Evans named CAA's top defensive player
BALTIMORE, Md. - University of New Hampshire senior linebacker Matt Evans has been named the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Evans was joined by junior offensive lineman Ricky Archer on the preseason all-conference Team.
Wednesday's announcements were the result of voting conducted among league head coaches and media personnel.
The Wildcats, who secured a share of second place in the league last season en route to an eighth straight NCAA postseason appearance, were picked to finish fourth in the CAA preseason poll. UNH received two first-place votes to place behind preseason favorite and defending champion Towson (12 first-place votes), Old Dominion (seven) and James Madison (one). Following New Hampshire in the preseason poll are Delaware, Maine, William & Mary, Villanova, Richmond, Rhode Island and first-year member Georgia State.
Evans, the reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner as the 2011 FCS national defensive player of the year, earned All-CAA First Team honors last season after being selected as a member of the Preseason All-Conference Team. Evans enters this season with 334 career tackles, the fifth most in UNH history and 100 shy of all-time leader Steve Doig (1978-81).
In 2011, Evans led the country with 7.67 solo tackles/game and ranked second nationally with 165 total stops, the second most in UNH single-season history. He tallied 10 double-digit tackle performances, notched three interceptions - two of which he returned for touchdowns - paced the Wildcats with three forced fumbles and ranked second on the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Archer, who started all 12 games at right guard last season, attained a berth on the 2011 All-CAA Second Team after helping anchor the front line for the league's top-ranked passing offense (274.7 yards/game), No. 3 scoring offense (32.8 points/game) and third-ranked total offense (427.8 yards/game). Archer was a member of the FCS All-New England Team during his sophomore season.
UNH opens its season Aug. 30, at Holy Cross. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.