CAA tabs JMU's Lee player of year despite season cut short

(STATS) - Vad Lee's season ended in crushing fashion. Yet the James Madison quarterback was so dominant before getting hurt that he was still rewarded.

Though Lee won't be available for the FCS playoffs, the Dukes might not have gotten there without him. As a result, the senior was voted the CAA Football's Offensive Player of the Year by the conference's 12 head coaches Tuesday.

Many of the league's other honors involved a lot of sharing. William & Mary safety DeAndre Houston-Carson and Stony Brook lineman Victor Ochi were named the Co-Defensive Players of the Year. Both freshman honors also resulted in ties, with Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk and Delaware running back Thomas Jefferson earning Co-Offensive Rookies of the Year while linebackers Julian Cox of Albany and Chris Tedder of Towson took home the defensive awards.

Richmond's Danny Rocco was named the conference's Coach of the Year, having guided the 12th-ranked Spiders to a share of the CAA Football title after being picked to finish fifth. Rocco's squad finished second in the league in total offense and scoring behind James Madison.

The eighth-ranked Dukes and the Spiders also were the only CAA teams to receive first-round byes for the playoffs after sharing the league championship with William & Mary, which led the way with 18 all-conference selections.

Lee led James Madison to a 7-0 start before suffering a season-ending foot injury in a loss to Richmond on Oct. 24. At the time, he was leading all FCS players in total offense at 375.5 yards per game. He still ended up edging second-team All-CAA quarterback Kyle Lauletta of Richmond by one yard as the league leader for the season with 3,004.

Despite missing the final three games, Lee finished as the conference leader in touchdown passes (21), completion percentage (68.3) and passer rating (165.5). He threw for 2,190 yards and rushed for 814 with eight TDs while averaging 7.5 per carry. The Durham, N.C., native became the only player in Division I history to pass and rush for 275 yards in the same game in a road win over FBS foe SMU on Sept. 26.

As for the defensive award winners, Ochi got the honor thanks in large part his FCS-leading 13 sacks for the Seawolves. Houston-Carson topped the Tribe with 68 tackles, had four interceptions and blocked a pair of kicks.

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CAA FOOTBALL AWARDS=

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Vad Lee, James Madison

Co-Defensive Players of the Year: S DeAndre Houston-Carson, William & Mary; DL Victor Ochi, Stony Brook

Co-Offensive Rookies of the Year: QB Zach Bednarczyk, Villanova; RB Thomas Jefferson, Delaware

Co-Defensive Rookies of the Year: LB Julian Cox, Albany; LB Chris Tedder, Towson

Special Teams Player of the Year: RS-WR DeVonte Dedmon, William & Mary

Coach of the Year: Danny Rocco, Richmond

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CAA FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM=

OFFENSE=

QB Vad Lee, James Madison

RB Kendell Anderson, William & Mary

RB Jacobi Green, Richmond

FB Gary Underwood, Villanova

WR Ray Bolden, Stony Brook

WR Brian Brown, Richmond

WR Reggie Diggs, Richmond

WR Brandon Ravenel, James Madison

TE Jordan Powell, New Hampshire

OL Ben Curtis, Delaware

OL Bruce Johnson Maine

OL Andrew Jones, William & Mary

OL Mitch Kirsch, James Madison

OL Nick Ritcher, Richmond

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DEFENSE=

DL Trevor Bates, Maine

DL Tyler Claytor, William & Mary

DL Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova

DL Victor Ochi, Stony Brook

DL Patrick Ricard, Maine

LB Andrew Ankrah, James Madison

LB Don Cherry, Villanova

LB Omar Howard, Richmond

LB Luke Rhodes, William & Mary

CB Casey DeAndrade New Hampshire

CB Ayo Ogunniyi, Richmond

CB Taylor Reynolds, James Madison

S DeAndre Houston-Carson, William & Mary

S David Jones, Richmond

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SPECIALISTS=

PK Nick Dorka, William & Mary

KR Harold Cooper, Rhode Island

PR Casey DeAndrade, New Hampshire

P Hunter Windmuller, William & Mary

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