2022 CAA Football

CAA Football Weekly Report | Week 1

CAA Football Weekly Report | Week 1

Catch up on the CAA Football weekly news, notes, and awards

Sep 1, 2022 by FloFootball Staff
CAA Football Weekly Report | Week 1

CONFERENCE NOTES

THURSDAY NIGHT CONFERENCE GAMES KICK OFF 2022 SLATE: A pair of Thursday night conference games kick off the 2022 CAA Football schedule. League newcomer Monmouth visits New Hampshire and Stony Brook entertains Rhode Island. It's the first meeting ever between Monmouth and UNH. SBU has won seven of the eight previous matchups with URI, but the Rams pulled out a 27-20 overtime victory last season.

SIX FBS MATCHUPS HIGHLIGHT WEEK 1 NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: In addition to Thursday's league matchups, there are nine non-conference games in Week 1. Six of them are against FBS opponents as CAA schools face foes from the ACC (Richmond/Virginia), American (Delaware/Navy), Big 12 (UAlbany/Baylor), Conference USA (William & Mary/Charlotte), Mountain West (Maine/New Mexico) and SEC (Elon/Vanderbilt). Three squads take on FCS opponents as defending CAA champ Villanova hosts Lehigh, CAA newcomer Hampton entertains Howard and Towson travels to Bucknell.

SUCCESS AGAINST THE FBS: CAA Football has posted 40 wins over FBS foes in its history and has won at least one game against an FBS team in 12 of the past 14 years. Since 2013, eight different teams have recorded at least one FBS victory and the CAA had multiple wins over FBS opponents in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021.

WELCOME TO THE CAA: CAA Football will be the largest FCS conference in the nation in 2022 as the addition of Hampton and Monmouth gives the league 13 members for the first time in history. The Pirates have made five FCS playoff appearances in their history and are 17-16 since 2018 under coach Robert Prunty. Monmouth has gone 38-14 since 2017 and has reached the playoffs three times during that stretch under coach Kevin Callahan. North Carolina A&T and Campbell will join CAA Football in 2023, increasing membership to 15.

NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: CAA teams have been dominant against FCS non-conference opponents over the past five years, winning a remarkable 76% of those games. The league was a combined 22-7 in 2021, 8-3 in the shortened 2021 spring season, 30-9 in 2019, 22-9 in 2018 and 26-6 in 2017.

FOUR TEAMS RANKED IN PRESEASON TOP 25: Four CAA teams are ranked in the Stats Perform and AFCA Coaches preseason Top 25 polls. Villanova leads the way at #5 in the Coaches poll and #6 in the Stats poll, while Delaware is #19 both polls. Rhode Island is ranked #22 by Stats and #24 by the Coaches, while Richmond is #24 in both polls. William & Mary and Elon were among others receiving votes in both polls and Monmouth picked up votes in the Stats Perform poll. The CAA's four ranked teams trails only the Big Sky (6) and Missouri Valley (5).

SEVEN PLAYERS ON WATCH LISTS FOR LEGACY AWARDS: CAA Football had seven players named to Watch Lists for the Stats Perform Legacy Awards. Monmouth running back Juwon Farri, Richmond wide receiver Jakob Herres and Richmond quarterback Reece Udinksi are on the watch list for the Payton Award, which is given to the top offensive player in FCS. William & Mary defensive end Nate Lynn, New Hampshire defensive end Josiah Silver, Richmond linebacker Tristan Wheeler and Delaware safety Kedrick Whitehead are on the watch list for the Buchanan Award, presented to the top defensive player in FCS.

HAMPTON'S BONDS, BURRIS ON PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: Hampton wide receiver Jadakis Bonds and running back Elijah Burris were recognized on the Black College Football Player of the Year Watch List by the Black College Football Hall of Fame.

TEAM NOTES

UAlbany

•  Opens the year at defending Big 12 champion Baylor, which enters the 2022 season ranked #10 in the AP and Coaches polls.

•  Roy Alexander was UA's top receiver last season as a freshman, making 37 receptions for 560 yards and 3 TD's.

•  Linebacker Jackson Ambush recorded a team-high 97 tackles last season and added 5.0 TFL's and a forced fumble. He was named to the All-CAA third team and was chosen as a Freshman All-American by HERO Sports.

•  AJ Mistler, a four-year starter at LB, enters the season with 249 career tackles and 18.5 TFL's. He made 61 stops in 2021.

•  WR Jackson Parker made 23 catches for 285 yards over the final four games in 2021. He finished with 32 grabs for 461 yards.

• Transfer Tyler Pastula led the CAA with a 42.5-yard punting average last season at Delaware. He had 13 punts of 50+ yards and earned first-team all-conference honors.

Delaware

•  Ryan Carty makes his UD head coaching debut on Saturday at Navy. It's the first meeting between the teams since 2013.

•  QB Nolan Henderson was limited to four games last season due to injury, but earned 1st-team All-CAA honors in 2020-21.

•  Thyrick Pitts led the Blue Hens in receptions (43), receiving yards (669) and receiving TD's (7) in 2021. He had a touchdown catch in six of the team's 11 games.

