estimation, as well as a few game notes from each contest.

Stock Up:

Hamilton Offense

Tufts isn’t the most stout defense in the NESCAC, but you still have to be impressed with how the Continentals moved the ball and the play of QB Chase Rosenberg ’17 and WR Charles Ensley ’17. After starter Brandon Tobin ’18 succumbed to an injury early in the first half, Rosenberg (the starter for the past two seasons) came on and proceeded to go 14-23 (69.9%) for 301 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Ensley was on the opposite end of 107 of those yards, and displayed some top-notch athleticism with some of his grabs. His teammate, Pat Donahoe ’16, actually tallied even more yards – 174, to lead the NESCAC – so there may yet be some life in this Continental offense. We’ll wait and see whether or not Tobin returns, and how that might shake up the QB situation.

Connecticut Schools

Despite the loss, the Cardinals proved on Saturday that they still belong to the league’s upper echelon. The Cards ran all over Middlebury, and newly-minted QB Gernald Hawkins ’18 flashed potential throwing the ball, though the results were subpar on Saturday. The defense looks like it barely dropped off, and when you can control the clock and move the ball on the ground as effectively as Wesleyan, you always have a chance to win. Panthers players returned from this one bearing rave reviews of the Wesleyan team as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Bantams looked like they were playing a Pop Warner team on Saturday. A 34-0 win on the road, 439 yards of total offense and only 159 yards allowed. Enough said.

Williams QB Austin Lommen ’16

Expectations are great for former D-I players that transfer down to D-III, and that was true for Lommen last year. The BC transfer was about average last year, completing 60.1 percent of his passes and racking up seven touchdowns against nine picks, but it might be time to buy in on the righty. Lommen went 20-30 (66.7%) for 288 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. Lommen managed the offense well, and the Ephs went 6-8 on third downs in the first half, most of them courtesy of throws by Lommen.

Stock Down:

Bates O-line

Yes, the Bobcats were matched up against an elite D-line from Amherst, but still, their performance in the trenches does not bode well for the rest of the season. Bates needs to churn up yards on the ground in order to win (with the occasional shot downfield to Mark Riley ’16). The Bobcats’ backs gathered 199 yards on the ground on Saturday, but 80 of those came on one Shaun Carroll ’16 scamper. Take that out, and the Bobcats rushed for 119 yards on 45 attempts – a 2.6 YPC average.

Colby Backs

Along the same lines as the above, the Mules were unable to consistently move the ball on the ground. QB Christian Sparacio ’18 had the most success of any ball carrier, racking up 30 yards on seven carries. We are still expecting big things from classmates Jabari Hurdle-Price ’17 and Carl Lipani ’17, but it looked like Colby just ran headfirst into a brick wall against Trinity.


Just to complete the Maine college trifecta, Bowdoin has to go in this spot. The offense was stagnant, and Tyler Grant ’16 didn’t get many opportunities with the Polar Bears trailing for much of their game against Williams. The loss of RB Trey Brown ’16 to injury will prove to be costly, as the Bowdoin coaches were hoping to be able to spell Grant far more this year than last – but alas, it was not to be. It was not a good opener for anyone in the black and white.

Game Notes:

Middlebury 28 at Wesleyan 25

Well, it wasn’t easy, but the Panthers hung on to go 1-0. Matt Milano ’16 wasn’t at his best early on, but was still very, very good. It was interesting that Jared Lebowitz ’18 got just one series. His entry into the game was pre-determined, but we don’t know what went into the decision to not use him for the rest of the game. Regardless, the passing game wasn’t the issue for Middlebury. The running game, however, was not effective. Somehow, the Panthers need to figure out a way to become a multi-dimensional team. They like to use screens to substitute for old-fashioned hand offs, but you still have to be able to give it to your back and let him work once in awhile.

On the other side of the field, Wesleyan competed until the very last. Hawkins has loads of potential at QB, despite his struggles throwing. He’s a fantastic athlete, and when he took off for one 17-yard dash up the gut my jaw physically dropped. Obviously, he’ll need to work on throwing the ball – sort of important for a quarterback. As for the running game, I was really shocked that Jaylen Berry ’18 was used as the feature back, carrying the ball 21 times to LaDarius Drew’s ’15 six carries and Lou Stevens’ ’17 two – not because I doubt the youngster’s ability, but because he supplanted two former All-NESCAC First Teamers as the go-to guy on Saturday. That being said, I would not be surprised if next week Drew ran the ball 25 times for 150 yards, and the same can be said about Stevens. Furthermore, Devon Carrillo ’16 continues to be a threat with his legs in many ways – out of the Wildcat, multiple back sets and on sweeps. Defensively, I have to give a shout out to DE Jordan Stone ’16. He’s a physical beast and had a great game and it showed on the stat sheet as Stone gathered 2.5 sacks.

Amherst 37 at Bates 14

Amherst WR Nick Widen '17 and the LJs took care of Bates with ease. (Courtesy of Bates Athletics/Phyllis Graber Jensen)
Amherst WR Nick Widen ’17 and the LJs took care of Bates with ease. (Courtesy of Bates Athletics/Phyllis Graber Jensen)

I didn’t watch any game as closely as I did Middlebury-Wesleyan, but nonetheless there was much to be learned from every contest. Reece Foy ’18 got the start for Amherst, and – this is the surprising part – played every snap at QB. Last season Foy and Alex Berluti ’17 opened the season in a time-share until Max Lippe ’15 came back from an injury. That Foy was able to do enough in camp to completely takeover the gig says something in and of itself. Also of note, Kenny Adinkra ’16 got the lion’s share of the carries and was more productive than Nick Kelly ’17. Will that last, or will Kelly return to 2014 form and takeover the feature role as he was expected to do. OR, will the super-talented Jack Hickey ’19 start stealing away more carries?

