ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University football team had six players earn postseason recognition from the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference on Friday morning when the NACC announced its 2016 all-conference selections. Sophomore running back Chance Manning (Durand, Ill.) and junior offensive lineman Alex Giannoni (Camden, Tenn.) headlined the group as both were named First Team All-NACC. Junior wide receiver Mar Sean Vercher (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman defensive lineman Jacob Cremeens (Roscoe, Ill.) were each voted Second Team All-NACC. Sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Bothem (Roscoe, Ill.) and sophomore defensive lineman Jared Johnson (Miami, Fla.) were both named NACC Honorable Mention to round out the Regents' selections.
Running back Chance Manning had one of the best seasons of any running back in RU history and was Rockford's first ever running back to earn First Team All-NACC honors. Manning became just the third running back in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season and finished as the conference's second leading rusher with 1,015 yards. In addition, he led the NACC with 187 carries, was third in the conference averaging 5.4 yards/carry, and finished tied for fifth with 6 rushing touchdowns. Manning has also developed into a pass-catching threat out of the backfield hauling in 10 passes for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Offensive lineman Alex Giannoni earned NACC postseason recognition for the second straight season. After being named NACC Honorable Mention last year, Giannoni was voted First Team All-Conference for the 2016 season. Giannoni anchored an offensive line that allowed just 11 sacks all season long and produced only the third 1,000-yard rusher in school history. He was also a key piece in a much improved offense that led the NACC in time of possession (33:26) and third down conversion percentage (43%), was third in red zone scoring (74%) and red zone touchdown percentage (72%) and fourth in rushing (1,424).
Wide receiver Mar Sean Vercher was voted Second Team All-NACC for the second consecutive year. He had yet another outstanding season for the Regents as he finished in the top 10 in the conference in multiple categories and tied or broke a trio of school records. Vercher caught 10 touchdown passes to break the RU single-season record, which put him tied for third in the NACC. He was also sixth in the conference in receptions (63) and ninth in receiving yards (613). In addition, Vercher broke the RU single-game receptions record with 13 receptions in Rockford's game at Concordia Wisconsin and tied the school record for receiving touchdowns in a game with 3 at Maranatha. The Chicago native will look to continue his assault on the RU record book next season as he needs just 23 receptions and 3 receiving touchdowns to break both career records.
Defensive lineman Jacob Cremeens burst onto the scene garnering Second Team All-NACC honors as a freshman. Cremeens finished in the top 12 in the conference in four major categories, three of which were also team-highs. He finished fourth in the NACC in sacks (5.5), seventh in tackles for loss (11.5), eleventh in solo tackles (37) and twelfth in total tackles (72). Cremeens also added a forced fumble and two pass breakups to round out his season stat line.
Offensive lineman Brandon Bothem was the final Regent to be recognized by the conference, as he was named NACC Honorable Mention. Bothem was a member of an offensive line that allowed just 11 sacks all season and produced just the third 1,000-yard rusher in school history. He was also an important part of a much improved offense that led the NACC in time of possession (33:26) and third down conversion percentage (43%), was third in red zone scoring (74%) and red zone touchdown percentage (72%) and fourth in rushing (1,424).
Defensive lineman Jared Johnson earned his first ever postseason award from the conference when he was voted NACC Honorable Mention. Johnson finished the season in the top 25 in the NACC in multiple categories. He was tied for fifteenth in sacks (2.5), tied for seventeenth in pass breakups (4), tied for nineteenth in tackles for loss (6) and tied for twenty-fourth in total tackles (51).
For a complete listing of the all-conference teams please click the link below.