CAA Football Issues 2012 All-Conference Honors
RICHMOND, Va. - CAA Football announced its 2012 All-Conference honors on Monday following one of the most exciting conference title and automatic qualifier races in league history. The three All-Conference teams and six individual honors were voted on by CAA Football's 11 head coaches and handed out following a 2012 season that saw as many as seven league squads in the national rankings.
Villanova head coach Andy Talley was named CAA Football Coach of the Year for the 2012 season. Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke and James Madison junior linebacker Stephon Robertson earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honors, respectively, while William and Mary senior punt returner B.W. Webb and Georgia State junior kick returner Albert Wilson were selected Special Teams Players of the Year. Villanova quarterback John Robertson was chosen Offensive Rookie of the Year and Delaware linebacker Jeff Williams received Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. New Hampshire senior Chris Zarkoskie has been named the winner of CAA Football's first-ever Chuck Boone Leadership Award.
Talley earns his second CAA Coach of the Year honor after guiding Villanova to the nation's best regular-season turnaround this fall. After finishing 2-9 in 2011 and being picked eighth in the league's preseason poll, the Wildcats have utilized a strong ground game and a dominant defense to put together an impressive 8-3 overall record that includes a 6-2 mark in CAA play, eight wins by double-digit margins and two victories over top-10 programs. After earning a share of the conference championship this past week, Talley's team has garnered at least a share of the title for the sixth time in his coaching tenure and became the automatic qualifier for the first time since 2009 when the Wildcats went on to win the national championship. Nova, which finished the regular season ranked among the league's top four in both total defense and total offense, will face Stony Brook in the First Round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday.
Heinicke has undoubtedly been the force behind helping propel Old Dominion's offense into one of the most prolific attacks in FCS Football. In only his second year in the collegiate ranks, the Atlanta native leads the nation with 378 passing yards per game and 412 total yards per game and has already become the Monarchs' all-time career leader in completions, passing yards and touchdowns. A Walter Payton Award finalist, Heinicke has also thrown for an FCS-best 35 scores and 4,158 yards during a season in which he set new Division I records with 791 yards of total offense and 730 yards passing in ODU's 64-61 win over New Hampshire.
A starter in all 34 games in his three-year career in Harrisonburg, Stephon Robertson has come to be the core of a dominant James Madison defense that has consistently been among the league leaders in virtually every defensive statistical category. The Alexandria, Va., native and Buck Buchanan Award Watch List member wrapped up the regular season ranked third in the league with 101 tackles and finished as his team's leader with 8.5 tackles for loss. Robertson has also recorded a sack, an interception and five pass breakups on the year.
Webb keeps the Special Teams Player of the Year title in the Tribe family for the third-consecutive year after proving himself as one of the most dangerous punt returners in the league. The Newport News, Va., native can quickly change the scope of a game with his return prowess, which not only includes his actual returns but the fact that many teams are forced to alter their special teams strategies and punt around him. One of the league's four Buck Buchanan Award finalists this season, Webb concluded his senior campaign with 123 punt return yards and an 11.2 yard-per-return average to go with two fumble recoveries. He highlighted the season with a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown against Delaware.
As with Webb, Wilson also presented a definite threat any time he touched the ball on the special teams front. The Port St. Lucie, Fla., product amassed 751 yards on 29 kick return tries for a solid 25.9 yard-per-return average this season, an effort punctuated by a school-record 100-yard kick return for a touchdown against Old Dominion. Wilson finished his junior campaign third among all CAA players with 947 receiving yards, and his 1,810 all-purpose yards easily led the league and were nearly 450 yards more than the second-closest conference player on the list.
Giving true meaning to the term "dual threat", John Robertson has been a major catalyst in helping Villanova complete the nation's biggest turnaround in 2012. With his 1,830 yards passing this fall, the Paramus, N.J., product has thrown for the third-most yards in the league in addition to racking up 936 yards on the ground, putting him more than 250 rushing yards ahead of any other conference signal caller this fall. A Jerry Rice Award finalist and five-time CAA Rookie of the Week, Robertson has registered 27 total touchdowns in his rookie campaign while ranking fifth in the league with 13 rushing scores.
Like Robertson, Williams has also made a quick impact in his rookie campaign. The Freeport, N.Y., product was chosen as a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, and with good reason after he secured a league-best 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss of 83 yards for the Blue Hens in the regular season. Williams finished the year ranked fourth in the CAA among freshmen and fifth on his team with 61 tackles.