For Bates, I know that the triple-option is the staple of their offense, but Mark Riley is just incredible. The Bobcats completed 11 passes for 117 yards, and seven of those catches went to Riley for 87 yards. I don’t think that if you put a prime-age Randy Moss on any team in the NESCAC he would take as large of a proportion of the catches as Riley does.

Williams 27 at Bowdoin 7

For the second straight year the Ephs stomped on the Polar Bears. (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics/CIPhotography.com)
For the second straight year the Ephs stomped on the Polar Bears. (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics/CIPhotography.com)

Not much went right for the Polar Bears in Week 1. I don’t know whether to credit Lommen or crucify the Bowdoin secondary for the Ephs’ success through the air. Overall, I’m reserving judgement on the Polar Bears.

For Williams, though, you have to feel good about this start. Maybe they’ve put something together in Williamstown right under our noses. Although, I vaguely remember writing something to the same effect one year ago after Williams’ 36-0 beatdown of Bowdoin in Week 1. Maybe Coach Aaron Kelton just has the Polar Bears’ numbers. Maybe he’s taping opposing coaches’ signals with a cell phone camera, and 15 years from now, when Coach is getting fitted for his fourth NESCAC Championship ring, and the twilight is setting on a decorated career, NESCAC officials will bust down the door and point a finger at him and call him a cheater for doing exactly what every other team in the league was doing…

I’m sorry, I wasn’t planning that. (And there’s definitely no illegal filming going on anywhere in the NESCAC.)

Trinity 34 at Colby 0

With Joe Moreno ’19, sadly, out yet again with a torn ACL, Nick Gaynor ’17 has become the team’s top back. From a fantasy perspective though, this is a tricky situation, as Gaynor, Ethan Suraci ’18 or QB Sonny Puzzo ’18 could be the team’s leading rusher any given week. I particularly don’t think Gaynor will see many goal line touches. Gaynor is a converted wideout, and Suraci is a much bigger body. Max Chipouras ’19 – who had just two touches – got a goal line TD on Saturday instead of Gaynor. No matter who’s behind him, the return of Puzzo under center is going to be huge for Trinity. Henry Foye ’16 did a great job when healthy last year, but I think that Puzzo brings elite talent to the QB position.

Tufts 24 at Hamilton 21

The best game of the day came between two perennial doormats that look to be rising from the ashes. Tufts already took the first step a year ago by going 4-4, but with the Jumbos still 0-infinity in their last infinity chances on the road, the Continentals were feeling really good about their chances. And with newly-transferred QB Tobin at the helm, it appeared that Chapter 1 of the fairytale was under way.

Then Tobin left the game with an ankle injury, and everything fell into the hands of Rosenberg, the beleaguered vet. And boy, did he respond.

Rosenberg matched a career-high with his 301 passing yards, the program’s fifth-highest single-game mark. His 21.5 yards per completion and 13.1 yards per attempt were Hamilton records. He threw three TD passes, all in the span of 12 plays in the second half. His receivers, namely Donahoe and Ensley, made some spectacular plays, but let’s give all the credit in the world to Rosenberg for his stellar performance.

Alas, the Hamilton offense could not punch it in with the first possession of overtime. K Zach Altneu ’18 boomed his field goal attempt through the uprights, but Tufts Head Coach Jay Civetti was able to call a timeout just in time, forcing Altneu to kick again, and this time he pushed it wide left.

The Jumbos were conservative on their possession, moving the ball to the six-yard line before Snyder took a five-yard loss to position the football right in the middle of the field. K Willie Holmquist ’17 came up clutch for the Jumbos, who celebrated their first road victory since Oct. 3, 2009.

Aside from Rosenberg, CB Jimmy Giattino ’17 was a beast defensively for Hamilton and DL Tyler Hudson ’19 had an impressive debut. Last year’s tackle-leader John Phelan ’16 saw limited action, rotating with Mickey Keating ’17 at linebacker. We believe Head Coach Dave Murray is trying to protect Phelan who was banged up considerably during camp, but only time will tell if this timeshare continues. And lastly, Tobin’s ankle injury appears to be minor, which keeps the QB conversation in Clinton very intriguing. However, after a performance like that, how Rosenberg could not get the keys to the car for at least one more week is a mystery to me.

And in case you missed it, every road team won! Can you believe it? I don’t know how long it’s been since that happened in the NESCAC. Maybe between the 47 assignments I have this week and the job search I’ll try to procure that information.

It’s good to be back.

Final Preseason Power Rankings

The Panthers - as expected - top our 2015 Preseason Power Rankings. (Photo by Joe MacDonald
The Panthers – as expected – top our 2015 Preseason Power Rankings. (Photo by Joe MacDonald

Editor’s Note:

Below Contributor Nick DiBendetto gives us the first of our weekly installments of our Power Rankings. DiBo will be our Power Ranker, if you will, for the remainder of the 2015 football season. These rankings are as up-to-the-minute as you get, and could reflect the newest information available and any discussions had among the editors and contributors. Admittedly, though, these preseason ranks do follow our projected records (included in parentheses) fairly closely. Check back weekly to see how each team has moved through the ranks.

1. Middlebury (8-0)

We have projected Middlebury to be the outright NESCAC Champions, something they have not done since 2007. The team looks strong with plenty of returners on both sides of the ball. They will be a very good, physical team. UNLV transfer Jared Lebowitz ’18, a 6’4″ Vermont native, will compete and push an already great senior quarterback in Matt Milano ’16. The Panthers are the safest bet at this point for a NESCAC title.

