No. 35 Joe Eacobacci Memorial JerseyCooper Field

On September 11, 2001 the Georgetown community lost former Hoya football standout Joe Eacobacci. A 1996 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, he was an energy trader for the investment frm Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th foor of the North Tower of the World Trade Tower. Since the 2003 season, the No. 35 has been awarded as a living memorial to the spirit and memory of Joey.

Joe was a football student-athlete for former head coach Bob Benson between 1993 and 1995 and was the team's tri-captain his senior season. Benson believed that Eacobacci's mark on Georgetown was inked not only on the gridiron but also on the entire Georgetown campus.

"He had more friends than anybody, and that was what made him a beautiful person," Benson said in an interview with GU's student newspaper, The Hoya. "He would light up a room, he really could make people smile and bring enjoy-ment and pleasure to a room."

Joe is survived by his parents, Ann and Mitch Eacobacci, his older brother, Tom (a 1993 graduate of the McDonough School of Business and former football player), his younger sister, Michelle, and by his girlfriend of many years, Denise Mauro.

The Eacobacci family and Georgetown University have set up a need based scholarship fund in Joe's name.

The student-athletes chosen to wear the No. 35 jersey have been selected based not only on on-feld performance, but a combination of skills and intangibles that have cemented Eacobacci's place in Georgetown football history.

Joe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey Recipients


Matt Fronzcke
Defensive Back

Fronzke, a two-time captain, was the first player at Georgetown to wear the No. 35 jersey after it was dedicated to the memory of Joe Eacobacci. A native of Downers Grove, Ill., Fronczke wore the jersey during the 2003 season, when he capped off a stellar four-year career. A player  known for his strength, Fronczke is considered one of the best athletes in the history of the program and became the first Hoya player since 1986 to captain the team in consecutive years. He finished his career with 243 tackles,  and was a 2004 Patriot League Second Team selection.

"I am still in awe that I was chosen," Fronzke said of the honor. "During my junior year, we played Holy Cross to open the season, then 9/11 occurred. The next week's game versus Wagner was cancelled. The following week we went to Fordham and drove past Manhattan and the whole world had changed. I did not know Joey personally, but I feel as if we are all drawn together as a family by the tradition. I am very proud of the past selections and hope that I will continue to do honor to the tradition and Joe's memory."

2004, 2005

Michael Ononibaku
Defensive End

An All American and 2005 Duffy Award winner, Ononibaku was the second Georgetown player to don the #35 jersey and was the first to wear it in back-to-back years. A native of Amherst, Massachusetts, he graduated from Georgetown in May 2006 with a degree in finance and management and is considered one of the top players in program history. A team captain as a senior, he finished his career ranked second all-time at Georgetown in sacks (29), and sixth in tackles (212). A three-time All-Patriot League selection, Ononibaku was named a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association as a senior in 2005. 

"The Eacobacci Award represents more than just an honor, but also a legacy," Ononibaku said. "The tragic loss of former captain Joe Eacobacci, who perished in the 9/11 attacks hits the hearts of many associated with the Georgetown football program. Esteemed by coaches and players, past and present, Joe was a class act on and off the field. When I was fortunate to receive the award, I felt the best way to honor Eacobacci's legacy was to strive to embody what he stood for. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to receivethe award and carry on this legacy."


Alex Buzbee
Defensive End

Buzbee was a three-time All Patriot League performer, earning a spot on the first team in 2006, while garnering All-America honorable mention from the Don Hansen Football Gazette. A three-year starter, Buzbee was a strong and physical player with excellent athletic ability who finished third in program history with 27.5 career sacks which ranks him in the top 20 all-time in the Patriot League. Hee was the first Hoya since Jim Ricca to play in the NFL, as Buzbee was activated to the Washington Redskins active roster in 2007. He has also played for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League.

"It is definitely the most coveted award I have ever gotten," Buzbee said. "Every time I suited up to play I was trying to represent the qualities of hard work and dedication that go along with the award. It is not one of those awards that you hang on the wall. You wear it on your back every time out and you want to live up to that responsibility."


Stephen Smith
Defensive End

Smith, an Upper Marlboro, Md. native, was awarded the No. 35 jersey and named one of the Hoyas tri-captains for the 2007 season. A starter at defensive end during his final two seasons on the Hilltop, Smith compiled 63 tackles during his four-year career. He tied his career high in tackles three times, recording eight stops against Holy Cross, Brown and Columbia, all during the 2006 season. Upon graduation, Smith began work as a US Uniformed Supreme Court Police Officer.

