Football Sweeps NESCAC Awards - 11 Players Earn All-Conference Honors

(L-R): Will Jernigan, Jack Pistorius, Alex Maldjian and head coach Bob Ritter.
(L-R): Will Jernigan, Jack Pistorius, Alex Maldjian and head coach Bob Ritter.

COMPLETE NESCAC RELEASE

Middlebury took home all four major awards and boasted 11 players on the All-NESCAC Football Teams. Junior quarterback Will Jernigan (Decatur, Ga.) was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year, while junior linebacker Jack Pistorius (Park Ridge, Ill.) was touted the conference Defensive Player of the Year. First-year running back Alex Maldjian (Rumson, N.J.) earned Co-Rookie of the Year honors, while head coach Bob Ritter was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year. The group helped lead the Panthers to the NESCAC Championship this fall with the program's first undefeated season (9-0) since 1972.

Jernigan is the first Middlebury player since quarterback Matt Milano in 2014 to be named the league's Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 135-248 passes for 1,990 yards this fall with 16 scoring strikes, ranking second in the NESCAC with 221 yards passing/game. He also rushed for 56.8 yards/game and eight touchdowns, placing him second on the team and ninth in the league.

Pistorius is the first Panther to win NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year since Erik Woodring in 2007. He tied for the team lead with 72 tackles, to go along with 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for lost yardage. The linebacker's tackle and sack numbers both placed him fourth among his NESCAC peers. He recorded double digits in tackles in four-consecutive games, including 10 with two sacks in a win over Wesleyan.

Maldjian becomes the first Middlebury player to earn Rookie of the Year honors since linebacker Tim Patricia in 2012. He led the league in rushing with 100.6 yards/game, gaining 905 yards on 212 carries with 10 touchdowns. The running back became the first rookie to win the rushing title since the conference began keeping statistical leaders in 2000. Maldjian is the first Panther to lead the league in rushing since Bryan Sanchez in 2000. He combined to rush for 281 yards on 70 carries in the final two games of the season with three touchdowns.

Other First-Team All-NESCAC selections were senior tight end Frank Cosolito (Medfield, Mass.), senior offensive lineman Kevin Woodring (Norwalk, Conn.) and senior defensive lineman Martin Williams (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)

Cosolito is now a three-time first-team all-conference choice. He finished the year second on the team with 29 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns.

Woodring moves up a spot to the first team after earning second-team honors a year ago. The left tackle helped anchor an offensive line that finished second in the league in points/game (30.6) and yards/contest (410.6).

Williams earned his third-straight all-league honor, after holding down a spot on the second team for the past two seasons. He finished the year with a dozen tackles on the defensive line, to go along with 4.5 tackles for lost yardage and 3.5 sacks.

Senior Maxwell Rye (Longmeadow, Mass.) and Jack Purcell (Darien, Conn.) earned spots on the offensive second-team. Rye led the team in receiving this season with 36 catches for 601 yards with four touchdowns, including six catches for 148 yards with two scores in a win over Wesleyan. Purcell joined Woodring on the offensive line at right tackle, starting all nine games this season.

Earning second-team honors on defense were seniors Alex Norton (Cohasset, Mass.) and Michael Carr (Somerset, N.J.), along with junior Pete Huggins (Houston, Texas). Norton was second on the team with 4.5 sacks this year, totaling a loss of 43 yards (second-best in NESCAC). He also added 23 tackles, six tackles for lost yardage and two pass break-ups. Carr was tied for second in the league with four interceptions this fall. He added 23 tackles and a team-high six pass break-ups.  Huggins was tied for the team lead and was fourth in the NESCAC with 72 tackles to go along with four sacks in 2019. He opened the season with 13 tackles and two sacks in a win over Williams.

Ritter earns NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the third time, previously garnering the honor in 2007 and 2013. He led his team to the first 9-0 season in NESCAC history and currently owns a career record of 102-54 over 19 years at his alma mater.