William and Mary picked fourth in preseason CAA football poll

wm-logoFour William and Mary football standouts garnered preseason all-conference honors at the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., on Tuesday.

Representing W&M on the preseason All-CAA team were all four of the Tribe’s senior captains – running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor, defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson, center Andrew Jonesand linebacker Luke Rhodes. W&M’s total of four all-conference selections tied for the most of any team in the league.

Additionally, the CAA’s preseason poll was announced at the event, as the Tribe was picked to finish fourth. Both the preseason all-conference team and preseason poll were selected based on a vote by the CAA’s 12 head coaches and media relations personnel.

One of the nation’s top linebackers, Rhodes enters his senior campaign having already earned a long list of preseason honors. Highlighting those accolades was a selection to the Butkus Award Watch List, as he was the lone FCS player on the list that honors the country’s top collegiate linebackers. A STATS FCS Preseason All-America First Team honoree, Rhodes was also chosen to the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year Watch List, which includes the nation’s top 22 defensive players at the FCS level.

Rhodes is a two-time first-team all-conference selection and a three-time all-league honoree. During the past two seasons, the Hollidaysburg, Pa., native has totaled 191 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 15 PBU.

An outstanding leader, Rhodes is a two-time team captain, which makes him just the 11th player to earn the honor multiple times in the program’s 122-year history.

Abdul-Saboor emerged as one of the country’s top running backs last season after ranking 13th nationally in rushing yards per game (115.1) with 12 touchdowns. Additionally, the first-team All-CAA selection posted the sixth-best single-season rushing total (1,266) in school history and rushed for more than 100 yards in seven games, including each of the final five contests.

During the past two seasons, the Alpharetta, Ga., native has totaled 2,090 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns. Additionally, the team captain has averaged nearly 5.0 yards per carry during the two-year stretch and enters his senior season needing less than 100 rushing yards to move into the program’s all-time top-10 list.

Having established himself as one of the country’s top defensive backs throughout his career, Houston-Carson was recently selected to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Second Team and is a two-time all-conference honoree. Although he suffered a season-ending injury during Week 9 last fall, Houston-Carson ranked tied for second in the CAA in interceptions (three) and tied for sixth in tackles per game among defensive backs (7.4) at the time of his injury. The Woodford, Va., native also excelled on special teams in 2014 and ranked second nationally with four blocked kicks at the time of his injury. Additionally, the team captain is a three-year starter and has totaled seven blocks during his career.

Honored as a third-team preseason All-American by STATS, Jones will continue to anchor the Tribe’s talented offensive line this fall. A three-year starter and team captain, the Naples, Fla., native garnered first-team All-CAA distinction last season after helping Abdul-Saboor become the league’s leading rusher despite a number of injuries along the offensive line.

The Tribe will open the 2015 season at Lafayette on Sept. 5, while it will host Stony Brook for its home opener on Sept. 26.

Season tickets are available for purchase online at TribeAthletics.com or by calling or visiting the Tribe Ticket Office in W&M Hall at 757-221-3340.

In addition to enjoying all the action during the 2015 campaign, Tribe season ticket holders this fall will benefit by improving their opportunity for preferred seating when the renovated Zable Stadium opens in 2016.

2015 Preseason Predicted Order of Finish (First Place Votes)
1. Villanova (14)
2.  James Madison (5)
3.  New Hampshire (5)
4.  William & Mary
5.  Richmond
6.  Delaware
7.  Maine
8.  Stony Brook
9.  Towson
10.  UAlbany
11.  Rhode Island
12.  Elon

First-place votes in parentheses

2015 CAA Football Preseason Offensive Players of the Year
QB, John Robertson – Villanova

2015 CAA Football Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
LB, Don Cherry – Villanova

2015 CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team – Offense
QB –  John Robertson – Villanova
RB – Mikal Abdul-Saboor – William & Mary
RB – Darius Victor – Towson
FB/HB – Seth Fisher – Richmond
WR – Brian Brown – Richmond
WR – Reggie Diggs – Richmond
WR – Josh Gontarek – UAlbany
TE – Deane Cheatham – James Madison
OL – Ben Curtis – Delaware
OL – Bruce Johnson – Maine
OL – Andrew Jones – William & Mary
OL – Mitch Krisch – James Madison
OL – Tad McNeely – New Hampshire

2015 CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team – Defense
DL – Trevor Bates – Maine
DL – Jon Desir – Towson
DL – Victor Ochi – Stony Brook
DL – Blaine Woodson – Delaware
LB – Akil Anderson – New Hampshire
LB – Don Cherry – Villanova
LB – Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga – Maine
LB – Luke Rhodes – William & Mary
CB – Casey DeAndrade – New Hampshire
CB – DeAndre Houston-Carson – William & Mary
S – Chris Blair – Elon
S – Naim Cheeseboro – Stony Brook

2015 CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team – Special Teams
RS – Myles Holmes – Rhode Island
PK – Peter Yoder – Richmond
P – Eric Enderson – Delaware

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