"When I hear the name Joe Eacobacci, more comes to mind than just another Georgetown football alum," Smith said. "When I hear his name, I think of the legacy he left behind at this program, as well as this campus and across the nation. He set a high standard of excellence, dedication and leadership for those that follow. The passion with which he played, in addition to his love for the game should be the measure every single player should strive toward. The Georgetown football family should continue to replicate those characteristics which Joe exhibited, whether we're on the field, in the classroom, in our careers or throughout our daily lives."


Nicholas Umar

Umar, a Belle Mead, N.J. native, saw action in 30 games during his career on the Hilltop. He was awarded the No. 35 jersey during his senior season in 2008, while also being featured as one of the team's two captains. During his career, Umar made 48 tackles with nine tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

"It's a great honor and something that I'm very grateful and appreciative to be chosen for," Umar said. "With the award comes great responsibility and big shoes to fill, but it's exciting to carry on the legacy that comes with the No. 35. Wearing the jersey isn't just an in-season thing, but a responsibility you carry during the offseason as well. The guys that wore it before me did a great job and have set the bar high. I'm going to try to honor the jersey the way they have and the way Joe did."


Robert Lane
Slot Receiver

Lane, a Greensboro, N.C. native, became the first offensive player to be awarded the No. 35 jersey. He  saw action on the offensive side of the ball since arriving on the Hilltop in 2006, spending time at quarterback, running back and in the slot, as well as special teams. Lane led the Hoyas in receiving during his senior season, making 55 catches for 503 yards - the most for any Hoya since 2003, He finished his career with 819 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

"Everyone connected to the Georgetown football program knows exactly what type of person Joe Eacobacci was even 10 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Every time I put his prestigious jersey on, both in practice and on Saturdays, I played with him in mind. He inspired me, just like he has inspired everyone who knows his story. I think the values he stood for should not only be adopted by those guys who have worn No. 35, but by everyone. I am so thankful to be included in this group of men who have worn No. 35 and will never forget the spirit and character of Joe Eacobacci.


Nick Parrish

Parrish, a two-time team captain, was instrumental in the Hoyas rebounding from a winless season to winning four games in 2010, including two Patriot League victories. He became the program's all-time leading tackler with 349 career tackles, coincidentally surpassing Eacobacci's college roommate, Tom Wonica, on Sept. 11, 2010. Parrish was a two-time All Patriot League selection, leading the league in tackles per game (10.0) in 2009. He started 39 consecutive games at inside linebacker and, in 2008 against Holy Cross, he became only the 23rd player at the FCS level and the second ever in the Patriot League, to return two interceptions for touchdowns in one game to go with 11 tackles.


Wayne Heimuli
Defensive Back

Heimuli, who was also a team captain in 2011, served as a strong role model for his teammates and an inspirational leadler on and off the field during a 2011 season that saw the Hoyas transform into a Patriot League power. Heimuli helped the defense to its finest season during the Kevin Kelly era, ranking among the nation's best in scoring defense and takeaways. Individually, Heimuli had a productive season, making 54 tackles, intercepting three passes and recovering one fumble. Despite battling injuries throughout the season, Heimuli started in all 11 games providing stability in the defensive backfield.

"It's a great honor to follow in the footsteps of such great guys, especially Nick Parrish, who I've gotten to know over the years and someone who has been a great leader and a great role model." Heimuli said.


Kevin Sullivan
Offensive Line

Sullivan, a Maywood, N.J. native, became just the second offensive player and first offensive lineman to earn the No. 35 jersey honor. He was a starter along the offensive line in 29 games during his four-year career, spending his senior season at center. Sullivan will also be remembered as one of the Hoyas top performers in the weight room during his time on the Hilltop.

"I'm honored to receive the Joe Eacobacci Memorial Number 35 Jersey," Sullivan said. "I am inspired by Joe and the players who have worn his number 35 jersey in the past and proudly represented him and the Georgetown Football family. Building off of last season and a productive spring ball, the team is excited to work toward bringing the first Patriot League Championship to Georgetown."


