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Jerome Earns NEC Defensive Rookie of the Year

Defensive back finished tied for most interceptions in the FCS this year.
SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY - Freshman defensive back Lorenzo Jerome finished tied for the most interceptions in the FCS this year, and that outstanding season earned him the Northeast Conference's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, announced Wednesday afternoon by the conference.

Jerome was one of nine players to finish the season with six interceptions to  lead the FCS, a group that also contained teammate DaQuan Minter. He also finished tied for third on team with 56 tackles. Jerome helped a pass defense that allowed just 161.7 yards per game, the best mark in the NEC and the eighth best in the country.

Jerome was also one of four Red Flash players to make the conference's first team. Joining him on the squad are running back Kyle Harbridge, offensive lineman Thurston Kino and defensive back Jake DeMedal. Linebacker Bishop Neal earned a second-team selection.

A five-time NEC Offensive Player of the Week, Harbridge finished third in the FCS in rushing yards with 1,619 and second in rushing yards per game with 147.2. He was also third in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 188.2 per game. Harbridge also became the first SFU player to score more than 100 points in a season. A Walter Payton Award candidate, Harbridge set school records in rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns with 16. That's 11th in the FCS.

One of the players opening those holes for Harbridge's run to the record book was Kino. He was a second-team selection last year and was named to the NEC's preseason squad in August. SFU had the third best rushing attack in the conference, averaging 167.5 yards per game.

Joining Jerome on the first team defense is senior safety Jake DeMedal. This is his second-consecutive first team selection. He was a terror from the defensive backfield, finishing second on the team with 72 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack. He finished eighth in the conference in tackles.

Neal earned a spot on the NEC Second Team for his outstanding junior campaign. Neal led the team in tackles with 79, good for fifth in the NEC. He also was fourth in the league with 16.5 tackles for loss, 12th in the nation and fourth in the NEC in that category.

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