RICHMOND, Va. (July 25, 2023) – William & Mary, which went 11-2, earned a share of the CAA Football championship and reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2009 last season, has been picked to capture the CAA Football title in 2023 according to a vote of the league’s head coaches.
The Tribe received 13 first-place votes and 195 points in the preseason poll. New Hampshire, which shared the 2022 CAA Football title with W&M, got one first-place vote and was picked second with 179 points. Richmond finished third with 159 points and was followed closely by Delaware (149 points/1 first-place vote) and Elon (146 points). Rhode Island (135 points) was chosen sixth, followed by Villanova, Monmouth, Towson, North Carolina A&T, UAlbany, Campbell, Maine, Stony Brook and Hampton.
William & Mary returns nine starters from an offense that ranked third in FCS in rushing and averaged 33.5 points per game. Back is dual-threat quarterback Darius Wilson, leading rushers Bronson Yoder and Malachi Imoh and an experienced offensive line. Five of the Tribe’s eight returning starters on defense were All-CAA honorees, including linebacker John Pius and defensive end Nate Lynn, who both garnered All-America accolades, as well as linebacker Isaiah Jones and cornerbacks Ryan Poole and Jalen Jones.
New Hampshire has nine starters back on offense and defense from a 9-4 squad that advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. The Wildcats’ offense features All-America running back/returner Dylan Laube along with quarterback Max Brosmer, receiver Joey Corcoran and tight end Kyle Lepkowski. All-America defensive ends Josiah Silver and Dylan Ruiz are joined by leading tackler Ryan Toscano and veteran safety Max Oxendine on defense.
Richmond is coming off its best season since 2016, going 9-4 overall and reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs. Six starters are back on offense, including four linemen and receiver Nick DeGennaro. The Spiders’ defense is anchored by All-America linebacker Tristan Wheeler. He is joined by All-CAA standouts Marlem Louis, Jeremiah Grant and Aaron Banks among seven returning starters.
Delaware went 8-5 a year ago and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. Leading rusher Kyron Cumby and top receiver Jourdan Townsend are among seven starters back offensively. The Blue Hens face the task of replacing nine starters on defense, but All-CAA defensive end Chase McGowan returns.
Elon earned a FCS playoff berth for the first time since 2018 after posting an 8-4 mark last season. The Phoenix offense welcomes back four starters up front to clear the way for 1,000-yard rusher Jalen Hampton. Safety Bo Sanders and lineman Josh Johnson are among four starters back on defense.
CAA Football also announced its preseason all-conference team. W&M led all schools with seven players honored while UNH had five. Monmouth All-America running back Jaden Shirden was chosen as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year after leading FCS with 1,722 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season. William & Mary All-America linebacker John Pius was selected as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year after tallying 72 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 19.0 tackles for loss in 2022.
CAA Football expands to 15 members in 2023 with the addition of Campbell and North Carolina A&T and looks to continue its tradition of success. Five teams received berths in the FCS playoffs in 2022, which was tied for the most of any conference. The CAA has had at least one team reach the quarterfinals every year since 1995 and has had at least one semifinalist nine times in the last decade. Twelve of the CAA’s 15 members have participated in the FCS playoffs since 2015, a feat unmatched by any other conference.
CAA FOOTBALL PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jaden Shirden, RB, Monmouth CAA FOOTBALL PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: John Pius, LB, William & Mary
2023 CAA FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH(Selected by a vote of Head Coaches)
- William & Mary (13 first-place votes) 195
- New Hampshire (1 first-place vote) 179
- Richmond 159
- Delaware (1 first-place vote) 149
- Elon 146
- Rhode Island 135
- Villanova 129
- Monmouth 94
- Towson 85
- North Carolina A&T 70
- UAlbany 64
- Campbell 62
- Maine 40
- Stony Brook 38
- Hampton 30