BALTIMORE, Md. – University of New Hampshire senior football player Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.) has been named the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and the Wildcat co-captain was joined by junior offensive lineman Ricky Archer (The Plains, Va.) on the Preseason All-Conference Team.
CAA Media Day Photo Gallery
The Wildcats, who secured a share of second place in the league last season en route to a nation-best eighth straight NCAA Division I Championship 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 rankings 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. The Hanover, Mass., native, who enters this season with 334 career tackles, the fifth most in UNH history and just 100 shy of all-time leader Steve Doig (1978-81), was tabbed to the All-CAA Second Team during his 2010 sophomore campaign.
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 as part of his 102 INT-return yards – paced the Wildcats with three forced fumbles and ranked second on the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss.
During his record-setting junior campaign, Evans was feted as a Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American; Phil Steele's All-America First Team; The Sports Network/Fathead.com All-America; College Sports Madness All-American; CFPA Elite Linebacker Award; BSN National Defensive Player of the Year; Gold Helmet Award as New England's FCS player of the year; A.P. All-America Second Team; All-New England Team; and he received the CAA Commissioner's Academic Award.
The UNH football team opens its season Thursday, Aug. 30, at Holy Cross. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Season tickets and individual game tickets are on sale now by calling (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or by visiting the all-new www.unhwildcats.com.