Kean's Big Three Snag Top NJAC Awards

Kean Athletics

PITMAN, N.J. (11/21/08) - After one of the most successful football regular seasons in program history, Kean University took home three of the top honors awarded by the New Jersey Athletic Conference, as junior running back Jared Chunn, freshman quarterback Thomas D'Ambrisi and senior Durell Dukes each earned a Player of the Year honor. For the third straight season, a Cougar garnered NJAC Offensive Player of the Year accolades, as Chunn earned the honor in 2008 after leading the conference in rushing yards and yards per game.

At quarterback, D'Ambrisi had the huge task of replacing two-time NJAC Offensive Player of the Year A.J. Roque (2006 and 2007) at quarterback. He started every game under center and earned NJAC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, the same award Roque earned as a freshman in 2004, after a solid rookie campaign.

The team's most versatile athlete, Dukes was named NJAC Special Teams Player of the Year as he ranked second in the NJAC in kick returns.
A three-time all-NJAC running back, Chunn (Tinton Falls, N.J.) had a breakout junior season that saw him set three school records with single season rushing yards (1,375) and rushing touchdowns (13), while also becoming the program's all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns (20). He averaged 137.5 yards a game to lead the NJAC and rank 14th in the nation.

The fourth different Cougar to earn the honor, Chunn became the first player in program history to rush for at least 200 yards in three different games after tying his career-high with 238 yards against Morrisville State College in NJAC action. In that game, his 54-yard touchdown run in the second quarter broke the single-season rushing touchdown record and put Chunn over 1,000 rushing yards for the season and 2,000 rushing yards for his career to become just the third person in each category in program history.

His 238 yards rushing against Morrisville and USMMA in the season opener are the sixth highest totals in single game history, while his 201 yards rushing in the NJAC victory over defending conference champion The College of New Jersey is the 11th highest total.

In 30 career games, Chunn ranks second in career history with 2,378 yards rushing, while his 20 career rushing touchdowns are a new program standard.

A four-time NJAC Rookie of the Week, D'Ambrisi (Eatontown, N.J.) completed 147-of-241 passes for 1,844 yards and 16 touchdowns in a solid rookie season. He cracked Roque's top eight single game passing marks, throwing for 352 yards against NJAC Champion SUNY Cortland to rank second in school history, while his 1,844 passing yards and 16 TDs are both fourth in the record books.

D'Ambrisi, who transferred from Monmouth University after redshirting in 2007, becomes the fourth player in program history to earn top rookie honors.

Also the team's top receiver, Dukes (Elizabeth, N.J.) earns the conference's first ever Special Teams Player of the Year award after taking over kick return and eventually punt return duties for the Cougars.

He ran back his first two kicks of the season against The College of New Jersey, where he had a pair of returns for 98 yards to earn NJAC Special Team Player of the Week honors after the Cougars' 35-24 victory. A game later, he added a career-long 81-yard return in the NJAC win over Buffalo State College.

For the season, Dukes had 12 returns for 337 yards, as his 28.1 yards per return currently ranks third in single season program history.

Dukes also broke five other offensive records this year, as he became the program's all-time leader in total receptions (163), total touchdowns scored (32), total points scored (192), while also setting the single season reception mark (61) for the third straight season. His 14 receptions against Cortland also broke the single game record and his 13 touchdowns scored this season are tied with Chunn for the single season mark.

The trio guided the Cougars to seven wins this season, marking just the fifth time in program history Kean has recorded at least seven wins. It is also just the second time in school history that the Cougars have posted three straight non-losing seasons, with the only other time from 1992-1994.