RICHMOND, Va. (November 24, 2008) -- CAA Football Champion James Madison earned a total of 18 all-conference honors, including four major award winners, as the league announced its 2008 All-Conference teams Monday.

The awards, voted on by the 12 CAA Football head coaches, were handed out after the league advanced a record-tying five squads into postseason play for the second-straight season and had seven programs log seven or more wins.

James Madison senior quarterback Rodney Landers was chosen as the 2008 CAA Football Offensive Player of the Year, while Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Maine defensive lineman Jovan Belcher.  James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews was named the league’s Coach of the Year, after guiding the Dukes to the nation’s No. 1 ranking over the final 10 weeks of the regular season.

The Dukes also logged two other major awards as junior return man Scotty McGee was named Special Teams Player of the Year and freshman defensive back Pat Williams was named one of two Defensive Rookies of the Year.  William and Mary’s freshman running back Jonathan Grimes was the overwhelming choice for CAA Football Offensive Rookie of the Year, while New Hampshire defensive lineman Brian McNally shared the Defensive Rookie of the Year honor with Williams.

As it did in 2007, Massachusetts led the way with seven selections to the All-CAA Football First Team.  Richmond was not far behind with six on the First Team, while Madison logged five.  Maine, Villanova and William and Mary picked up three First Team selections.  New Hampshire had two and Delaware and Hofstra each had one apiece on the league’s First Team.

Landers led the league in per-game rushing and pass efficiency in 2008.  The Virginia Beach, Va., native rushed for 1,377 yards and 14 touchdowns on 201 carries for a mark of 125.2 yards a game during the regular season.  The senior was also impressive in the pass game carrying a 171.2 efficiency rating after completing 89-of-138 attempts for 1,236 yards and 15 touchdowns.  On the season Landers went over the 100-yard rushing mark eight times while breaking his own JMU single-season quarterback rushing record of 1,273 set last season.  Landers, who led his squad to the No. 1-overall seed in the 2008 NCAA Division I National Championships, is 10 yards shy of becoming just the fifth FCS quarterback to throw and run for 3,000 yards in a career.

Belcher received Defensive Player of the Year honors after being recognized as the league’s preseason favorite for the honor.  The West Babylon, N.Y., native ranked 11th in the league, and first among defensive linemen, with an average of 7.8 tackles a game totalling 93 on the season.  The senior, who also led his team to its first playoff berth since 2002, ranked second in the conference with 7.5 sacks for an average of 0.62 per game.  Belcher, who was tops in the conference with 15.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, led a defense which ranked fourth in the league and currently 27th in the country in total defense, allowing 315.4 yards a game.

Matthews, in his 10th season at James Madison, garnered his first Coach of the Year honor since being given the award in 1999.  He guided the Dukes to an undefeated 8-0 mark and JMU’s first 10-win season (10-1) in school history.  Matthews and the Dukes, who finished the regular season with the nation’s longest active-win streak of 10 games, gained the league’s first No. 1 overall seed in the Championships since New Hampshire in 2005.

McGee was arguably the biggest game-changer in CAA Football this season.  The Virginia Beach, Va., native led the Dukes with 518 kick return yards on 15 attempts.  The junior took one of those 15 returns back 99 yards for a touchdown in James Madison’s 35-32 come-from-behind win over No. 1 Appalachian State in late September.  McGee made his biggest contributions on the Madison punt return unit where he led the league with a 13.6 yard per return average, and equalled a CAA Football single-season and career record of three punt return touchdowns in 2008.

Grimes led the league with an average of 162.0 all-purpose yards in 2008, the best-ever single-season mark by a freshman in conference history.  The Palmyra, N.J., native garnered 929 rushing yards and 314 receiving yards inside an offense which ranked second in the league and No. 25 in the country in total offense.  The true freshman also contributed 539 yards (league-best 24.5 yards/attempt) and one touchdown to the Tribe’s kick return unit in 2008.  One of the most decorated freshmen in league-history, Grimes earned First Team All-CAA Football kick returner and Second Team All-Conference running back honors in addition to the Offensive Rookie of the Year notation.

Both McNally and Williams will share Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2008.  McNally totalled 7.5 tackles for loss in his first year of action for UNH, ranking among the league leaders in the category.  The Cornwall, N.Y., native also ranked among the league’s Top-15 in tackles among defensive lineman with a mark of 4.1 per game.  Williams was part of a JMU defensive unit which ranked second in the league and 15th in the country in total defense allowing 296.4 yards a game.  The Virginia Beach, Va., native was tops among the league with three fumble recoveries on the year and finished his freshman regular season with 43 total tackles.

