SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Junior WR Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) and freshmen QB Andrew Murphy (Franklin, Mass.), DB Jack Hopkins (Brandywine, Md.), DB Carroll Bailey (Clinton, Mass.) and TE Mike Lombard (Pelham, N.H.) received 2012 Northeast-10 All-Conference honors, the conference announced Wednesday morning.
Bernard, who made the All-Rookie Team in 2010, was a unanimous selection to the First Team Offense after crafting the greatest single season ever for a Saint Anselm wide receiver. Bernard, a two-time Beyond Sports Network Offensive Player of the Week choice, played in all 11 games for the Hawks and set school records for catches (97), receiving yards (1,110) and receiving touchdowns (15).
Bernard led the Northeast-10 in touchdown catches and ranked second in receptions, receiving yards and receiving yards per game (100.9), in addition to hauling in the second longest catch of the year – an 86-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter at Southern Connecticut State University on Sept. 29. Bernard also stacks up well, nationally, ranking fourth in both receptions per game (8.8) and overall receptions, sixth in touchdown catches, 10th in receiving yards and 12th in receiving yards per contest.
In addition to shattering the program's single-season records, Bernard is now the school's all-time leader in touchdown catches (20) and is just 35 receptions and 155 receiving yards short of the career records in both of those categories, as he has amassed 176 catches and 1,994 receiving yards in just 24 games. Bernard missed nearly all of his sophomore campaign due to injury and will have two more years of eligibility to add to those marks.
Murphy was tabbed as the unanimous Rookie of the Year, as well as a unanimous member of the All-Rookie Team. Murphy came out of nowhere this season, starting the year as the fourth-string quarterback, but injuries to the three ahead of him forced him into action. He flourished, however, looking nothing like a freshman over the season's final seven weeks as he completed 60.5 percent (222-367) of his passes, while throwing for 2,475 yards and a school-record 26 touchdowns. A five-time Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week recipient, an ECAC Offensive Player of the Week honoree and most recently, the D2Football.com Offensive Player of the Week, Murphy finished second in the conference in completions, attempts, passing yards, passing yards per game (275.6), passing touchdowns and longest completion – the 86-yarder to Bernard. The only person in front of him – the Northeast-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Merrimack's Joe Clancy. Murphy also ranked third in completion percentage.
But while Clancy started all 10 games this season, Murphy appeared in nine contests and only started six times – going 8-for-14 for 51 yards and a touchdown in is three non-starts. In his six starts, Murphy posted per game averages of 35.7-for-58.8 (60.7%) for 404.0 yards and 4.2 touchdowns. No one can guarantee how the rookie would have played had he started those five other contests, but averaging those numbers out over a full slate of games gives Murphy numbers of 393-for-646 (60.8%) for 4,444 yards and 46 touchdowns that would have all easily led the league.
In a 52-45 victory at Seton Hill on Nov. 3, Murphy helped the Hawks set school records for points (52), total offense (774) and passing offense (612) as he went 45 of 74 (60.1%) for a school- and conference-record 612 yards and a program- and conference-tying record seven touchdown passes. Murphy also set a school and NE-10 record for total offense (624) and matched Michael Pierce's school and conference record for attempts that was set at Stonehill College on Oct. 24, 2009. With his final touchdown toss of the afternoon and 22nd of the year, Murphy broke the school record for passing TDs in a season that was set by Pierce in the 2009 campaign. Murphy finished just 154 passing yards short of Pierce's 2009 single-season mark in that category.
Nationally, Murphy ranks 11th in completions per game (24.7), 15th in total points responsible for per game (18.4), 21st in touchdowns, 22nd in passing yards per game, 31st in total offense per game (281.3) and 38th in total passing yards.
Hopkins was named to the All-Rookie Team after getting his career off to a solid start with an impressive freshman campaign. In 11 games, Hopkins notched 57 tackles, including 39 solo stops, intercepted three passes and broke up another, recorded a 15-yard sack and had 3.5 tackles for a loss of 22 yards. He ranked third on the team and 18th in the conference in tackles.
Bailey, another All-Rookie Team honoree, totaled 29 tackles, including 20 solos and one for a loss of two yards, in 10 contests for the Hawks. He also forced a fumble, recovered two more and broke up a pass. Bailey came on strong down the stretch, tallying 20 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup in the final four weeks of the season.
Lombard was also chosen for the All-Rookie Team after making four catches for 22 yards in 11 games. Lombard was also a key cog in the Hawks' blocking schemes that helped them set school records for total offense (4,424) and passing offense (3,359), in addition to ranking fifth all-time in rushing offense (1,065).
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