Towson football picked to finish 10th in CAA this season

July 25, 2017 | WNST Staff


BALTIMORE, Md. (July 25, 2017) – James Madison, which returns 14 starters from last year’s 14-1 squad that captured the 2016 NCAA FCS National Championship, was the overwhelming choice to capture the CAA Football title in 2017 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.

Richmond, Villanova and New Hampshire, which joined JMU in the FCS playoff field a year ago, were chosen second, third and fourth, respectively in the preseason poll. Delaware was picked fifth, followed closely by UAlbany, William & Mary and Stony Brook. Rounding out the preseason poll were Maine, Towson, Elon and Rhode Island.

JMU posted an unblemished 8-0 mark in conference play and claimed its second straight CAA Football title in 2016. The Dukes went on to win their second FCS National Championship, knocking off five-time defending champ North Dakota State in the semifinals and Youngstown State in the championship. Senior quarterback Bryan Schor (217-297, 3002 yds., 29 TD’s, 6 int./569 yds. rushing, 10 TD’s), the 2016 CAA Offensive Player of the Year, returns to lead a Dukes’ offense that scored a league-record 700 points last season. Nine starters return defensively, including senior defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah (44 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and senior safety Raven Greene (70 tackles, 6 int.), who both made the All-CAA first team.

Richmond, which begins its first season under head coach Russ Huesman, has 20 starters back from last year’s 10-4 team that reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Senior quarterback Kyle Lauletta (220-349, 3,022 yds., 24 TD’s) and sophomore running back Deontez Thompson (188 att., 1,001 yds., 9 TD’s) top a group of eight regulars returning on offense. Among eight starters back on defense are senior defensive lineman Brandon Waller (51 tackles, 5.5 sacks) and senior safety Brendan Coniker (94 tackles, 2 int.), who were recognized on the all-conference team in 2016.

Long-time assistant Mark Ferrante begins his first year as head coach at Villanova, which went 9-4 and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2016. Senior safety Rob Rolle (63 tackles, 7 int.) and senior linebacker Ed Shockley (86 tackles, 11.0 TFL) are among six starters back from a defense that allowed the fewest yards (259.8 ypg) and points (15.0 ppg) in the FCS last season. Nine starters return offensively, led by junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (178-297, 2,158 yds., 19 TD’s), junior running back Aaron Forbes (132 att., 799 yds., 8 TD’s) and senior wide receiver Taurus Phillips (36 rec., 497 yds., 3 TD’s).

New Hampshire went 8-5 and extended the nation’s longest FCS playoff streak with its 13th consecutive appearance last season. Junior quarterback Trevor Knight (179-319, 1,714 yds., 14 TD’s) and top receivers Neil O’Connor (58 rec., 834 yds., 6 TD’s) and Malik Love (59 rec., 520 yds., 1 TD) are back on offense, while sophomore defensive backs Pop Lacey (82 tackles, 2 int.) and Prince Smith, Jr. (5 int., 13 PBU) are among a group of seven returning starters on defense.

CAA Football also announced its preseason all-conference team. JMU had a league-high six players honored, including Schor as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Villanova’s Rolle was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

(Selected by a vote of Head Coaches and Media Relations Directors)
Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Bryan Schor, James Madison Sr. QB 6-2 215 Milford, Pa./Delaware Valley
Stacey Bedell, Stony Brook Sr. RB 5-9 195 Mastic Beach, N.Y./William Floyd
Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, UAlbany Jr. RB 5-9 199 Newark, N.J./Don Bosco
Deontez Thompson, Richmond So. RB 6-0 200 Indian Head, Md./Henry E. Lackey
Anthony Manzo-Lewis, UAlbany Sr. FB 6-2 245 Montvale, N.J./St. Joseph Regional
DeVonte Dedmon, William & Mary Sr. WR 5-10 195 Williamsburg, Va./Warhill
Neil O’Connor, New Hampshire Jr. WR 5-11 191 Leominster, Mass./Leominster
Micah Wright, Maine Jr. WR 6-1 190 Newark, N.Y./Newark
Jonathan Kloosterman, James Madison Sr. TE 6-3 245 Strasburg, Va./Strasburg
Jamil Demby, Maine Sr. OL 6-5 310 Vineland, N.J./Vineland
Chris Durant, William & Mary Sr. OL 6-4 310 Oak Hill, Va./Oakton
Brody Kern, Delaware Sr. OL 6-2 290 York, Pa./West York
Timon Parris, Stony Brook Sr. OL 6-5 310 Floral Park, N.Y./Floral Park
Aaron Stinnie, James Madison Sr. OL 6-5 310 Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield

Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Andrew Ankrah, James Madison Sr. DL 6-4 240 Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard
Malachi Hoskins, UAlbany Sr. DL 6-3 230 Queens, N.Y./Loomis Chaffee
Bilal Nichols, Delaware Sr. DL 6-5 300 Newark, Del./Hodgson Vo-Tech
Brandon Waller, Richmond Sr. DL 6-4 265 Ardmore, Pa./Haverford
Charles Bell, Delaware Sr. LB 6-1 230 Conestoga, Pa./Penn Manor
Shayne Lawless, Stony Brook Jr. LB 6-1 220 Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown
Sterling Sheffield, Maine Jr. LB 6-2 237 Mullica Hill, N.J./Clearview Region
Ed Shockley, Villanova Sr. LB 5-11 225 Millville, N.J./Millville
Raven Greene, James Madison Sr. S 6-0 200 Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial
Rob Rolle, Villanova Sr. S 6-0 190 Newfield, N.J./Delsea
Najee Goode, Maine Sr. CB 5-10 170 Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter
Prince Smith, Jr., New Hampshire So. CB 5-10 181 Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter

Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Shane Simpson, Towson So. RET 5-9 185 Easton, Pa./Easton
Griffin Trau, Richmond Jr. PK 5-8 180 Culver, Ind./Western Reserve Acad.
John Hinchen, Villanova Sr. P 5-11 185 Saddle River, N.J./Northern Highlands
Robert Carter, James Madison Jr. SPEC 6-0 185 Baltimore, Md./Long Reach


(Selected by a vote of Head Coaches and Media Relations Directors)

James Madison (21 first-place votes) – 241
Richmond (3 first-place votes) – 210
Villanova – 209
New Hampshire -169
Delaware -133
UAlbany – 129
William & Mary – 124
Stony Brook -118
Maine – 100
Towson – 84
Elon – 36
Rhode Island – 31