2. Amherst (7-1)

Amherst is coming off their fifth NESCAC Championship season, and is going to give the title another run. They boast running back Nick Kelly ’17, but they don’t seem to have a go-to guy at quarterback, which should make for two very difficult games against Trinity and Middlebury. Their typically strong offensive line looks nimble as ever this season, which could be big for Kelly.

3. Trinity (6-2)

The Bantams have a refined team this season with the addition of two serious offensive threats in quarterback Sonny Puzzo ’18, and 21 year-old rookie running back Joe Moreno ’19. The All-Time NESCAC Championship tally still belongs to Trinity with six titles, but they are planning to make it seven. This will be no easy task with Middlebury and Amherst right in the way, two teams that Trinity so badly wants redemption against. If Trinity’s anticipative offense can make some magic happen, the defense will grind out games – and the Coop may find itself basked in glory for one last time before Jessee/Miller Field is torn down for a renovation project.

4. Wesleyan (5-3)

This team was runner-up last year, but they are not returning many starters. Running back LaDarius Drew ’15 poses a lethal threat to opposing defenses. The quarterback race is not over, but there seems to be looming promise in quarterback Gernald Hawkins ’18, who comes from a football-rich area in West Park, FL which borders Miami. They kick the season off against Middlebury – which feels like a loss already, but don’t count them out too soon because Hawkins is a wild card and may have the Panthers biting their nails.

5. Tufts (4-4)

Tufts is coming off a .500 season, and does not seem to have any answers for becoming a winning team. There is reason to lack confidence in their quarterback, Alex Snyder ’17, who was average in limited play last season. If he is able to find some mojo within him Tufts could potentially get five wins this season. The defense looks solid, and look for Chance Brady ’17 to be leading the offensive rush. Don’t count the Jumbos completely out, but it does not look like they will display much improvement this season.

6. Colby (2-6)

The only real surprise in this week’s Power Ranks, the Mules are projected for a 2-6 record but could rise to greater heights. QB Gabe Harrington ’17 has potential to make big strides this season, the two-headed monster at running back should be one of the league’s best, and a few of the returners on defense are real difference-makers.

7. Bates (3-5)

The Bobcats have some playmakers this year, but it is a matter of if they can pull it together in time. Quarterback Pat Dugan ’16 hopes to stay healthy this season, and he will have some good receivers to throw to and experience behind him in his running backs. This team has talented players, but it is unlikely they will find themselves with a winning record come the end of November. I think they will give teams a real run for their money and even give a scare to some of the top dogs in the conference, but Bates is likely to crumble in the big moments due to their inexperience.

8. Williams (2-6)

The Williams offense looks solid this season with some weapons at TE, in particular, and a solid O-line to protect Austin Lommen ’16, the Boston College transfer. Their defense is going to be young, so that will really hurt them and their offense is unlikely to put up enough points to cope with the raw defense.

9. Bowdoin (3-5) 

The Polar Bears are hoping for Trey Brown ’16 to come out of hibernation and make a big impact at running back. After three ACL injuries in three years and then spending a year as a student trainer, Brown could spell Tyler Grant ’17 for significant portions of time. Beyond their Boobie Miles project there are many spots up for grabs. The Polar Bears do feature a lot of depth on the O-line, which could allow for Brown and quarterback Tim Drakeley ’17 to do some damage. Bowdoin’s new coach JB Wells is looking to turn this program around, but it will be no walk in the park.

10. Hamilton (0-8)

Last in the ‘CAC a year ago, Hamilton is determined to not go all season without winning a game again. They may be looking at QB Brandon Tobin ’18 to switch up the offensive gears and make gallant decisions. LaShawn Ware ’18 will come back as running back and is expected to have a very good season. In general, the team is more focused than ever and may actually upset a few teams, and a realistic goal for them would to get to .500.


Dreams Never Die: NESCAC Fantasy Football is Back!


We know you were hoping that we wouldn’t do this again. That we’d stop pretending that this is the NFL and just let the kids play. That we’d retire our make-believe fantasies of running an NFL organization and building a perennial championship competitor.

But we did it anyway.

This season, four opponents once again step up to the plate and compete for NESCAC Fantasy Supremacy – editors Joe MacDonald and Adam Lamont, longtime contributor Carson Kenney and newcomer Nick DiBenedetto.

The rules are basically the same as last year. We shrunk the roster size slightly, bringing it down to 14 players. We’ll be starting two each of QBs, RBs and WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB, WR, TE), a D/ST and a K. Each team has four bench spots.

With this week as an exception, player acquisitions will be made on Tuesdays every week via the very sophisticated method of group chat. The waiver order will always go in reverse order of the standings. If there is a tie in the standings the tiebreakers listed below will take affect.

The following two sections are basically copied verbatim from last year’s initial fantasy article:


Our scoring scheme is essentially the same as an ESPN standard league, so in the interest of saving time and space I won’t put down every point total here.
The only difference is in the points we award for passing. In ESPN standard leagues, QB’s receive one point for every 25 passing yards and four points for a TD pass. However, the NFL is much more pass happy than the NESCAC. Over the three years from 2011-2013 (I chose not to go through the tedious work of adding the 2014 information to this study), there were 316 passing touchdowns and 306 rushing touchdowns in the NESCAC, and 45,452 passing yards compared to 34,181 rushing yards. So, we decided to award six points for touchdowns of any kind (passing, rushing or receiving), and one point for every 20 passing yards as opposed to 25. Running backs and receivers earn one point for every 10 yards on the ground or through the air.
One other miscellaneous note: individual players do not receive points for kick returns. For example, Darrien Myers ’17 is one of the league’s best return men, but if he runs a kickoff back for a touchdown he will accrue no points, while the Trinity D/ST will receive six.

