New Hampshire Football Report

UNH picked 5th in preseason poll

Richmond, which returns 19 starters from last year’s 10-4 squad that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA FCS playoffs, was the overwhelming choice to capture the CAA Football championship in 2016 according to a vote of the league’s head coaches and media relations directors. The announcement was made on Tuesday morning as the conference conducted its annual Media Day from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.


 William & Mary and James Madison, which shared the 2015 CAA Football championship with the Spiders, were chosen second and third, respectively. Villanova was selected fourth, followed closely by New Hampshire, Towson and Delaware. Rounding out the preseason poll were Stony Brook, Maine, Elon, UAlbany and Rhode Island.

 Richmond welcomes back eight starters on each side of the ball. Offensively, junior quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw for 3,598 yards and 19 TDs in his first year as a starter and earned second-team All-CAA honors. Senior wide receiver Brian Brown topped the conference with 76 catches for a career-high 1,450 yards and 6 TD’s to garner All-America accolades. The Spiders’ defense is headlined by senior All-America safety David Jones, who recorded a career-high 97 tackles and tied a school record with nine interceptions a year ago, and senior linebacker Omar Howard, who made a league-high 136 tackles and added 5.5 sacks to claim a spot on the All-CAA first team. 

William & Mary has 16 starters back from last year’s 9-4 team that advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. Leading the Tribe offensively are senior All-CAA running back Kendell Anderson, who rushed for 1,418 yards and 16 TD’s a year ago, senior quarterback Steve Cluley, who passed for 2,768 yards and 16 TD’s, and junior wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon, who made 51 catches for 588 yards and 8 TD’s and was also one of the league top kick returners. On defense, senior cornerback Trey Reed (59 tackles, 3 int.) was a second-team All-CAA pick and senior defensive end Peyton Gryder registered a team-high 10 tackles for loss and five sacks.

James Madison begins its first season under head coach Mike Houston, but there is plenty of experience with 17 starters returning from a 9-3 team. Offensively, the Dukes feature a pair of talented running backs in junior Cardon Johnson (1,037 yards, 10 TD’s) and senior Khalid Abdullah (975 yards, 13 TD’s). Senior Brandon Ravenel (57 rec., 683 yds., 4 TD’s) received first-team All-CAA honors at wide receiver a year ago. JMU’s defense includes three players who were all-conference selections in 2015 – junior defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah (56 tackles, 11 TFL, 10.5 sacks), junior cornerback Taylor Reynolds (46 tackles, 3 int.) and senior safety Raven Greene (88 tackles, 2 int.).

Villanova plays its 32nd and final season under legendary head coach Andy Talley. The Wildcats have 13 starters back from last year’s 6-5 team, including senior All-CAA defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon. New Hampshire looks to build on its streak of 12 consecutive FCS playoff appearances with 11 returning starters. The Wildcats feature All-America defensive back Casey DeAndrade. Towson, which won five of its final six games in 2015, has 19 starters returning. The Tigers’ All-CAA running back Darius Victor piled up 1,021 yards and 15 TD’s last season.

CAA Football also announced its preseason all-conference team. Richmond had a league-high seven players honored, including Lauletta as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Jones as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

1. Richmond (19)
2. William & Mary (1)
3. James Madison
4. Villanova
5. New Hampshire
6. Towson
7. Delaware
8. Stony Brook
9. Maine
10. Elon
11. Albany
12. Rhode Island


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