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)|
|QB||Rodney Landers||James Madison||Senior|
|WR||Mike Boyle||New Hampshire||Senior|
|TE||Scott Sicko||New Hampshire||Junior|
|OL||Scott Lemn||James Madison||Senior|
|PK||Brian Pate||William and Mary||Junior|
|KR||Jonathan Grimes||William and Mary||Freshman|
|PR||Scotty McGee||James Madison||Junior|
|DL||Lawrence Sidbury, Jr.||Richmond||Senior|
|DL||Adrian Tracy||William and Mary||Junior|
|CB||Evan McCollough||James Madison||Senior|
|S||Marcus Haywood||James Madison||Senior|
|2008 All-CAA Football Second Team|
|(as voted on by the head coaches)|
|QB||R.J. Toman||New Hampshire||Sophomore|
|RB||Jonathan Grimes||William and Mary||Freshman|
|RB||Eugene Holloman||James Madison||Senior|
|TE||Rob Varno||William and Mary||Junior|
|OL||Terrence Apted||James Madison||Senior|
|OL||Dorian Brooks||James Madison||Junior|
|OL||Josh Droesch||New Hampshire||Senior|
|KR||Scotty McGee||James Madison||Junior|
|DL||Hassan Abdul-Wahid||James Madison||Senior|
|LB||Matt Hansen||Rhode Island||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|
|P||Tom Bishop||New Hampshire||Senior|
|2008 All-CAA Football Third Team|
|(as voted on by the head coaches)|
|QB||Jake Phillips||William and Mary||Senior|
|FB/HB||Griff Yancey||James Madison||Sophomore|
|WR||D.J. McAulay||William and Mary||Junior|
|OL||Theo Sherman||James Madison||Sophomore|
|PR||Brandon Johnson-Farrell||Rhode Island||Freshman|
|DL||Sam Daniels||James Madison||Junior|
|DL||Arthur Moats||James Madison||Junior|
|LB||Josh Rutter||William and Mary||Senior|
|CB||Lionel Nixon, Jr.||Maine||Senior|
|P||David Miller||William and Mary||Sophomore|