We will be competing in weekly head-to-head matchups. There are four teams, so each team will play each other team twice over the first six weeks. Weeks 7 and 8 will serve as a single-elimination playoff. The top seed will play the fourth seed, the second will play the third, and the winners of the Week 7 matchups will compete for the title.
First tie-breaker: Head-to-head record
Second tie-breaker: Most points in head-to-head matchups
Playoff tie-breaker: QB points
Second playoff tie-breaker: RB points
Third playoff tie-breaker: WR points

We’ve also added one new wrinkle to try and compensate for the most glaring inefficiency in NESCAC Fantasy Football – injuries. So, if an owner plays an individual who ends up not appearing in that week’s game, and there was no prior indication that he would not be playing (meaning that he played the entire game last week, and to the best of our knowledge was healthy going into the current Saturday), then the owner will receive the average of all the players on his bench who are eligible to play that position. Make sense? Good.

Below is how the draft itself shook out. Some picks might raise a few eyebrows. After each round there is a bit of analysis from one of the team owners.


Joe MacDonad: Middlebury QB Matt Milano ’16
Adam Lamont: Amherst RB Nick Kelly ’16
Carson Kenney: Wesleyan RB LaDarius Drew ’15
Nick DiBenedetto: Trinity RB Joe Moreno ’19

Joe: The NESCAC is a running back-heavy league. So I took the gunslinging Matt Milano. No one throws it quite as often or effectively as Middlebury, and that offense is loaded. I really wanted either Drew or Moreno in Round 2 (specifically Drew), but my competitors were too smart for that. Shocker. I also will be interested to see if Moreno can really return this level of value.


ND: Trinity WR Darrien Myers ’17
CK: Middlebury WR Matt Minno ’16
AL: Tufts RB Chance Brady
JM: Wesleyan RB Lou Stevens

Adam: Such a blatant homer pick by Nick to take Trinity WR Darrien Myers ’17 that you can’t help but love it. The Minno pick could be considered high for a WR, but he looks primed for a massive year the way he and Milano found chemistry down the stretch. I love Chance Brady, might have picked him a little high there at seven. Joe showed his respect for the Wesleyan offense by taking another Cardinals running back eighth.


JM: Bowdoin RB Tyler Grant
AL: Williams QB Austin Lommen
CK: Trinity QB Sonny Puzzo
ND: Colby QB Gabe Harrington

Carson: I got off to a great start in my opinion by snagging Drew and Minno, but I needed a quarterback. As a Trin alumn/current employee, obviously my allegiance is with the Bantams. Puzzo didn’t play at all last year so he should have a lot to prove. Word on the street is the kid is about to blow, and since he’ll get fantasy points through the air and on the ground, I thought he was a good choice at QB. Adam taking Lommen that early, in my opinion, was a bit of a panic pick.


ND: Bowdoin WR Dan Barone
CK: Bates WR Mark Riley
AL: Wesleyan QB Gernald Hawkins
JM: Colby RB Jabari Hurdle-Price

Nick: Mac’s pick in the fourth round looks promising. The Colby RB’s should have ample opportunities to put fantasy points on the board. Mark Riley seems to be Bates’ weapon, that may or may not work out for Carson as teams may stack Riley’s side. Adam went with a young Wesleyan QB in the fourth round, which could prove to be the pick of the draft. The Floridian knows what football is, but does he know how to play in the frozen tundras of the Coop. Gernald Hawkins could emerge as a big-time player this year. Lastly, Dan Barone is a solid pick as he should be a big contributor to Bowdoin’s offense at wide receiver.


JM: Middlebury WR Ryan Rizzo
AL: Colby WR Ryder Arsenault
CK: Middlebury RB Jonathan Hurvitz
ND: Amherst QB Alex Berluti

Joe: If you’ve read anything I’ve written about Middlebury this season, I’ve been hyping up Rizzo like you wouldn’t believe. Full disclosure, he’s a friend of mine, but he’s also a damn good football player. The caveat is that there are some other really good wideouts pushing him right now, and I could see Conrad Banky ’19 taking away some of his reps. But I think when the time comes, Rizzo will produce.


ND: Trinity TE Matt Hirshman
CK: Trinity WR Ian Dugger
AL: Tufts WR Mike Rando
JM: Tufts TE Nik Dean

Adam: Quickly getting into the part of the draft where we say, why not, I’ll take him. Hirshman didn’t have a catch last year so total trust pick. Carson also stays loyal to Trinity and makes a solid pick with Dugger. Then Joe and I go back to back with Tufts guys, two good picks. Nik Dean at tight end is a really good one for Joe because the NESCAC as a league does not tend to use tight ends in the passing game very often, and Dean should get consistent targets.


JM: Colby WR Mbasa Mayikana
AL: Bates Slotback Shaun Carroll
CK: Amherst TE Rob Thoma
ND: Wesleyan TE Ben Kurtz

Carson: I was confident in the team I had picked up to this point. Have a good group of receivers, two running backs I like, a QB, so I figured I needed a tight end. I wanted to take Hirshman since he’s a Bantam and is looking to have a big year, but DiBo had a stroke and forgot how to human, so I let him have him. Amherst is going to be good this year but they are inexperienced at QB. So why not throw quick passes to your TE? Also, I like Monty’s pick with Carroll. Could have a sneaky good year in Bates’s two slotback offense.


ND: Trin D/ST
CK: Amherst D/ST
AL: Amherst WR Jackson McGonagle
JM: Tufts QB Alex Snyder

Nick: I started off the eighth round with a flawless pick in the Trinity D/ST. The Bantams are on brink of another undefeated season, and if all goes well, the Trinity defense will be up to par. Trinity had a solid special teams last year, and Devanney welcomes in a true competitor in a freshman kicker. Carson followed in my footsteps, taking one of the other top defenses in the league. The Amherst defense is gritty and they are looking to repeat as undisputed NESCAC Champions. If all goes well for Amherst, this pick from CK will be the right one. Adam has a nice pick with Amherst wide reciever Jackson McGonagle, coming into his senior year he should be a threat, and we heard that he trained with a lot of D-I talent this summer – potential for consistent points there. Really uneasy about Joe’s pick here. Why go with a QB who is going to win one game this year!?!? Tufts QB Alex Snyder has seemed to grow exponentially since his freshman year, but I’d rather see Joe choose a winning QB.


