Five CAA Football teams are ranked in the 2022 Athlon Sports FCS Preseason Top 25 poll that was released on Monday.
Villanova tops the group of CAA teams at No. 8, followed by Rhode Island at No. 14, Delaware at No. 20, William & Mary at No. 23, and Elon at No. 25. Richmond was listed as one of five teams to watch.
CAA Football’s five ranked teams are tied for the most of any FCS conference along with the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Big Sky Conference.
Villanova went 10-3 overall, earned a share of the CAA title with a 7-1 mark and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs last season. The Wildcats return many of their top playmakers offensively with receivers Rayjoun Pringle and Jaaron Hayek, as well as running backs DeeWil Barlee and Jalen Jackson.
Rhode Island posted its most overall wins since 2001 a year ago, going 7-4 overall. The Rams return starting quarterback Kasim Hill and get running back Kevin Brown, Jr. back from an injury. URI’s defense features All-CAA defensive back Jordan Jones and leading tackler Evan Stewart.
Delaware begins its first season under new head coach Ryan Carty. The Blue Hens have a veteran quarterback in Nolan Henderson and an all-conference receiver in Thyrick Pitts. There is also experience returning on defense with All-CAA performers Johnny Buchanan, Kedrick Whitehead, and Noah Plack.
William & Mary is coming off its first winning season since 2015, going 6-5 a year ago. The Tribe returns nearly all of its starters defensively, led by All-America defensive end Nate Lynn and leading tackler Trey Watkins. Bronson Yoder, Donavyn Lester and Malachi Imoh are back from the CAA’s top rushing attack in 2021.
Elon finished third in the CAA last season after winning five of its final seven games to post a 6-5 overall mark. The Phoenix has an impressive group of receivers with Jackson Parham, Bryson Daughtry and Chandler Brayboy. The defense includes All-CAA standouts Cole Coleman and Tre’Von Jones.
Richmond closed the 2021 season on a four-game winning streak to finish 6-5. The Spiders bring back All-America linebacker Tristan Wheeler to spearhead the defense. Running back Aaron Dykes returns offensively and is joined by talented transfer quarterback Reece Udinski and receiver Jakob Herres.
ATHLON SPORTS FCS PRESEASON TOP 25 POLL
- North Dakota State
- South Dakota State
- Montana State
- Missouri State
- Sacramento State
- Southern Illinois
- Kennesaw State
- Stephen F. Austin
- Holy Cross
- Weber State
- Rhode Island
- Eastern Washington
- Southeastern Louisiana
- Northern Iowa
- Jackson State
- William & Mary
- Eastern Kentucky
Teams To Watch: Richmond