 

2008 CAA Football Major Awards
(as voted on by the head coaches)

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:  Rodney Landers, James Madison, Sr., QB, Virginia Beach, Va.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Jovan Belcher, Maine, Sr., DL, West Babylon, N.Y.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Scotty McGee, James Madison, Jr., KR/PR, Virginia Beach, Va.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:  Jonathan Grimes, William and Mary, Fr., RB/KR, Palmyra, N.J.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:  Brian McNally, New Hampshire, Fr., DL, Cornwall, N.Y.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:  Pat Williams, James Madison, Fr., DB, Virginia Beach, Va.
COACH OF THE YEAR:  Mickey Matthews, James Madison, 10th Season

 

 

2008 All-CAA Football First Team

(as voted on by the head coaches)

OFFENSE


Position Player School Class
QB Rodney Landers James Madison Senior
RB Tony Nelson Massachusetts Junior
RB Josh Vaughan Richmond Senior
FB/HB Jared Turcotte Maine Freshman
WR Mike Boyle New Hampshire Senior
WR Victor Cruz Massachusetts Junior
WR Kevin Grayson Richmond Sophomore
TE Scott Sicko New Hampshire Junior
OL Ryan Canary Maine Senior
OL Vladimir Ducasse Massachusetts Junior
OL Ben Ijalana Villanova Sophomore
OL Scott Lemn James Madison Senior
OL Matthew McCracken Richmond Junior
PK Brian Pate William and Mary Junior
KR Jonathan Grimes William and Mary Freshman
PR Scotty McGee James Madison Junior




DEFENSE


Position Player School Class
DL Jovan Belcher Maine Senior
DL Greg Miller Villanova Senior
DL Lawrence Sidbury, Jr. Richmond Senior
DL Adrian Tracy William and Mary Junior
LB Luke Bonus Hofstra Junior
LB Josh Jennings Massachusetts Junior
LB Eric McBride Richmond Sophomore
LB Osayi Osunde Villanova Junior
CB Evan McCollough James Madison Senior
CB Courtney Robinson Massachusetts Senior
CB Justin Rogers Richmond Sophomore
S Charles Graves Delaware Junior
S Marcus Haywood James Madison Senior
S Jeromy Miles Massachusetts Junior
P Brett Arnold Massachusetts Senior








2008 All-CAA Football Second Team

(as voted on by the head coaches)

OFFENSE


Position Player School Class
QB Liam Coen Massachusetts Senior
QB R.J. Toman New Hampshire Sophomore
RB Aaron Ball Villanova Sophomore
RB Jonathan Grimes William and Mary Freshman
RB Eugene Holloman James Madison Senior
FB/HB John Crone Richmond Senior
WR Marcus Lee Towson Senior
WR Matt Szczur Villanova Sophomore
WR Aaron Weaver Hofstra Sophomore
TE Brian Mandeville Northeastern Senior
TE Rob Varno William and Mary Junior
OL Terrence Apted James Madison Senior
OL Izzy Bauta Villanova Senior
OL Dorian Brooks James Madison Junior
OL Josh Droesch New Hampshire Senior
OL Kheon Hendricks Delaware Senior
OL Michael Silva Richmond Junior
PK Andrew Howard Richmond Junior
KR Scotty McGee James Madison Junior
PR Derek Hatcher Richmond Junior




DEFENSE


Position Player School Class
DL Hassan Abdul-Wahid James Madison Senior
DL Tim Kukucka Villanova Junior
DL Sherman Logan Richmond Senior
DL Matt Marcorelle Delaware Junior
LB Andrew Downey Maine Senior
LB Matt Hansen Rhode Island Sophomore
LB Marquis Kirkland Villanova Sophomore
LB Matt Parent New Hampshire Senior
CB Derek Cox William and Mary Senior
CB Dino Vasso New Hampshire Sophomore
S John Clements New Hampshire Senior
S Drew Mack Towson Senior
P Tom Bishop New Hampshire Senior








2008 All-CAA Football Third Team

(as voted on by the head coaches)

OFFENSE


Position Player School Class
QB Jake Phillips William and Mary Senior
QB Sean Schaefer Towson Senior
RB Alex Broomfield Northeastern Senior
RB Jhamal Fluellen Maine Senior
FB/HB Griff Yancey James Madison Sophomore
WR Phil Atkinson Villanova Senior
WR Jeremy Horne Massachusetts Junior
WR D.J. McAulay William and Mary Junior
TE Robbie Agnone Delaware Senior
OL Christopher Arnao Maine Senior
OL Brian Brannigan Villanova Junior
OL Sean Calicchio Massachusetts Senior
OL Kevin Newhall Northeastern Junior
OL Theo Sherman James Madison Sophomore
PK Joe Marcoux Villanova Senior
KR Angelo Babbaro Villanova Sophomore
PR Brandon Johnson-Farrell Rhode Island Freshman




DEFENSE


Position Player School Class
DL Dave Dalessandro Villanova Senior
DL Sam Daniels James Madison Junior
DL Kyle Harrington Massachusetts Junior
DL Arthur Moats James Madison Junior
LB Phil Higgins Northeastern Junior
LB Jordan Manning Towson Senior
LB Collin McConaghy Richmond Junior
LB Josh Rutter William and Mary Senior
CB Salim Koroma Villanova Senior
CB Lionel Nixon, Jr. Maine Senior
S Nate Thellen Northeastern Sophomore
S Darrel Young Villanova Senior
P David Miller William and Mary Sophomore