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VVS grad, Utica receiver Palmer adds another Player of the Year honor

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
email / twitter
Posted 12/21/22

The accolades have piled up for Verona native and Utica University graduate receiver Nate Palmer after a record-shattering season.

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VVS grad, Utica receiver Palmer adds another Player of the Year honor

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The accolades have piled up for Verona native and Utica University graduate receiver Nate Palmer after a record-shattering season.

There was another honor announced: Palmer, the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill high school graduate, has been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year as well as to the first team.

Palmer formed a strong connection with quarterback Braeden Zenelovic, who was also named to an All-ECAC team. Defensive end Jimmie Warren also was select to an All-ECAC team.

It is the latest accolade for Palmer in his fifth season with Utica. The school said Palmer is "the first three-time All-American in program history with American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' All-America First Team honors, The Associated Press All-America Second Team honors and D3football.com All-America Fourth Team honors."

Palmer was also named Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Empire 8 First Team wide receiver and all-purpose player, and the Empire 8 Second Team as a return specialist while also earning D3football.com All-Region II First Team while collecting All-Empire 8 honors.

This season, Palmer had 75 catches and set single-season program records with 1,291 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns. His 75 receptions rank third all-time in a single-season and he finished fifth all-time for total touchdowns in a season with 20. 

Palmer finished his Pioneers career first with 411 punt returns yards, second all-time with 2,695 receiving yards, 26 receiving touchdowns and 30 total touchdowns, third averaging 16.04 yards per catch, fourth with 3,192 all-purpose yards and 182 points scored, fifth with 168 receptions, and eighth with 3.91 receptions per game. 

He was also selected to participate in the NFL Scouted FCS Bowl Dec. 11 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Palmer was also one of 15 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy which is awarded to the best player in NCAA Division III. 

Zenelovic

Zenelovic was named to the All-ECAC Second Team Offense after a record-setting first season under center for the Pioneers.

The senior transfer from Division I Albany set single-season program records with 3,207 passing yards, a 159.1 passer efficiency and 8.5 yards per completion. He tied the single-season record for touchdown passes with 31.

Zenelovic was also previously named to the All-Empire 8 Second Team at quarterback. 

Warren

Warren, a Cliff Harris Award semifinalist for the nation's top small college defensive player, earned All-ECAC First Team Defense honors at defensive end. Warren capped off his 2022 season as the Empire 8 leader with 11 sacks, tied for the E8 lead with 17.5 tackles for loss and ranked fourth in the league with 98 total tackles. His 11 sacks this season finished third all-time in a single-season in program history while his tackles for loss ranked fourth in a single-season in program history. The 75 yards opponents lost on his tackles for loss, however, were the most in a single-season in program history. 

He was previously named Empire 8 Co-Defensive Player of the Year as well as to the D3football.com All-Region II Second Team at defensive end. 

Utica won 10 games in a season for the first time in program history and won their first NCAA Division III playoff game.

The team finished No. 22 in the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll, which was released earlier this week. Fellow E8 team Cortland was ranked No. 19.

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