HARRISONBURG, Va. - James Madison football's Earl Watford and Stephon Robertson have been named Associated Press All-Americans, the news organization announced. Watford earned a spot on the first team, while Robertson was recognized on the second team.
A redshirt-senior offensive guard, Watford was the top-rated offensive lineman for the Dukes, starting all 11 games while also serving as a team captain. The AFCA All-American and Sports Network All-American as well as First Team All-CAA selection for the second consecutive season allowed just one sack on the season while, under extremely stringent linemen grading, grading out 80 percent or higher six times and 90 percent or better twice. Overall, he graded out at 85 percent for the season and had 25 knockdowns while leading an offense that ranked fourth in rushing offense in the CAA at 209.0 yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. He blocked for Dae'Quan Scott, who ranked third in the CAA in rushing at 86.8 yards per game and earned Second Team All-CAA honors this year. Watford played in 43 games in his career, starting in 37 of them including the last 35 straight.
Robertson was previously selected as a Second Team Sports Network All-American and the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year over several top candidates, including reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner Matt Evans of New Hampshire, as well as earning First Team All-CAA honors. A starter in all 11 games this year and 34 played in his career, Robertson was a force for Madison's defense, which ranked second in the CAA and 24th in FCS football in scoring, first in the league and 19th nationally in rushing defense and fifth in the CAA in pass defense. Also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation's top defensive player, Robertson finished with a team-high 101 tackles, including 48 solos, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and five pass breakups, earning him First Team All-CAA honors for the second straight year after being named CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. Also a finalist for the Dudley Award as the state's top Division I player, he was third in the league and tied for 43rd in the nation with 9.18 tackles per game. He led JMU in tackles in seven of the 11 games played this year and recorded double-digit tackles in six games, five of them CAA contests.
In his career, Robertson has started in 34 of a possible 35 games. He has amassed 304 career tackles, an average over his career of 8.94 tackles per game, despite being targeted as a threat by every opposing offense.