JM: Hamilton RB LaShawn Ware
AL: Wesleyan K Ike Fuchs
CK: Wesleyan WR Neil O’Connor
ND: Williams RB Connor Harris

Joe: I like my pick better than the rest here. I actually think the Hamilton O can be middle of the pack, as Ware is a good runner, and whoever ends up starting for Hamilton – whether that’s Brandon Tobin or Chase Rosenberg – will be doing so because they had a promising camp. Either Rosenberg will have shown improvement, or Tobin will have come in and wrestled the starting job away. I do think Connor Harris could be a steal, though. He showed off his athleticism in the return game last season. Let’s see if that translates to the backfield now.


ND: Middlebury TE Trevor Miletich
CK: Trinity WR Nick Gaynor
AL: Williams TE Alex Way
JM: Trinity RB Ethan Suraci

Adam: The round started with Nick changing his pick from the Trinity freshman kicker who he couldn’t remember the name of to Middlebury’s tight end Trevor Miletich ’16. Ended up working out pretty nice for him. Then what felt like the 20th Trinity player came off the board. I grabbed my tight end in Alex Way, and then somehow Joe decided that it was necessary to take yet another Trinity player with his pick. Unless the Bantams score 100 points a game, some of these picks are going to look quite silly.


JM: Midd D/ST
AL: Tufts WR Ben Berey
CK: Middlebury K Charlie Gordon
ND: Trinity Kicker

Carson: I’m a big believer that kickers are the most underrated player on your fantasy team. A good kicker can get you an easy 10-12 points a week which can be huge in winning a matchup. I took Mason Crosby in the seventh round of my real life fantasy draft (which I’ve started out 0-2 so what do I know). Gordon should only have to worry about extra points for most of the year, or kicks from 30 yards or closer, so I’m optimistic he can get me quality points every week. Trinity Kicker is a funny name for a person but I trust Dibo knows what he’s doing.


ND: Middlebury RB Diego Meritus
CK: Middlebury QB Jared Lebowitz
AL: Hamilton WR Pat Donahue
JM: Bates QB Pat Dugan

Nick: Diego was my Middlebury RB pick out of the hat, but he is actually nasty after watching his highschool highlight film. Carson went with Middlebury’s hometown (sort of) hero. Jared Lebowitz is a big bodied sophomore QB who may not see the field due to Matt Milano, but I believe Lebowitz is up and coming. Backup QB’s are awkward picks, but in the 12th round he is a fine pick. Adam chose Pat Donahue. Joe went with the Bates senior which is a good pick to get a starting QB this late.


JM: Middlebury WR James Burke
AL: Colby RB Carl Lipani
CK: Bates Slotback Frank Williams
ND: Bowdoin QB Tim Drakeley

Joe: I think Burke is a steal here, and I actually had Banky on my mind but couldn’t pass up on Midd’s starting wideout opposite of Minno. Sure, maybe a bit of a homer pick, but I like Burke’s upside way more than anybody picked after him. Maybe Lipani will make me look like a fool, though, if he can seriusly cut into Hurdle-Price’s carries.


ND: Middlebury WR Tanner Contois
CK: Trinity QB Henry Foye
AL: Wes Defense/ST
JM: Amherst K Charlie Wall

Adam: Taking a Midd wide receiver late is never a bad pick since they throw the ball so often, even though Contois is pretty deep on the depth chart right now. I grabbed the Wesleyan Defense/ST, realizing my mistake of not grabbing one of Trinity, Middlebury, or Amherst too late. Wesleyan had a great defense a year ago, but that unit is almost entirely gone. I think that while the defense will take a step back, this will still be a good unit because of the talent on the roster and the coaching ability of the Wesleyan staff.

Continentals Hoping to Take the ‘CAC by Surprise: Hamilton Season Preview

LaShawn Ware '18 will be counted on, despite his youth, to be a workhorse for the Continentals. (Courtesy of Darryn Slover and Bates Athletics)
LaShawn Ware ’18 will be counted on, despite his youth, to be a workhorse for the Continentals. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

Editors’ Note: While 99 percent of the work done in these previews is credited directly to the author, the projected records are a decision made together by the editors, Adam and Joe. So if you don’t like it, blame us.

Projected Record: 0-8

Projected Starters


QB: Brandon Tobin ’18
RB: LaShawn Ware ’17
FB: Jason Nastovski ’18
WR: Patrick Donahoe ’16
WR: Charles Ensley ’17
TE: Jordan Jenkins ’17
LT: Robert McClure ’17
LG: Dylan Berardelli ’16
C: Nicholas Gustaitis’16
RG: Jeffrey Jenkins ’16
RT: Matthew Snider ’17


DE: Brent Lobien ’17
DT: Paul Green ’17 / Nick Sobczyk ’17*
DE: Tyler Hudson ’19
DL/LB: Mickey Keating ’17
LB: John Phelan ’16
LB: Cade Larabee ’16
LB: Matthew Glebus ’17
CB: Conor Powers ’17
CB: Jimmy Giattino ’17 / James Taylor ’17** (currently recovering from a hamstring injury, but will not be out long)
SS: Alex Mitko ’16
FS: Colby Powers ’19

*Green and Sobczyk figure to split time at defensive tackle
**Giattino will start while Taylor recovers from a hamstring injury, but the latter figures to takeover the starting role once healthy

Offensive MVP: RB LaShawn Ware

Ideally, QB Brandon Tobin ’18, Hamilton’s recent acquisition and the potential saving grace for the Continental offense, would be the pick. With the right man, Hamilton just might have enough leadership and tactical smarts to create a new offensive dynamic that churns out a better outcome. Realistically, LaShawn Ware will probably be the team’s MVP. He dominated the field last season and will no doubt lead Hamilton’s ground game yet again. The junior tops the team with 299 yards rushing and an average of 42.7 yards per game. Consequently, he boasts some impressive NESCAC rankings: Ware ranked second in the conference for rushes and 10th for yards per game. With his history on the squad, the RB has the experience and skill to launch the Hamilton offense into a more successful season than in past years.

