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VVS grad Palmer snags All-America honors

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
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Posted 12/14/22

Verona native and versatile Utica University standout wide receiver Nate Palmer has garnered another honor after a record-breaking season.

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VVS grad Palmer snags All-America honors

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Verona native and versatile Utica University standout wide receiver Nate Palmer has garnered another honor after a record-breaking season.

Palmer, a Vernon-Verona-Sherrill high school graduate, has been named to the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' All-America First Team.

As a graduate student this season, Palmer slotted into multiple roles for the Pioneers, helping the team to a 10-2 overall record. The team earned its first NCAA Division III playoff win as well in mid-November.

Palmer was a key part of the Pioneers' success. The Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year totaled 75 catches and set single-season program records with 1,291 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns while developing strong chemistry with quarterback Braden Zenelovic. Palmer surpassed the records set in 2012 by former Rome Free Academy standout Jeremy Meier.

"I think what’s happened with (Nate) is that he’s developed in the program. He was always elusive. But, he’s stronger and faster," longtime Utica University coach Blaise Faggiano said in a recent interview with the Daily Sentinel. "He’s a two-year captain, which is really impressive. And it is his true knowledge of the entire (team)."

Palmer's 75 receptions are third all-time in a single-season for Utica and he finished fifth all-time for total touchdowns in a season with 20 with a rushing score and another on a punt return. His honors also include being named to the All-Empire 8 First Team as a wide receiver and all-purpose player, the All-Empire 8 Second Team as a return specialist and to the D3football.com All-Region 2 First Team as a wide receiver. 

He was also selected to participate in the FCS Bowl last weekend in Florida. Palmer was also one of 15 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, which is awarded to the best player in NCAA Division III. He was nominated by Faggiano.

The AFCA's Division III All-America Selection Committee is made up of head coaches representing each conference from the AFCA's seven districts. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen.

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