July 27, 2011
BALTIMORE, Md.--The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) held its football Media Day this afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The preseason predicted order of finish was announced and the Wildcats were picked to finish seventh in the 11 team league.
Villanova returns 25 letterwinners and 12 starters from last year's national semifinal squad that went 9-5 overall and 5-3 in CAA play. The Wildcats are coming off a three-year run where they tallied a 33-9 overall record, a 19-5 CAA mark, made three straight NCAA playoff appearances, including consecutive trips to the national semifinals in 2009 and 2010 and captured the 2009 National Championship.
William & Mary was chosen to win the league, followed by James Madison, Delaware, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Richmond, Villanova, Rhode Island, Maine, Old Dominion and Towson.
Four Wildcats were named to the preseason All-CAA first team, including senior wide receiver Norman White and junior center Dan Shirey on offense and senior corner Jimmy Pitts and sophomore defensive lineman Antoine Lewis on defense.
White had a breakout year in 2010 with 69 receptions for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his efforts a year ago, White was a first team All-CAA honoree. White will serve as a co-captain this season.
Shirey started all 14 games at center last season and garnered third team All-CAA accolades. He helped Villanova average 370.0 yards of total offense per game in 2010, including 194.9 rushing yards per contest and a CAA leading 30.8 points per game.
Pitts was a third team All-CAA selection last season after ranking second on the team in tackles with 84 and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. Pitts will join White as a co-captain for the 2011 Wildcats.
As a true freshman last season, Lewis started all 14 games and registered 48 tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.5 quarterback sacks and a forced fumble. He was rewarded for his play by being named third team All-CAA. Lewis is expected to move to nose guard this year after playing defensive end last season.
Villanova opens the 2011 season on Thursday, Sept., 1 with a game versus crosstown rival Temple at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
2011 CAA PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. William & Mary (12)
2. James Madison (4)
3. Delaware (2)
4. New Hampshire (2)
5. Massachusetts (1)
8. Rhode Island (1)
10. Old Dominion
WILDCATS ON PRESEASON ALL-CAA FIRST TEAM