Ten Football Players Earn All-NESCAC Honors

(L-R): Senior All-NESCAC selections Wesley Becton, Kevin Hopsicker, Jared Lebowitz and John Jackson.
(L-R): Senior All-NESCAC selections Wesley Becton, Kevin Hopsicker, Jared Lebowitz and John Jackson.

COMPLETE NESCAC RELEASE

Ten members of the Middlebury football program were named to the All-NESCAC teams when the league announced its postseason honors. Seniors Wesley Becton (Elmhurst, Ill.) and Kevin Hopsicker (Delmar, N.Y.), along with junior Conrado Banky (Katy, Texas) and sophomores Frank Cosolito (Medfield, Mass.) and Kevin Woodring (Norwalk, Conn.) were each named to the first team. Seniors John Jackson (Hood River, Ore.), Jared Lebowitz (Burlington, Vt.), juniors Connor Roche (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Jimmy Martinez (Maplewood, N.J.) and sophomore Martin Williams (Chestnut Hills, Mass.) each earned a spot on the second team. The group helped lead the Panthers to a 7-2 season and a NESCAC runner-up finish in 2017.

Becton earned his first all-conference award after leading the team with 62 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for lost yardage this season. He also had an interception, while forcing and recovering a fumble. His 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss were both third in the NESCAC. The linebacker made a season-high 11 tackles in the season-ending win over Tufts on November 11, picking up 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for lost yardage in the game. Becton ends his career with 167 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks to go along with six interceptions, while playing in all 33 games.

Hopsicker also picks up his first All-NESCAC laurel, ending the season with 42 stops to go along with a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown. The defensive back made a season-best eight tackles in the October 7 win at Amherst, including an interception for a touchdown. The safety made 140 tackles in his career, playing in all 33 games. He also finished with seven interceptions and 5.5 tackles for loss.

Banky had a stellar season as a junior wide receiver despite missing two games, earning his second-straight first-team selection. He ranked eighth in the NESCAC in touchdowns, 11th in yards and 13th in receptions, leading the team with 33 catches, while ranking second in both yards (484) and touchdowns (5). Banky had season-best totals of nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a home win over Colby. Banky's 19 career touchdowns place him third in the program's record books, while his 1,780 yards are fourth.

Cosolito had a solid year as a sophomore tight end to earn his first NESCAC accolade. Playing in seven games, he paced the Panthers and finished in a fourth-place tie in the league with six touchdowns to go along with 28 catches for 391 yards. The second-year Panther concluded the year with career-high marks in catches (9), yards (100) and touchdowns (3) in a win at Tufts. Cosolito recorded a 70-yard catch for a touchdown in the season-opening win over Wesleyan.

Woodring earned first-team honors on the offensive line for the first time in his career. The sophomore started all nine games this season at right tackle for the Panthers. Woodring helped anchor a line that led the NESCAC in both total offense (417.4 yards per game), passing (304.9 per game) and ranked second in the league in points per game (32.6).

Jackson picked up his second All-NESCAC award following a first-team nod in 2016. This fall, the senior recorded 56 tackles this season, to go along with eight tackles for lost yardage and 5.5 sacks. He also had an interception, while forcing and recovering a fumble. His 5.5 sacks placed him fourth among his NESCAC peers. The linebacker earned a season-high 11 stops in an October 14 game against Williams, while opening the season with seven tackles and a pair of sacks in a September 16 victory over Wesleyan. He was all over the field in the final home game of his career, earning nine tackles, a sack, fumble caused and fumble recovery in a November 4 win over Hamilton. Jackson ends his career with 151 tackles in 32 games, finishing third all-time at Middlebury with 14 sacks to go along with 25 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

Lebowitz had a stellar final campaign during his final year at the quarterback position despite missing the last two games due to injury. A two-time Second-Team All-NESCAC selection, he ranked second in the NESCAC in passing yards per game (247.4) and touchdowns (18), while only throwing two interceptions and was third in completion percentage (59.3 percent, 128-216). Lebowitz had four games in which he threw for over 300 yards this season, including 389 during a home win over Colby. He played in 23 games over his three years as a Panther, ranking third in the career laurels in touchdowns (48) and fifth in yards (4,411).

Roche picked up his initial All-NESCAC accolade on the offensive line. The junior started all nine games this season at the left guard spot for the Panthers. Roche anchored a line that led the NESCAC in both total offense (417.4 yards per game), passing (304.9 per game) and ranked second in the league in points per game (32.6).

Williams earned his first all-league accolade, ending the year with 13 tackles on the defensive line for the Panthers. He picked up a sack and two tackles for lost yardage. After a solid rookie season, Williams missed two games this fall due to injuries, but was very effective in his time on the field. In the opening game of the season, the sophomore recorded three tackles and a sack in a September 16 victory over Wesleyan.

Martinez ended the year second in the league with a 25-yard average on kick-off return average. He finished sixth in the league with 111.9 all-purpose yards per game. Martinez opened the year with a 96-yard touchdown return in a September 16 win over Wesleyan. Two weeks later, Martinez scampered 61 yards on a punt return for a touchdown in a September 30 victory over Colby. The junior wide receiver caught 27 passes this season for a team-high 486 yards with four touchdowns.