After placing six players on the all-NESCAC football squads each of the last two seasons, a record number for the the Cardinals at the time, the 5-3 squad of 2012 has placed a record seven players on the all-NESCAC teams. Gracing the first team are team tri-captain and returning first-team choice Jake Sheffer '14 (#62, left side photo) on the offensive line; another returning first-team pick at defensive back, Jake Bussani '14 (#1, photo insert lower right); and defensive end Nik Powers '15 (#7, photo insert upper right courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com).
Powers collected 35 tackles on the season, nine of them for a loss including a NESCAC-leading seven sacks. Bussani posted 25 tackles along with a team-leading eight pass break-ups and five interceptions. He ranked second on the team in pass thefts and tied for third in the NESCAC. He was twice named NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week in 2012. Sheffer was the hub of the Cardinals' potent offense which averaged 24.8 points and 370 yards a game, both ranking fourth in the conference. Wesleyan scored over 30 points on four occasions as the 5-3 record matched the best by the team in 10 years.
Three other offensive standouts made the all-NESCAC second team - Kevin Hughes '14, Teddy Baker '14 and Jay Fabien '15 - and one more was on the defensive side - Donnie Cimino '15. All seven of the all-NESCAC choices will be returning for the 2013 season.
Hughes, though chosen as a fullback, led Wesleyan in receiving yards with 419 on 30 catches and scored three TDs. Just ahead of him in receptions was Fabien, who hauled in 33 passes for 407 yards and a TD. At tight end, Baker was a steady blocker and also caught 12 passes for 163 yards and a pair of scores, notably a 33-yarder against Trinity in the near-upset of the undefeated Bantams in the season finale Nov. 10.
Cimino tied for the top spot in the NESCAC for interceptions with six from his defensive back position and also made 40 tackles to rank third on the squad. He added four pass break-ups as well, and was a primary returner for the team. He had 10 punt returns for 51 yards and brought back two kickoffs for 61 yards. His 43-yarder late in the game against Trinity helped set up Wesleyan's go-ahead score with 4:13 left in regulation before Trinity came back to win the game in overtime.