CAA Football Fields 12 Sports Network All-Americans
RICHMOND, Va. - An impressive list of 12 student-athletes were selected to represent CAA Football on the 2012 Sports Network All-America Team, as announced by the organization on Monday. The list of 12 players was a five-member improvement from the seven league honorees featured on the team a year ago.
New Hampshire senior LB Matt Evans was named a first-team selection along with Old Dominion sophomore QB Taylor Heinicke, Richmond senior DB Cooper Taylor and James Madison senior OL Earl Watford. Evans' first-team designation was his second straight.
CAA Football fielded three student-athletes on the second team in Richmond senior FB Kendall Gaskins, JMU junior LB Stephon Robertson and William and Mary DB B.W. Webb.
Representing the league as third-team honorees were Towson senior DE Frank Beltre, ODU senior DT Eric Burnette, Towson senior DB Jordan Dangerfield, UNH senior DT Jared Smith and Delaware senior LB Paul Worrilow.
Evans led CAA Football with 115 total tackles, which ranked 20th in the country, while tacking on an FCS-best 77 solo tackles. The Hanover, Mass., product, and team co-captain became UNH's all-time tackle leader on Nov. 3 against William and Mary and capped his career with 449 stops and 266 solo tackles, both figures ranking first among all active FCS players. The reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner and a recently crowned AFCA All-American, Evans closed out the season with six straight double-digit tackle games and paced the Wildcats in tackles nine times in 12 games this fall.
Heinicke broke Steve McNair's single-season FCS passing yards record with 5,076 yards on the season and also set the nation's completions record with 398. The Atlanta native finished the year 398-of-579 passing and set a new CAA Football record with 44 touchdown tosses. His 390.5 passing yards per game led the nation and is the third highest in FCS history, with his 44 touchdown passes also serving as the third most in history. Heinicke ran for 11 scores this season as well and concluded his sophomore campaign with an FCS-best 55 touchdowns. The Walter Payton Award finalist was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year in November.
Despite playing only two seasons at Richmond, Taylor will graduate having made a tremendous impact for the Spiders in his short time on campus. A First-Team All-CAA honoree, Taylor totaled 78 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and four interceptions in 10 games this fall. Taylor was also recently recognized by The Touchdown Club of Richmond as the Division I Defensive Back of the Year in the state of Virginia.
Watford was the top-rated offensive lineman for the Dukes, starting all 11 games while also serving as a team captain. The AFCA All-American and First Team All-CAA selection allowed just one sack on the season while leading an offense that ranked fourth in rushing offense in CAA Football at 209.0 yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. Watford started in 37 of the 43 games he played in his career, including a stint as a starter in each of the Dukes' last 35 contests.
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