Zarkoskie becomes CAA Football's first-ever recipient of the Chuck Boone Annual Leadership Award, which is presented to the league player who embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship in his academic and athletic achievements and is voted on by the athletic directors of the league's 11 member institutions. A native of West Caldwell, N.J., the senior co-captain has not only excelled as a leader on the field, but he has also maintained a 3.54 cumulative GPA, been named to the Dean's List seven out of his eight semesters on campus and will graduate with a degree in psychology in December. Among other activities in his time outside of academic and athletic obligations, Zarkoskie has been an active member of the Durham area's "Pease Greeters" who welcome home troops returning from tours in the Middle East.
We encourage you to share your thoughts on our individual award winners and all-conference honorees listed below with us on our various social media platforms. CAA Football is on Twitter @The_CAAFootball and uses the official hashtag #CAAFB. We can also be found on Facebook, Instagram (search "caafootball") and blogging on our official new Every Day Is Saturday blog at caafootball.wordpress.com. All CAA Football video productions can be found on our YouTube Channel as well.
2012 CAA Football Major Awards (as voted on by the head coaches)
Coach of the Year: Andy Talley, Villanova
Offensive Player of the Year: Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, Soph., Quarterback
Defensive Player of the Year: Stephon Robertson, James Madison, Jr., Linebacker
Special Teams Co-Player of the Year: B.W. Webb, William and Mary, Sr., Punt Returner
Special Teams Co-Player of the Year: Albert Wilson, Georgia State, Jr., Kick Returner
Offensive Rookie of the Year: John Robertson, Villanova, R-Fr., Quarterback
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jeff Williams, Delaware, R-Fr., Linebacker
|2012 All-CAA Football First Team (as voted on by the head coaches)|
|QB||Taylor Heinicke||Old Dominion||Sophomore|
|WR||R.J. Harris||New Hampshire||Sophomore|
|WR||Nick Mayers||Old Dominion||Senior|
|OL||Seamus O'Neill||New Hampshire||Junior|
|OL||Earl Watford||James Madison||Senior|
|PK||Jarod Brown||Old Dominion||Junior|
|KR||Albert Wilson||Georgia State||Junior|
|PR||Ryan Smith||James Madison||Senior|
|DL||Chris Burnette||Old Dominion||Senior|
|DL||Jared Smith||New Hampshire||Senior|
|LB||Matt Evans||New Hampshire||Senior|
|LB||Stephon Robertson||James Madison||Junior|
|CB||B.W. Webb||William and Mary||Senior|
|S||Dean Marlowe||James Madison||Sophomore|
|P||Jonathan Plisco||Old Dominion||Senior|
|2012 All-CAA Football Second Team (as voted on by the head coaches)|
|RB||Dae'Quan Scott||James Madison||Junior|
|RB||Nico Steriti||New Hampshire||Sophomore|
|FB/HB||Brian Barlow||James Madison||Senior|
|WR||Tre McBride||William and Mary||Sophomore|
|WR||Antonio Vaughan||Old Dominion||Sophomore|
|OL||David Born||Old Dominion||Junior|
|OL||Mike Salazar||William and Mary||Senior|
|PK||Cameron Starke||James Madison||Junior|
|PR||B.W. Webb||William and Mary||Senior|
|LB||Jabrel Mines||William and Mary||Senior|
|LB||Craig Wilkins||Old Dominion||Senior|
|CB||Dontra Peters||New Hampshire||Senior|
|S||Manny Asam||New Hampshire||Junior|
|S||Brian Thompson||William and Mary||Senior|
|P||Matt Hubbard||Georgia State||Sophomore|
|2012 All-CAA Football Third Team (as voted on by the head coaches)|
|RB||Donald Russell||Georgia State||Senior|
|WR||Brandon Johnson-Farrell||Rhode Island||Senior|
|WR||Albert Wilson||Georgia State||Junior|
|TE||Harold Spears||New Hampshire||Sophomore|
|OL||Mike Coccia||New Hampshire||Sophomore|
|OL||Jack Lowney||Old Dominion||Junior|
|OL||Chris Zarkoskie||New Hampshire||Senior|
|PK||Mike MacArthur||New Hampshire||Junior|
|DL||Dominique Guinn-Bailey||Old Dominion||Sophomore|
|DL||Tyler Snow||James Madison||Junior|
|DL||Nick Zaremba||William and Mary||Senior|
|LB||Andrew Bose||Rhode Island||Sophomore|
|LB||Luke Rhodes||William and Mary||Freshman|
|CB||Jamaal Bess||Rhode Island||Junior|
|S||Jerome Couplin||William and Mary||Junior|
|S||Jakarie Jackson||James Madison||Senior|
|P||Drake Kuhn||William and Mary||Junior|
|P||David Skahn||James Madison||Senior|