August 17, 2017

(STATS) - James Madison will begin defense of its 2016 FCS national championship without a half-dozen players because of team suspensions.

On Thursday, the CAA Football program announced All-America tight end Jonathan Kloosterman has been banned for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules. Later in the day, coach Mike Houston told the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg, Virginia, that wide receiver Terrence Alls, cornerback Justin Bethea, linebacker Brandon Hereford and offensive lineman Nick Edwards are suspended for the first four games, and defensive lineman Marcus Hawkins is suspended for the season opener. Each is a senior except Hawkins, a freshman.

The Dukes begin their season Sept. 2 at East Carolina.

"At JMU, we are committed to winning, but more importantly, we are committed to winning the right way," Houston said in a statement.

Kloosterman, a third-team selection on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team, caught 24 passes for 322 yards and seven touchdowns (five in the playoffs) last season.

Alls and Hereford were two of the seven players James Madison suspended during its 2016 playoff run.

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