Sean Campbell

Campbell, a Middletown, N.J. native, moved into the starting lineup at outside linebacker at the beginning of his sophomore season. He moved to defensive end in the Hoyas' 4-3 scheme after compiling 52 tackles, 9.0 TFL of 28 yards, 3.0 sacks for a loss of 17 yards, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a pass breakup during his junior season. A noted leader on and off the field, coaches credited Campbell's attention to detail and the fact that he "goes hard all of the time" and has fully utilized his tools on the field. Campbell has set a strong example off the field, as well, Rob Sgarlata calling him, "a tough kid from day one and a guy that you'd want to start program with."

"It's such a great honor and I was so surprised," Campbell said. "I was just sitting there listening in awe, because the No. 35 tradition is such a great story, and when my name was called it was an overwhelming sense of joy. Just hearing the names of the people who have worn this jersey, they are all people you hear about for being great leaders, great people and who have gone on to do great things."


Nick Alfieri

Alfieri, a Portland, Oregon native, was also named a team captain before his senior season. His versatility has allowed him to play both safety and linebacker, giving the Hoyas' defense options. Following a 2013 All-Patriot League Second Team selection, Alfieri earned first team honors in 2014, finishing second in the Patriot League with 106 tackles and became just the third player in GU program history to eclipse the 300 tackle barrier, finishing with 322 career tackles. 

"Hearing my name called at the banquet for the award was so surreal," Alfieri said. "It's still hard to believe that I was chosen. I obviously never knew Joe Eacobacci, but the characters of my former teammates that have previously worn the jersey like, Wayne Heimuli, Kevin Sullivan and Sean Campbell, help give me an idea about the type of person that he was. It is such an honor to be associated with him. I can only hope to adequately represent the number and help keep Joe's spirit alive, both on and off the field."


Jo'el Kimpela
Running Back

Kimpela, a Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo native, became the second No. 35 recipient from Euless Trinity High School, joining 2011 recipient Wayne Heimuli. A 2014 Second Team All-Patriot League honoree and 2015 team captain, Kimpela became a fixture in the Hoya backfield since arriving on campus. As a junior, Kimpela rushed for 838 yards, the fourth best total in the Patriot League, and three touchdowns. He ranks in Georgetown's career top 10 in rushing attempts (406), rushing yards (2,340) and rush yards per carry (4.8)

"It's definitely a blessing to receive the 35 jersey," said Kimpela. "My heart was just beating after my name was called. 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."

2016, 2017

Tim Barnes

Barnes, a two-time captain, is just the fourth offensive player to receeive the No. 35 Joe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey. He serving as the backup for his first three years on the Hilltop before earning his opportunity to lead the Hoya offense as a senior. However, just four games into the 2016 season, Barnes' year ended due to injury. He threw for 650 yards and seven touchdowns, finishing with a .563 completion percentage in 126 pass attempts. He was granted a fifth year for 2017, becoming just the second Hoya to wear No. 35 twice, joining Michael Ononibaku (2004-05).

"It is a true honor to be named the No. 35 Jersey recipient and I hope to honor the Eacobacci name, and the No. 35, to the best of my ability both on and off the field," Barnes said. "To have my name mentioned with all of the previous recipients, is a privilege. I look up to guys like Jo'el Kimpela, Nick Alfieri, Sean Campbell and others that have worn the jersey and I hope that I can continue the tradition honoring the Eacobocci family and Georgetown football community along the way. SISU is a term we use on the team and it is one of the key identities of the team. The 35 jersey is one of the best representations of SISU, so for me, it means representing the Eacobacci family in everything I do, and to wear the No. 35 with pride and dedication."


David Akere
Defensive Back

Akere, a two-time captain, was named the 15th recipient of the oe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey. Through his first three seasons on the Hilltop, Akere has been a force in Georgetown's stiff defensive backfield, recording 175 tackles and five interceptions. He finished among the team leaders in both 2015 and 2016 with 78 and 77 tackles, respectively.

"It's an unbelievable surreal honor to be able to represent Joe Eacobacci and simply be in the same narrative as so many other tremendous Hoya football players and inspirational men," Akere said. "I am extremely blessed and fortunate to continue playing the game I love with brothers and family I would not trade anything in the world for. I thank God for this opportunity, and will take advantage of every chance to be successful with courage in the face of adversity."

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