•  Safety Kedrick Whitehead has garnered All-America honors for the past two seasons and is a three-time All-CAA pick. He was second on the team with 76 tackles in 2021.

•  LB Johnny Buchanan made a team-best 81 tackles last season and added 5.5 TFL's. He was named to the All-CAA second team.

•  The Blue Hens had a league-high five players on the 2022 preseason All-CAA team.

•  Delaware is 15-18 all-time against FBS opponents, which is the third-most wins by any FCS program in those games.

Elon

•  Faces SEC foe Vanderbilt on Saturday night. The Phoenix were 4-2 on the road last year.

•  Elon finished third in the CAA a year ago and posted its first winning season since 2018 with a 6-5 mark.

•  Jackson Parham ranked 3rd in the CAA in receivng yards (820) and receptions (57) in 2021. He made the All-CAA first team.

•  Safety Cole Coleman earned first-team All-CAA honors in 2021 after making a team-high 71 stops. The preseason All-American enters the year with 246 career tackles.

•  In addition to Parham, Elon returns WR's Bryson Daughtry and Chandler Brayboy, who each made 35 catches last season and combined for eight touchdowns.

•  PK Skyler Davis was 17-for-22 on FG's last season and made his final nine attemtps. He connected on three FG's from 50+ yards, including a school-record 52-yarder.

• LB Devonte Chander tallied 70 tackles and 10.5 TFL's last season.

Hampton

•  Faces longtime rival Howard on Saturday in their first game as a CAA member after moving from the Big South Conference.

•  Jadakis Bonds made the All-Big South first team for the second time in 2021 after making 54 catches for 773 yards and 6 TD's. He had a school-record 15 TD grabs in 2019 and owns the HU career mark for receiving TD's.

•  RB Elijah Burris was named the Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2021 after rushing for a team-high 640 yards and 6 touchdowns.

•  DB Ali Shockley topped the Pirates and ranked 4th in the Big South with 89 tackles last season.

•  LB KeShaun Moore made the All-Big South second team in 2021 after contributing 13.5 TFL's and 7.5 sacks.

•  PK Axel Perez connected on 10-of-11 FG's last season and was 32-of-35 on extra points. He was chosen to the All-Big South second team.

Maine

•  Visits New Mexico on Saturday in the first game under head coach Jordan Stevens.

•  QB Joe Fagnano was limited to four games due to injury in 2021, but passed for over 200 yards and 2 TD's in three of them. He threw for 1,835 yards and 17 TD's in 2019 and made the All-CAA 2nd team in 2020-21.

•  Freddie Brock ran for a team-high 720 yards and 7 TD's last season. He also had 3 receving TD's and found the end zone in eight of the Black Bears' final nine games.

•  TE Shawn Bowman earned 3rd-team All-CAA honors in 2021 after making 24 catches for 282 yards and 4 TD's in 2021.

•  Maine recorded FBS wins over Western Kentucky (31-28) in 2018 and UMass (35-10) last season.

•  LB Adrian Otero ranked third on the team in tackles last season with 63. He made 83 stops and 5.0 TFL's in 2019.

•  New Mexico is the furthest that Maine has traveled for a regular-season game since 1990 when it faced Hawaii.

Monmouth

•  Travels to league foe New Hampshire on Thursday for their first game as a CAA member after moving from the Big South.

•  QB Tony Muskett earned 1st team All-Big South honors last season after passing for 2,651 yards and 25 TD's. The 25 touchdowns were the 2nd-most in school history.

•  MU returns its top three rushers from last season - Juwon Farri (705 yds, 8 TD's), Jaden Shirden (497 yds, 3 TD's) and Owen Wright (370 yds, 2 TD's). Farri was a 1st team All-Big South selection.

•  Eddie Morales III made the All-Big South first team as a DB and punt returner in 2021. He recorded 57 tackles and 3 int., and led the BSC in punt return yardage.

•  DB Tyrese Wright led the Hawks with 71 tackles last season.

•  Punter Ryan Kost ranked 8th nationally with a 44.3 yard average last season and is a two-time All-Big South pick.

•  Monmouth is 38-14 since 2017 and has made three FCS playoff appearances.

New Hampshire

•  Hosts CAA newcomer Monmouth in their opening game on Thursday night.

•  Former All-America QB Rick Santos begins his first season as head coach at UNH. He went 6-5 as the interim coach in 2019.

•  Max Brosmer returns at QB for UNH after missing last season due to injury. He passed for 1,967 yards and 12 TD's in 2019.

•  Dylan Laube led the CAA and ranked 4th in FCS in all-purpose yards (147.4 ypg) in 2021. He ran for 501 yards, had 206 receiving yards and averaged 21.7 yards on KOR's.

•  DE Josiah Silver earned All-America honors as a freshman in 2021 after ranking 6th in FCS in sacks (12.5) and TFL's (20.5) and leading UNH with 80 total tackles.

•  Brian Espanet made 34 catches last season for a team-best 454 yards and 7 TD's.

•  LB Ryan Toscano was second on the team with 67 tackles in 2021. He had two games with double-digit stops.

Rhode Island

•  Travels to CAA foe Stony Brook to start the season on Thursday night.

