Minutemen Place 17 On CAA Football All-Conference Teams
Nov. 19, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. - CAA Champions UMass led all teams in the league with 17 All-Conference selections. Matt Austin, David Burris, Jason Hatchell, J.J. Moore, Courtney Robinson, Sean Smalls and Charles Walker were named to the first team. The second team featured Sean Calicchio, Liam Coen, Matt Lawrence and Rasheed Rancher. Brandon Collier, Nick Diana, Chris Koepplin, Jeromy Miles and Robinson (as a kick returner) were named to the third team.
Here is the complete release from the CAA.
CAA Football co-champions Massachusetts and Richmond received a bevy of post-season honors as the league announced their inaugural all-conference teams on Monday.
The awards, which were voted on by the CAA's head football coaches, were handed out after the most successful regular-season in FCS history with an NCAA record five teams making the playoffs and seven squads finishing the year with seven or more victories.
Delaware senior quarterback Joe Flacco and New Hampshire senior quarterback Ricky Santos were chosen as the CAA Co-Offensive Players of the Year, while Defensive Player of the Year honors went to James Madison senior safety Tony LeZotte and Richmond's Dave Clawson was tabbed as Coach of the Year.
The Spiders also received three other major awards as freshman Justin Rogers was named Special Teams Player of the Year, freshman wide receiver Kevin Grayson received Offensive Rookie of the Year accolades and freshman linebacker Eric McBride was selected as Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Massachusetts led all conference schools with seven players selected to the All-CAA first team. Delaware was close behind with six first-team picks and New Hampshire had four. Hofstra, James Madison and Richmond all placed three players on the first team.
Flacco completed 251-of-370 passes for a conference-best 3,185 yards this season. He also led the league and ranked seventh in the nation in total offense (294.2 ypg). The senior from Audobon, N.J. completed 67.8 percent of his passes and threw 17 touchdowns with only five interceptions. Flacco had two 400-yard passing games and three games with more than 300 yards in the air, highlighted by a 434-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Blue Hens' 59-52 win over FBS foe Navy. Delaware, which is 8-3 overall and headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, averaged a league-high 38.1 points per game.
Santos received Offensive Player of the Year honors for the third year in a row, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat. He earned Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2005 and shared the award with Massachusetts' Steve Baylark in 2006. The senior quarterback from Bellingham, Mass., completed 73 percent of his passes (230-of-315) for 2,721 yards to achieve a league-leading pass efficiency rating of 164.2. Santos threw for 22 touchdowns and also rushed for nine touchdowns, leading New Hampshire to a 7-4 record and the Wildcats' fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
LeZotte earned CAA Football Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second time in his career and became the only player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors in all four seasons. The senior safety from Augusta, Ga. was second on James Madison's defense with 88 tackles, including four tackles for loss. A Buck Buchanan Award Finalist, LeZotte also had two interceptions and a league-high eight pass breakups this season. It is the fifth time that a JMU player has been named league Defensive Player of the Year since Mickey Matthews took over the program in 1999, including each of the past three seasons.
Clawson was named CAA Football Coach of the Year for the second time in the past three seasons. He guided the Spiders to a 9-2 overall record and a share of the CAA championship with a 7-1 mark after being picked to finish fourth in the South Division in pre-season polls. The fourth-year head coach has amassed a 27-19 record, earning two conference championships and a pair of NCAA FCS Championship appearances during his tenure.
Rogers electrified special teams for Richmond all season, leading the CAA and ranking third in the nation in kickoff returns by averaging 32.5 yards with two touchdowns. The red-shirt freshman from Baton Rouge, La. had a 93-yard return for a score in the Spiders' season-opener at Vanderbilt and also had an 85-yard TD return against New Hampshire. Rogers recorded the two highest single-game return performances in the CAA this season with 222 yards against UNH and 201 yards versus Vanderbilt.
Grayson became the second Spider in as many seasons to win CAA Football Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after quarterback Eric Ward earned it in 2006. The freshman wide receiver from Richmond, Va., who was also a second-team all-conference selection, led the Spiders with 49 receptions for 695 yards and four touchdowns. Two of his touchdown receptions came in the Spiders' five-overtime victory at Delaware, including one during the overtime session.
McBride is the second UR player in the last three years to win the CAA Football Defensive Rookie of the Year award. The freshman linebacker from Richmond, Va., led the Spiders with 104 tackles, including 46 solo stops. He also recorded 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles during his rookie campaign. McBride made a season-high 16 tackles against Rhode Island with two tackles for loss and one sack. He finished the season eighth in the conference with his 104 tackles, registering as the only freshman among the league's Top-15.
CAA CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Joe Flacco, Delaware and Ricky Santos, New Hampshire CAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tony LeZotte, James Madison CAA COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Clawson, Richmond CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Justin Rogers, Richmond CAA OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kevin Grayson, Richmond CAA DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Eric McBride, Richmond
br>CAA CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Joe Flacco, Delaware and Ricky Santos, New Hampshire
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