In the CAA conference's preseason poll, the Villanova Wildcats were predicted to finish 7th in the 11-team CAA conference with no first place votes. William & Mary, who won a share of the conference title last season before losing in the playoffs to Georgia Southern, was the overwhelming favorite with 12 of 22 first-place votes. Massachusetts was picked 5th in the conference even though they are not eligible to win the conference title this season as they transition to the Bowl Subdivision.
The 'Cats had four players selected to the preseason All-Conference team. Senior wide receiver Norman White and junior center Dan Shirey represented the offense on the senior-heavy preseason list, while sophomore defensive lineman Antoine Lewis and senior cornerback James Pitts represented the defense.
Villanova officials at the event also noted that John Dempsey's deal with the St. Louis Rams is almost complete. The recently graduated safety's contract is currently pending a routine physical, which should not be an issue for him to pass.
Other recent graduates including linebacker Terrence Thomas, offensive guard Brant Clouser and running back Angelo Babbaro are still waiting and hoping for an opportunity to get into an NFL camp and prove themselves. Babbaro is hoping that his skills as a kick return man and on special teams will make him an attractive option for teams to check out.
UMass linebacker Tyler Homes was named the CAA preseason defensive player of the year, while a pair of running backs took the preseason offensive player honors, Jonathan Grimes of William & Mary and former walk-on Andrew Pierce of Delaware.
2011 CAA Football Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)
- William & Mary (12)
- James Madison (4)
- Delaware (2)
- New Hampshire (2)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- Old Dominion
Preseason CAA All-Conference Team
Offensive Players of the Year -- Jonathan Grimes, RB, William & Mary, and Andrew Pierce, RB, Delaware
Defensive Player of the Year -- Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts
QB - Steve Probst, Rhode Island, Sr.
RB - Jonathan Grimes, William & Mary, Sr.
RB - Andrew Pierce, Delaware, So.
FB - Kendall Gaskins, Richmond, Jr.
WR - Tre Gray, Richmond, Sr.
WR - Julian Talley, Massachusetts, Sr.
WR - Norman White, Villanova, Sr.
TE - Alex Gottlieb, William & Mary, Sr.
OL - Roane Babington, James Madison, Sr.
OL - Gino Gradowski, Delaware, Sr.
OL - Rob McDowell, Delaware, Sr.
OL - James Pagliaro, William & Mary, Sr.
OL - Dan Shirey, Villanova, Sr.
DL - Michael Atunrase, Delaware, Sr.
DL - Frank Beltre, Towson, Jr.
DL - Marcus Hyde, William & Mary, Sr.
DL - Antoine Lewis, Villanova, So.
DL - Brian McNally, New Hampshire, Sr.
LB - Dante Cook, William & Mary, Jr.
LB - Matt Evans, New Hampshire, Jr.
LB - Tyler Holmes, Massachusetts, Sr.
LB - Stephen Robertson, James Madison, So.
LB - Paul Worrilow, Delaware, Jr.
S - Jerron McMillian, Maine, Sr.
S - Vidal Nelson, James Madison, Sr.
CB - James Pitts, Villanova, Sr.
CB - B.W. Webb, William & Mary, Jr.
PK - Wil Kamin, Richmond, Jr.
P - David Skahn, James Madison, Jr.
RS - Travis Hurd, Rhode Island, So