Jun 5, 2014, 2:23 PM EDT
Preseason defensive honors continued for a number of CAA Football studs, as six defensive linemen/ends and four defensive backs were recently named to the 2014 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS Awards Watch List. The group joins seven of the league’s top returning linebackers who were also honored by the same organization last week.
Both initial watch lists highlight 38 DL and 38 DBs, respectively, across the FCS level. All players are eligible for awards at their respective positions; players are not preemptively eliminated from consideration.
Amongst league defensive linemen chosen were Delaware’s Derek Saulsberry, James Madison’s Sage Harold and Brandon Lee, Richmond’s Evan Kelly, Towson’s Ryan Delaire and William & Mary’s Mike Reilly.
Saulsberry played in all 12 of UD’s games last fall, recording 48 total tackles — team-high 14 for loss — to go along with eight sacks.
Harold only recorded 19 tackles in 2013, but made them count as 8.5 went for loss, while sacking the quarterback 4 1/2 times. He also forced three fumbles. Lee ranked second for the Dukes with 6.5 sacks last season, also adding 10 tackles for loss, one interception and five QB hurries. Both Dukes will be seniors in 2014.
Kelly returns in 2014 fresh off leading the Spiders with nine tackles for loss last fall. He also led the squad with six sacks while forcing and recovering one fumble.
Delaire was a forced for the national-runner up Tigers in 2013. He paced a solid D with 17.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. On top of that, the rising senior had eight QB hurries and a team-high four fumble recoveries.
Reilly enters the 2014 season as one of CAA Football’s top pass rushers. An AP third team All-America honoree last fall, he led the league in sacks (11.5) and sacks per game (0.96) while also racking up 13.0 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles en route to earning first team All-CAA recognition.
Four league players from four different teams were selected to the preseason defensive back watch list — James Madison’s Dean Marlowe, Towson’s Donnell Lewis, New Hampshire’s Steven Thames and Villanova’s Cameron McCurry.
JMU’s third leading tackler one season ago, Marlowe, racked up 77 total stops and also recorded one interception and eight pass breakups.
TU’s Lewis wasn’t too shabby either in the tackles department, registering 95 last year for the Tigers. He picked off four passes, had four pass breakups and even forced four fumbles to go along with two fumble recoveries.
Thames ranked second on UNH with 11 pass breakups and totaled 55 tackles in 2013. The redshirt senior also picked off a team-high four interceptions and headlines a young Wildcat secondary.
As a sophomore last fall, McCurry was a pleasant surprise for the Villanova defense. He finished the 2013 season with 60 tackles, four interceptions (leading the Wildcats) and forced and recovered one fumble en route to earning All-CAA third team honors.
The full list of 2014 CFPA winners will be announced January 14, 2015.
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