•  Kasim Hill returns at QB after throwing for 2,170 yards and 18 TD's last season. He had six games with multiple TD passes and five contests with 200+ passing yards.

•  TE Caleb Warren earned 1st team All-CAA honors in 2021 after making 23 catches for 386 yards and 3 TD's in only eight games.

•  DB Jordan Jones ranked 2nd in the CAA and 5th in FCS with 6 interceptions last season. He made the All-CAA second team.

•  LB Evan Stewart was tied for the team lead with 88 tackles in 2021 and added 7 PBU's.

•  Davey Schaum-Bartocci has averaged 40.0 yards per punt in his career and has three of the top 10 season averages in URI history.

•  URI returns four players who started every game on the offensive line last season, led by preseason All-American Nick Correia.

Richmond

•  Makes the short trip to Virginia for their season opener. The Spiders beat the Cavaliers, 37-20, to start the season in 2016.

•  Reece Udinski makes his first start at QB for UR after a sensational career at VMI where he passed for a school-record 7,877 yards and 48 touchdowns.

•  RB Aaron Dykes finished with 11 TD's in 2021 and was the only FCS player to score a TD rushing, receiving and on a KOR. Dykes led UR in rushing (516) and AP yards (1306).

•  All-America LB Tristan Wheeler led the CAA with 114 tackles last season and has made 256 career stops in just 24 total games. He ranks 5th in career tackles among active FCS players.

•  WR Jakob Herres joins the Spiders from VMI. He is the FCS active leader in career receptions (226) and receiving yards (3,006) and is second in TD catches (26).

•  UR will try to maintain the momentum from closing 2021 on a four-game winning streak.

Stony Brook

•  Opens the 2022 season at home against CAA foe Rhode Island on Thursday night.

•  Ty Son Lawton led the CAA with 1,088 rushing yards and 10 TD's last season, becoming SBU's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2018. He was chosen as the 2022 CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

•  LB Tyler King earned 2nd team All-CAA and Freshman All-America honors last season after recording a team-high 95 tackles and 12.5 TFL's.

•  Shawn Harris, Jr. topped SBU in receptions (31) and receiving yards (586) last year.

•  Along with King, the Seawolves return LB Reidgee Dimanche (79 tackles) and DB Carthell Flowers (72 tackles), who ranked 2nd and 3rd on the team in stops in 2021.

•  Kyle Nunez is back for his fifth season on the SBU offensive line. He's earned All-CAA honors in each of his four previous years.

•  The Seawolves won four of their final five games last season.

Towson

•  Visits Patriot League member Bucknell to start the season on Saturday night.

•  The Tigers will have a different look in 2022 with the addition of more than 50 new players to the roster.

•  DL Jesus Gibbs has been selected to the watch list for the 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl. A transfer from South Carolina, he recorded 15 tackles and 3.0 TFL's for the Tigers in four games last year before being injured.

•  D'Ago Hunter was among CAA leaders in kickoff (22.2 avg) and punt (7.1 avg) returns and also rushed for 122 yards and a TD.

•  WR Darian Street was second on the team in receiving yards (336) and third in catches (24) a year ago.

•  FB Luke Hamilton received 2nd team All-CAA honors in 2021 and made the 2022 preseason All-CAA squad

•  DL Vinnie Shaffer recorded 4.5 sacks last season and also tallied 38 tackles.

Villanova

•  Entertains Lehigh on Friday night to start the 2022 campaign. It's the first time that VU has opened at home since 2004.

•  VU returns its top three receivers - Rayjoun Pringle (41 rec, 843 yds, 8 TD's), Jaaron Hayek (40 rec, 671 yds, 9 TD's) and Dez Boykin (20 rec, 308 yds, 2 TD's).

•  Connor Watkins takes over as VU's starting QB after serving as a backup to Dan Smith for the past three years.

•  RB's Jalen Jackson and DeeWil Barlee combined to rush for 1,001 yards and 7 TD's last season.

•  Among the returnees from VU's nationally ranked defense of a year ago are DB Ethan Potter (49 tackles) and DL Garrett Zobel (39 tackles, 5.0 TFL).

•  VU forced 25 TO's last season, including a CAA-best 19 interceptions.

•  VU earned a share of the CAA Football title last season for the first time since 2012 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2014.

William & Mary

•  Meets Charlotte for the first time on Friday night to start the 2022 season.

•  Charlotte head coach Will Healy was a co-captain on Richmond's 2008 FCS national championship team that was coached by W&M head coach Mike London.

•  DL Nate Lynn was a consensus All-American last season after ranking among FCS leaders with a school-record 12.0 sacks and six forced fumbles.

•  W&M topped the CAA and was 12th in FCS in rushing (205.5 ypg) last year. The Tribe has its top seven rushers back - including Bronson Yoder (622 yds, 4 TD's) and Donavyn Lester (519 yds, 5 TD's).

•  QB Darius Wilson was the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021 after tallying 1,591 yards of offense and 10 TD's.

•  Trey Watkins has been W&M's leading tackler for the past three season and has 194 stops for his career.

•  DL Carl Fowler is in his third year of law school at W&M.