Coastal’s Mastromatteo gets honor for gridiron, grades

Coastal Carolina junior Niccolo Mastromatteo was one of 54 student-athletes named to the 15th Annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team, presented by KP Sports.

Mastromatteo carries a perfect 4.0 through three full years and he is majoring in philosophy with future plans of going to either law or medical school. Mastromatteo is also a standout on the field, earning four All-Big South honors as well as being an Academic All-Big South selection in 2012. This past fall, he earned first team all-league honors as a punt returner and second team honors as a wide receiver, while earning second team honors as a punt returner in 2010 and ’11.

Mastromatteo ranked 13th in the NCAA and first in the Big South by averaging 11.36 yards per punt return in 2012. He also ranked fifth in the league in both receptions (4.27 per game) and receiving yards (51.91 per game). For the year, he returned 14 punts for 159 yards with a touchdown, while catching 47 passes for 571 yards with three scores. Despite missing two games, his 47 receptions in 2012 ranks third on the CCU single-season list behind teammate Matt Hazel (2012) and All-American Jerome Simpson (2006), each of whom had 61.

His biggest game as a punt returner came at Presbyterian as he had an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown, ending the game with three returns for 98 yards and being named CollegeFootballPerformanceAwards.com National Punt Returner of the Week. In the process, he set the Big South all-time record for punt return yards and ended 2012 with 538 career punt return yards. (He also owns the CCU and league record for career punt returns with 61.) The 87-yard return is the second longest punt return in CCU history (Mastromatteo owns the CCU record with a 91-yard punt return) as well as the third-longest scoring play in CCU history.

Mastromatteo was named CollegeSportsMadness.com Big South Offensive Player of the Week after catching four passes for 151 yards and two TDs at Gardner-Webb, adding a key 20-yard punt return. He finished the GWU game with 171 all-purpose yards to rank eighth on the CCU single-game list. The 151 receiving yards is fourth on the CCU single-game list (was third at the time). Of the four receptions at Gardner-Webb, one was a 22-yard touchdown and another was an 81-yard TD to mark the longest pass play in CCU history and eighth-longest scoring play in CCU history.

Early in the 2012 campaign, Mastromatteo tied a CCU record with 10 receptions versus Eastern Kentucky in week three and, after catching just one pass for four yards in his first two years combined, caught seven passes for 114 yards, which now ranks 11th on the CCU single-game list, in the season opener versus North Carolina A&T. He ended the season by catching four passes for 71 yards in the second round of the NCAA playoffs at Old Dominion.

Nominees for the FCS ADA Academic All-Star team were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. He must have reached his second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution.

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