GLASSBORO, NJ (CBS) – As usual, Rowan is right in the mix at the top of the New Jersey Athletic Conference with a 5-3 mark (5-2 in the conference) as they get ready to host a critical match-up with NJAC co-leader Montclair State on Saturday.

The Profs are led on defense by senior linebacker Dean Hammel (pictured, wearing #11).  A star at Washington Township High School, Hammel actually started his college career at another Division III power Wesley down in Delaware.  But after twice tearing his labrum, he moved closer to home and transferred to Rowan.

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Rowan University senior linebacker Dean Hammel. (Credit: Rowan University)

The 6-1, 247-pound Sewell native had a solid first season in Glassboro in 2010, but he has taken his play to another level here as a senior.

“This year I definitely felt way more confident than last year.  Especially with making all the play calls, understanding the scheme that coach (defensive coordinator Pat) Lancetta puts together and executing the defense.”

Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Dean Hammel in this KYW Sports Pod…

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Hammel is the quarterback of the Profs defense from his middle linebacker spot, and he relishes the responsibility.

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“I find that it definitely helps that I know where everybody is going, because I know where the open holes are when we are blitzing and where we are weak in pass coverage when we are blitzing as well.”

Hammel is one of those players who is always around the football.  He is by far the team leader in tackles with 80 and he also has come up with more than his fair share of big plays with a team-high five fumble recoveries and an interception.  He says a lot of that success is a product of preparation.

“If you put yourself in the right position, pre-snap, to set it up like Coach Lancetta does, it puts you in a great position to make plays.”

Hammel is coming off one of his best games of the season.  In last week’s 13-6 loss to Kean – a game played in a snowstorm – he had a game high 14 tackles (including one for a loss) and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Rowan’s game with Montclair State Saturday kicks off at 1:00pm.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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