New Hampshire Football Report

Villanova picked to win CAA

RICHMOND, Va. – Villanova, which went 10-3 overall last season and earned a share of the CAA Football championship for the first time since 2012, has been picked to capture the CAA Football title again in 2022 according to a vote of the league’s head coaches and media relations directors.

The Wildcats got 16 first-place votes and 270 points in the poll, topping rival Delaware, which received seven first-place votes and finished second with 235 points. Rhode Island placed third with 224 points and Richmond was close behind in fourth with 219 points. William & Mary, which picked up two first-place votes, and Elon, which received one first-place vote, finished fifth and sixth respectively in the poll. Stony Brook placed seventh followed by Maine, New Hampshire, Monmouth, Towson, UAlbany and Hampton.

Villanova returns many of its top offensive performers from last year’s team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2014 and was ranked No. 8 nationally. Back for the Wildcats are receivers Rayjoun Pringle and Jaaron Hayek, who combined for 17 touchdown catches, running backs Jalen Jackson and DeeWil Barlee, and All-America offensive lineman Michael Corbi. On defense, safety Ethan Potter is among three returning starters.

Delaware begins its first season under new head coach Ryan Carty. Nine starters are back for the Blue Hens defensively, including All-America safety Kedrick Whitehead and All-CAA performers Johnny Buchanan, Noah Plack, Artis Hemmingway and Chase McGowan. Offensively, quarterback Nolan Henderson returns after a season-ending injury in 2021, along with top receiver Thyrick Pitts.

Rhode Island is coming off a 7-4 campaign, which marked its highest win total since 2001. The Rams feature quarterback Kasim Hill, All-CAA tight end Caleb Warren and an offensive line that returns four starters. Seven starters are back on the URI defense, highlighted by All-CAA cornerback Jordan Jones and leading tackler Evan Stewart.

Richmond closed the 2021 season on a four-game winning streak to finish 6-5 overall. Running back/returner Aaron Dykes tops a group of seven starters back for the Spiders’ offense, which has added graduate transfer quarterback Reece Udinski and receiver Jakob Herres. There are also seven starters back on the Richmond defense, including All-America linebacker Tristan Wheeler.

CAA Football expands to 13 teams for the first time in 2022 as Hampton and Monmouth join the conference. CAA Football has had a team in the FCS championship game 11 times since 2003, a squad in the semifinals of the playoffs for the past nine seasons and a team in the quarterfinals every year since 1991. Eleven of the league’s 13 current members have participated in the FCS playoffs since 2015.

CAA Football also announced its preseason all-conference team. Delaware led all schools with five players honored while Villanova had four. Stony Brook running back Ty Son Lawton, who rushed a league-high 1,088 yards and 10 TD’s in 2021, was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year. William & Mary defensive end Nate Lynn, who was among the nation’s best with 12 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2021, was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.


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