Defensive MVP: LB John Phelan.

The senior finished seventh in the NESCAC with 68 tackles and 8.5 tackles per game and second for fumble recoveries. One never would have guessed that the Chicago-native was recruited by former head coach Steve Stetson as a quarterback. Phelan has led Hamilton’s defense since he became a starter in his sophomore year and, with his impressive resume and grueling dedication, will no doubt continue to (literally) crush the opposition.

Biggest Game: Hamilton’s home opener vs. Tufts (Sept. 26)

Last year the Continentals dropped their season opener—a game they anticipated winning—against the Jumbos, who until then held a sorry 31-game streak of losses.

“We can’t forget Tufts … We need to think about it every day,” Murray admitted.

The coaches and players alike certainly can’t ignore the ultimate result of their cockiness and mental mistakes that day. To be fair, Hamilton statistically out-played Tufts: the defense surrendered just 12 first downs and 236 total yards, while the offense gained 416 yards. But the Continentals struggled with their return game and were penalized 12 times for 117 yards, mistakes that could easily have been avoided with better ball safety and communication. In pre-season camp, Hamilton has deliberately focused on returns with the Tufts debacle in mind. Murray believes the Continentals are a different team this year, and hopefully they can prove their growth in the upcoming rematch.

QB Colin Pastorella '16 has an uphill battle if he is going to earn reps over incumbent Chase Rosenberg '17 and transfer Brandon Tobin '18.
QB Colin Pastorella ’16 (14) has an uphill battle if he is going to earn reps over incumbent Chase Rosenberg ’17 and transfer Brandon Tobin ’18.

Summary: Hamilton hasn’t won a game in nearly three years, when they just barely outscored Bowdoin. Ever since, the team has consistently trailed behind other NESCAC schools in rankings: Last year alone, Hamilton placed ninth in scoring, points per game, total offense, and yards per game, among other categories. Though the Continental defense was only sub-par in conference standings, it is clear that the offense sunk far below standards.

Yet, the looming threat of being cut from the squad sparked motivation and progress away from the seemingly accepted pattern of defeat. Between returning players and recruits, approximately 90 players filled the Hamilton roster at the end of last year, far above the 75-player limit. What more: No one, with the exception of recruited freshman, was safe. Though handfuls of upperclassmen left the team prior to camp, several players are still at risk for the chopping board before the season begins in two weeks.

The season’s hot button topic, however, is unquestionably the quarterback battle between Colin Pastorella ’16, Chase Rosenberg ’17 and Brandon Tobin ’18. Though Rosenberg has been the designated QB1 since the second week of his freshman year, two inconsistent seasons with a 0-16 record raises a few eyebrows. Pastorella was thrown into the game various times last season in attempts to save the Hamilton offense, but it seems that the current forerunner for the coveted spot is D-II Pace transfer Tobin. Tobin started three games at quarterback for Pace and before that was the Section I-AA Offensive MVP for New York. Coach Murray emphasized that creative skills in actual game settings—rather than seniority or loyalty based upon Hamilton experience—determined who starts against Tufts, but nothing is permanently set in stone.

“The bottom line is we’re looking for … someone who will do more than just not make bad plays,” Murray explained.

Aside from the QB controversy, much of Hamilton’s lineup remains steady under the captainship of Dylan Berardelli ’16 and Pat Donahoe ’16 on offense and Cade Larabee ’16 and Alex Mitko ’16 on defense. Offensively, the team believes that a new QB will create a different—more successful—dynamic with familiar team members. The offensive line lost All-NESCAC tackle Nick Noonan ’15, but the returning players—Berardelli, Jeff Jenkins ’16, Rob McClure ’17 and Matt Snider ’17 will continue to hold the line alongside Nicholas Gustaitis ’16 as center. Nick Caso ’16, Charles Ensley ’17 and Donahoe return at wide receiver, and Ware, the Continentals’ leading rusher and remaining running back from last year’s squad should be better than ever. Jason “Bane” Nostovski ’18, nicknamed for his intimidating figure and prowess, will take the majority of the snaps at fullback.

No player can truly replace all-NESCAC recipient Michael de Percin ’15, but Hamilton’s defense has much potential for a strong season. Phelan leads the pack of linebackers with by Matt Glebus ’17 and Larabee. Jimmy Giattino ’17 will take up CB while James Taylor ’17 recovers from an injury. The Continentals have showcased some of their best talent on the defensive end of the ball, and it’s doubtful this season will be an exception.

Already, Hamilton has shown improvement. In their scrimmage against D-I Cornell on Sept. 12, the Continentals defeated their opponents 7-0 (Cornell scored a touchdown, but the points were revoked due to excessive celebration). With any luck, the momentum built from this success will remain going into conference competition.

Biggest Surprise of Camp: Inevitable team cuts certainly scared players into mental and physical shape. Pre-season tests show that the players are stronger, faster, and generally fitter than last season.

“We actually look like a football team now,” Murray said.

