By: Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity
BOSTON, MASS. – Jason Alessi, Yale’s most valuable player this season, has been named to the 2016 New England Football Writers Division I All-New England Team as a punt returner.
Alessi, started as a defensive back in every game, but some of his most exciting moments this fall came on punt returns. The junior, who is the only Bulldog ever to return a pair of punts for more than 80 yards, had a 10.6 average, which was top 10 in the FCS all season. His 82-yard return against Lehigh at Yale Bowl was the third longest return in school history. He had an 80-yarder against Columbia in 2015.
The Ivy League also recognized his return skills by naming him to its 2016 second all-star team.
The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native also returned kickoffs when needed and had a 16.1 mark, a number that should be qualified. Kickoffs in Ivy League games this fall were moved up to the 40-yard line, and many specialists were able to put enough height on kicks that would land inside the five. That kept the return numbers down.
Playing mostly cornerback for the defense, Alessi had a team-high 10 pass breakups while he was fourth on the squad with 49 tackles.
A banquet to honor the All-New England players is set for Dec. 8, at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham, Mass., with a 6 p.m. reception and dinner at 7.