Valpo's Nunes gains extra season of eligibility

(STATS) - Valparaiso announced Thursday the NCAA has granted defensive back J.J. Nunes a sixth season of athletic eligibility because of injuries that have limited him to two seasons.

The two-time honorable mention honoree on the All-Pioneer Football League team suffered a season-ending left knee injury in the 2016 opener at Illinois State in what would have been his senior season.

Nunes has only played in 2014 and '15. He redshirted at Concordia Nebraska in 2012, then transferred to Valpo in 2013 and sat out due to transfer rules.

In 2014, he switched from running back to defensive back and racked up 85 tackles with five pass breakups and a forced fumble. In 2015, he had 76 tackles with five pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

"The value J.J. brings as a leader is even more important than what he brings from a physical standpoint," Valpo coach Dave Cecchini said. "His leadership will be a tremendous benefit to our team."

Valpo went 4-7 last season, including 3-5 in the PFL - the Crusaders' highest league win total since 2003.