The coaches and captains agree that competition has made everyone better, both on the field and in the locker room. “Practices are more intentional and more focused,” Captain Berardelli added. Players have expressed stronger commitment to the program, creating positive atmosphere among teammates. Should growth continue, it can and will ultimately benefit the culture of football at Hamilton and improve the team’s reputation from recent seasons.


Best Tweet of the Offseason: OL Coach Matt Wright

Breakout Players of 2015

No matter what level and in what sport, every year there are players who come seemingly out of nowhere to become superstars. Last year’s breakout studs included Middlebury QB Matt Milano ’16, Trinity RB Chudi Iregbulem ’15, Wesleyan RB Lou Stevens ’17, Bates WR Mark Riley ’16, Trinity DL Lyle Baker ’16 and Bates LB Mark Upton ’17 – and those were just the All-NESCAC First Teamers. Dozens of other players emerged to become integral cogs in their respective machines. Today we clue you in to a few players who could become studs in 2015. These choices are based off of talking to coaches, word of mouth, combing through statistics and the classic eyeball test. An added wrinkle: we’ve added our level of confidence in each player’s ability to take a big step forward this season.

Amherst DT Paul Johnson ’17

DT Paul Johnson (Courtesy of @AmherstCollFB)
DT Paul Johnson (Courtesy of @AmherstCollFB)

Confidence: High

Johnson was no slouch in 2014, playing in all eight games and recording 26 tackles and four sacks en route to All-NESCAC Second Team Honors. However, with some major pieces having graduated from the front seven, including defensive lineman Max Lehrman ’15, Johnson’s presence will be felt more than ever. The 300-pounder will anchor Amherst’s defensive line at nose guard.

Amherst DE Sam Caldwell ’16

DE Sam Caldwell (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)
DE Sam Caldwell (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

Confidence: Medium-High

Back-to-back with the Amherst d-linemen. As mentioned, Lehrman is out and Caldwell is in. Caldwell probably would have started last season but was slowed down by an injury. Expect the superior athlete to wreak havoc on opposing QBs. Caldwell is strong and if he gets free can run like a gazelle (for a defensive lineman). This unit will be scary once again.



Middlebury WR Ryan Rizzo ’17

WR Ryan Rizzo (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)
WR Ryan Rizzo (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)

Confidence: High

You might point to Rizzo’s 29 catches last season, second on the Panthers, and say that by definition 2015 won’t be a breakout. But if you dive in closer, you’ll also see that former teammate Grant Luna ’17 – sidelined by concussions – was next on the Panthers with 27 catches. Why is this important? Because both guys played the same position last season, and Rizzo did nearly all of his damage – 27 of those catches – in the season’s last four games. If he’s healthy – and he did deal with a lower body injury during the spring and summer – he could, hypothetically, double his catches this season. Matt Minno ’16 is likely to draw some double teams outside, meaning the lightning-quick Rizzo will have room to work from the slot.
Also, check out the kid’s new track and buy it on iTunes. He catches passes, hits baseballs and spits fire rhymes.


Wesleyan Swiss Army Knife Devon Carrillo ’17


Devon Carrillo (Courtesy of Devon Carrillo's Twitter @TAZZ_Devil8)
Devon Carrillo (Courtesy of Devon Carrillo’s Twitter @TAZZ_Devil8)

Confidence: Low

This confidence rating is not based on a lack of talent, but rather the fact that Carrillo probably didn’t know where he was going to play when he came into camp last week – and he still may not know. In 2013 Carrillo was a dangerous return man (15 kicks for a 25.7 average and eight punts for 7.1 yards per return) and the team’s second-leading tackler with 35. Last year Carrillo found himself mainly running Wildcat QB and returning a few kicks (though there weren’t many returns to be had for last year’s Cardinals). I don’t know what to expect out of Carrillo, and Coach Dan DiCenzo has been very coy about his plans for the junior, but I think he will make a big impact, especially with so many holes to fill for the Cardinals. My best guess is that Carrillo becomes a versatile outside backer while still potentially running a few Wildcat plays.

Colby WR Mbasa Mayikana ’18

WR Mbasa Mayikana (Couresty of Sarah Crosby/Bates College Athletics)
WR Mbasa Mayikana (Couresty of Sarah Crosby/Bates College Athletics)

Confidence: Medium

Mayikana is another wideout that was good last season – 20 receptions for 193 yards – but there’s potential this season for so much more. Two big-time targets graduated in Luke Duncklee ’15 and Nick Joseph ’15, so Mayikana likely becomes the No. 2 to Ryder Arsenault ’17. Mayikana is also a track star, and he has the ability to stretch defenses, despite lacking great height (roughly 6’0″ or 6’1″).

Hamilton QB Brandon Tobin ’18

QB Brandon Tobin (Courtesy of Pace University Athletics)
QB Brandon Tobin (Courtesy of Pace University Athletics)

Confidence: Low-Medium

All too often fans and media (whoops) get too excited about higher-level transfers coming in and saving the program. However, in this case there is an opportunity for the local (he’s from New York so that counts) boy to make good. Tobin arrives from D-II Pace University, where he was solid but unspectacular as a rookie in six games. (Read about his decision here.) However, while incumbent QB Chase Rosenberg ’17 gets some leeway for having to learn two offenses in two seasons, his overall performance has not been very impressive. Quarterbacks are always saddled with the weight of a team’s wins and losses, and the Continentals have done nothing but lose the past two seasons. It’s possible that Head Coach Dave Murray will try rolling the dice with Tobin if he does well enough in camp.

Bowdoin QB Tim Drakeley ’17

QB Tim Drakeley (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)
QB Tim Drakeley (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)

Confidence: High

Confidence is high that Drakeley takes on an expanded role – we know, barring injury, that he will be starting. How good can he be is a wide open question. Don’t expect the junior to start flinging it around like the QBs for Middlebury and Tufts, but he throws a good ball and moves well enough in the pocket. It’s a new offense for Bowdoin this season, but they’ll still rely heavily on the run, so Drakeley just needs to be efficient for this offense to work.


