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St. Joseph’s Jada Byers runs for his tenth touchdown of the game and career record number 102 during Saturday’s playoff game against Morris Catholic on November 23, 2019. Photo/Charles J. Olson

St. Joseph High School senior running back Jada Byers will continue his football career at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Some observers speculated the record-breaking Byers would go to a bigger program than the Pioneers, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision team.

But he’ll be with some former St. Joe teammates.

Byers, a senior and former Press Player of the Year, committed to the Northeast Conference school through a post on social media. He’ll receive a full athletic scholarship.

“I want to thank St. Joseph for everything they did and having my back on and off the field,” Byers said on a post on Twitter. “I want to give a special shout to the St. Joseph coaching staff for helping me become a better student-athlete and always staying on me to better at everything.”

Byers, a Bridgeton resident, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Byers will be reunited with twins Salaam and Alaam Horne, and J.D. DiRenzo, three former Wildcats who play for Sacred Heart. CJ LaFragola, another former St. Joseph standout, played for Sacred Heart this fall. Gordon Hill, another former St. Joe player, is a Sacred Heart assistant coach.

The Pioneers went 7-5 this season under eighth-year coach Mark Nofri.

“Nobody deserves it more than Jada,” St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said. “From Day 1, he loved Sacred Heart, and he’ll be with a lot of friends from St. Joseph. He’s been there several times and feels comfortable there. He’ll do fabulous things, and he’ll get a great education. He’s a big family person. He’s going from one family to another. We love him here, and they’ll love him there.”

Byers owns South Jersey records for single-game points (60), career touchdowns (102) and single-game touchdowns (10).

He recently passed 1996 Paulsboro graduate Kevin Harvey’s mark of 101 touchdowns. With 640 career points, Byers is 16 points shy of Harvey’s South Jersey mark.

Byers is listed at 5-foot-7, 168 pounds and didn’t get recruited by a major college in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

“There’s no other word for him than ‘dynamic,’” Sacco said. “He’s a great kid and a great student, and works hard in the weight room. They (Sacred Heart) want him to be a spot wide receiver and a punt and kick returner.”

It bothers Sacco that Byers wasn’t more heavily recruited.

“Size isn’t everything. He’s very underrated,” Sacco said. “A lot of great players in South Jersey are being recruited (by big schools), so how can they overlook the No. 1 running back in South Jersey?”

Note: Other locals who played for the Pioneers this season included offensive lineman Nick Carnesale (Hammonton), linebacker Brian Ewan (Barnegat), linebacker Pat Ferraro (Southern Regional) and defensive back Shamere Collins (St. Augustine Prep).

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