April 1, 2015
WASHINGTON - Junior running back Jo'el Kimpela (Kinshasa, D.R. Congo/Euless Trinity) was selected as the 12th Joe Eacobacci No. 35 Memorial Jersey recipient at the conclusion of the awards presentation during Saturday afternoon's Georgetown University Football Banquet at the Leavey Center.
Kimpela, a 2014 All-Patriot League selection, becomes just the third offensive player to be selected to honor the former team captain and 1996 graduate, joining Kevin Sullivan (2012) and Robert Lane (2009). Kimpela is also the second player from Euless Trinity to earn the honor, joining Wayne Heimuli (2011). Eacobacci's No. 35 has been a living memorial given annually since 2003, to a student-athlete who best embodies his spirit and memory. Eacobacci, an energy trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, worked on the 105th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and was lost on September 11, 2001.
"It's definitely a blessing to receive the 35 jersey this season, my heart was just beating after my name was called," Kimpela recalled. "When I got to Georgetown I didn't know much about the number 35, it wasn't a really swaggy number, but after you spend some time on the Hilltop you see players such as Sean Campbell, Nick Alfieri and Kevin Sullivan. They are hard-working guys that I have looked up to and I'm positive their character exemplified Joe Eacobacci. To be mentioned with the list of guys who have worn the number is truly an honor. Receiving the 35 jersey is not something I could have done on my own. I'm grateful for teammates who challenge and push me every day to be the best football player I can be. I thank God for the opportunity to represent the 35 jersey and am excited for the upcoming season."
"I am very excited to have Jo'el represent the number 35 Joe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey," Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. "Jo'el is a quality person who embodies Jesuit the ideal of "Men for Others" through his actions on and off of the field. His journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Euless Trinity High School in Dallas to Georgetown is an incredible story of hard work and perseverance. I am certain Jo'el will continue the tradition of excellence associated with the number 35 on the Hilltop."
Senior defensive end Alec May (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) earned the Al Blozis Award for the team's most valuable player. May, a Second Team All-American, broke the Hoyas' single-season sacks record (16.5), while leading Division I FCS in sacks per game. He also led all Division I FCS defensive linemen with 89 tackles. May earned All-Patriot League First Team and All-Patriot League Academic First Team honors.
Senior defensive lineman Jordan Richardson (Watkinsville, Ga./Athens Academy) and offensive lineman Mike Roland (Miami, Fla./Coral Gables) were selected as the George A. Murtaugh Award for lineman of the year. Richardson and Roland were both All-Patriot League selections and have been starters since their first day on campus in 2011. Richardson and Roland have each anchored defensive and offensive lines during the Hoyas best stretch of success since joining the Patriot League.
Senior linebacker Nick Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit/The Hotchkiss School) earned the team's Strength & Conditioning Award. Alfieri's versatility on the field gave the GU coaching staff flexibility in shifting him between linebacker and safety during his career. Fighting through injury, Alfieri became just the third Hoya to accumulate over 300 career tackles, finishing career third on the all-time list with 322.
Senior linebacker Pat Boyle (Wheaton, Ill./Benet Academy), senior linebacker Wardell Crutchfield III (Pomona, Calif./Baldwin Park) and offensive lineman Nick Quintans (Media, Pa./Penncrest) earned the Jeremiah Minihan Coaches' Award.
The John D. Burke Courage and Spirit Award was presented to senior wide receiver Michael Cimilluca (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex), defensive back Chad Coleman (Flint, Mich./Carman Ainsworth) and defensive lineman Gibson Vaught (Ashland, Va./Patrick Henry). Each battled through injuries and were able to make an impact on the field during their careers on the Hilltop.
Senior defensive lineman Mitchell Black (Edinburgh, Scotland/University School) earned the Mush Dubofsky Student-Athlete Award. Black, a contributor on the defensive line, is a four-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection and carries the highest grade point average on the team.
Junior cornerback Ettian Scott (Okinawa, Japan/Northside (N.C.)) was named the John L. Hagerty Award-winner for best back. Scott finished among the PL leaders in interceptions (4) and pass breakups (12). He started all 11 games during an impressive junior season.
Freshman defensive back Dan Yankovich (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) was named the Special Teams Player of the Year. Yankovich earned time in the defensive backfield late in the season, but began making his mark on the field early with the squad's special teams units.
Senior offensive lineman William Duncan (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Valley) earned "The Belt" award symbolizing his tireless effort on the practice field and in the weight room. Despite not earning regular playing time in the team's offensive line rotation, Duncan's hard work on the practice field helped set an example and served as an inspiration for his teammates.
Sophomore linebacker Leo Loughrey (Glenshaw, Pa./Central Catholic) and sophomore wide receiver Tommy Jesson (Orlando, Fla./East River) were named the Robert Paul Dahut Memorial Award-winners for most improved players during the spring. Loughrey and Jesson both earned playing time during the fall, but have helped cement a regular role going forward with their strong play during spring ball.