BALTIMORE, Md. - The James Madison football team had four players selected to the Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association team, while the Dukes were picked to finish third in the league, announced today at the 2012 CAA Football Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Earl Watford (Philadelphia, Pa./Simon Gratz), redshirt-senior h-back/tight end Brian Barlow (Stephens City, Va./Sherando), redshirt-junior linebacker Stephon Robertson (Alexandria, Va./Edison) and redshirt-junior return specialist/running back Dae'Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) were selected to the 25-man preseason squad.
A First Team All-CAA pick in 2011 and a 2012 Sports Network Preseason First Team All-American, Watford started all 13 games for the Dukes, helping propel the squad into the NCAA Division I Playoffs for the first time in three years. The redshirt senior helped the Dukes average 222.5 yards per game rushing, which ranked 12th nationally, and 4.7 yards per carry.
Barlow was a Second Team All-CAA selection at H-Back this past season after leading JMU in receptions with 33 catches for 316 yards and a touchdown. He had five catches for 31 yards in the season opener at North Carolina. He later recorded a career-high eight receptions for 79 yards, including a season-long reception of 30 yards, at Old Dominion. He also had four receptions for 34 yards in the NCAA Second Round at North Dakota State.
A rising redshirt junior, Robertson was a 2011 First Team All-CAA and Roanoke Times First Team Division I All-State selection after leading the team and ranking 10th in the CAA with 113 tackles, including 61 solo tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss and two sacks. Selected as a 2012 Sports Network Preseason Third Team All-American, he added one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and nine passes defended, while recording seven or more tackles in 10 of 13 games, with 10 or more in six of them. He earned a career-high 14 tackles, including two for a loss, in the home opener against Central Connecticut State. He was named CAA Defensive Player of the Week after recording six tackles, one tackle for a loss, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in win at William & Mary. He also tallied 11 total tackles with 0.5 tackle for loss and one pass breakup in the NCAA Second Round game at North Dakota State.
A native of Staunton, Va., Scott was the Dean Ehlers Award winner for the football program as the Most Valuable Performer in 2011 and is a 2012 Sports Network Preseason Third Team All-American as an all-purpose player. Also named Second Team All-CAA as both a running back and punt returner, Scott rushed for 1,241 yards and 12 touchdowns on 220 carries, while adding 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. A key part of JMU's run to the NCAA Playoff Second Round, Scott ranks fifth in school history for single-season rushing yards with 1,241 and fourth for rushing touchdowns in a season with 12. Scott rushed for a career-high and team season-high 251 rushing yards and 11th 200-yard game in school history, which was the second-most single-game rushing yards in school history.
JMU was selected third, getting one first place vote, and finishing behind defending champion Towson, who had 12 first place votes, and Old Dominion, who received seven first place votes. New Hampshire picked up two first-place votes and was fourth in the poll, followed by Delaware, Maine, William & Mary and Villanova in the top eight. Richmond was ninth with Rhode Island and Georgia State rounding out the league's teams. Voting point totals were not included in the league's predicted order of finish.
The Dukes will have six home games this season, four road games and the neutral site game against the Mountaineers. Of the 11-game slate, five of them are schedule for television with two on the NBC Sports Network in national broadcasts and three regionally broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Regional. Madison opens the 2012 season at home against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sat., Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.