CAA tabs JMU's Lee player of year despite season cut short
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.
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
CAA FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM=
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
OL Ben Curtis, Delaware
OL Andrew Jones, William & Mary
OL Mitch Kirsch, James Madison
OL Nick Ritcher, Richmond
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
PK Nick Dorka, William & Mary
PR Casey DeAndrade, New Hampshire
P Hunter Windmuller, William & Mary