NY QB Brandon Tobin to Transfer to Hamilton College for 2015 Season

Brandon Tobin '18 will join Hamilton College this fall to play quarterback. (Courtesy of Pace University Athletics)
Brandon Tobin ’18 will join Hamilton College this fall to play quarterback. (Courtesy of Pace University Athletics)

Brandon Tobin ’18 started three games at quarterback for Division-II Pace University this past season as a true freshman, and before that was the Section I-AA Offensive MVP in the state of New York as a senior at Arlington High School.

In 2015, Tobin will be taking snaps as a member of the Hamilton Continentals.

Tobin joins a long list of higher-division quarterbacks to join the NESCAC over the past half decade, which includes two-time NESCAC Offensive MVP McCallum Foote ’13 (via Brown), Williams’ starting QB Austin Lommen ’16 (Boston College), Colby backup Michael Ecke ’17 (UCONN) and the incoming Jared Lebowitz ’17 (UNLV).

The 6’1″, 200 lbs. righty signal-caller will complete the spring semester at Pace University, focusing on lifting and finishing strong academically before turning his attention toward learning the Hamilton playbook this summer and joining the Continentals in the Fall.

According to Arlington High School Head Coach Dom DeMatteo, Tobin showed an ability to pick up the offense quickly as a junior for the Admirals, but ceded time early on to a senior at quarterback. By the fourth week of Tobin’s junior season, DeMatteo was unable to keep Tobin off of the field, and the junior began playing more and more snaps as the season went along. As a senior Tobin spent the entire season as the Admirals’ undisputed starting quarterback and leader.

Nor was Tobin a one-way player. According to DeMatteo, Tobin earned the starting job at field corner with ease as a junior, and were it not for the need to be cautious with the team’s future star QB, Tobin’s toughness would have allowed him to move to linebacker.

And, lest we forget, Tobin also dabbled in punting, kickoffs and placekicking.

The last of which did not come easy to Tobin. Realizing a void at the kicking position, DeMatteo decided to have Tobin try out his leg. The first day was pretty unsuccessful, but DeMatteo says that Tobin went home that night, researched placekicking and came back the next day looking like a professional.

Tobin admits that he spent three to four hours watching YouTube videos that night in an effort to improve his placekicking.

Coach DeMatteo put it quite simply.

“He’s not just a quarterback. He’s a football player.” – Arlington HS Head Coach Dom DeMatteo

That is an easily tossed around cliché but one that certainly applies to Tobin.

But for Tobin, the moniker “student-athlete” means something, which was the NY native’s primary motivation for deciding to transfer from Pace.

When first looking at colleges, Hamilton was on the shortlist of schools that Tobin and his family had to decide among, but in the end the opportunity to play under scholarship at Division-II Pace became a deciding factor.

Brandon Tobin signing his national letter of intent to play football at Pace University in March 2014. (Courtesy of Arlington High School Athletics)
Brandon Tobin signing his national letter of intent to play football at Pace University in March 2014. (Courtesy of Arlington High School Athletics)

After a semester in which Tobin was unimpressed by the academic landscape at his current school, Tobin decided to pursue his release from Pace and began searching for a new home. The QB also stressed that his decision was not driven by football, but rather was based primarily on his desire to challenge himself academically.

Now that the decision is final, it is time to turn our attention to next season and decipher what this means for the Hamilton College football program.

Current sophomore Chase Rosenberg ’17 will be the incumbent at quarterback for Head Coach Dave Murray, who chose not to comment on the news of Tobin’s transfer. However, with the Continentals coming off of an 0-8 year in Murray’s first at the helm, one has to believe that nothing will be guaranteed to any of the returning players.

Tobin stated that Murray had not promised the transfer anything in terms of playing time, but certainly allowed that there would be an opportunity for Tobin to compete for a starting job with Rosenberg once camp opens.

For Tobin’s part, he has not seen Hamilton play with Rosenberg under center, nor has he spoken to his future teammate, but he looks forward to the position battle that will take place this Fall.

Tobin, it would seem, has the skills to play in the NESCAC. As a senior at Arlington, Tobin threw eight touchdowns and secured eight more on the ground, compiling over 1,400 yards of total offense. In his first season at Pace the results were much more varied, but his 17-35 (48.6 percent), 1-0 TD-INT performance against Southern Connecticut State provides a glimpse of what the righty can do.

Aside from the statistics, Tobin should be a great addition for a team that will need to stay committed despite a history of poor performance. According to DeMatteo, Tobin is the rare type of player that combines his athletic gifts with the ability to lead both vocally and by example. Since taking over at Arlington in 2007, DeMatteo has not had a more complete football player.

“[He was the] best compete package, intelligent, athletic, physical, could make all the throws on the field. There was really nothing that we asked Brandon to do on the field that he could not do.” – Dom DeMatteo

The recent lack of success for Hamilton did not deter Tobin, who encountered a similar situation when he enrolled at Pace last year, where he joined a program in the midst of a coaching change looking to turn over a new leaf. Now, Tobin hopes to be part of a rebirth for the Hamilton program under Dave Murray, and the transfer is excited to play for his new coach and the Hamilton staff.

Coach DeMatteo feels strongly that a wave of success is coming for Tobin and his new team.

“I sincerely believe that Hamilton College hit a home run with this kid.” – Dom DeMatteo

As for Tobin, he stuck to his humble nature and refrained from predicting the heights that his new team will achieve, saying only,

“I’m very thankful to be given the opportunity.” – Brandon Tobin