PHILADELPHIA - The University of New Hampshire football team, which features preseason All-America Second Team selection Stephan Lewis (Coatesville, Pa.), was selected eighth in the 11-team Atlantic 10 conference preseason poll that was released Thursday. UNH senior wide receiver Michael Taylor (Allentown, Pa.), senior defensive lineman Kane Anderson (Bomoseen, Vt.) and senior defensive back Czar Wiley (North Bergen, N.J.) were named to the Second Team.
Lewis, a top 16 finalist for the Walter Payton Award as a junior running back in 2001, finished among the nation's top performers in rushing, all-purpose yardage and scoring. He carried the football 249 times for a career-best 1,390 yards last season and has averaged over 1,000 yards on the ground over the past two campaigns (1,171.5 yards per season). Lewis' most eye-popping numbers, however, come in the category of all-purpose yards, where he averaged 217.1 ypg, including 126.4 ypg on the ground, 47.9 ypg as a receiver, and 471 yards in kickoff returns (23.5 yards per return).
Taylor, the 2002 captain, led New Hampshire in both receptions (57) and receiving yards (780) last year. He ranked third on the team in touchdowns with five.
Anderson converted from tight end to defensive end in 2001 and ranked second on the team in tackles with 71 (34 solo). He led the Wildcats in sacks (six) and also recorded 11 tackles for a loss.
Wiley, a fourth-year starter at free safety, led UNH in total tackles a year ago with 77 (48 solo). He ranked second on the squad in interceptions (three) and was also credited with three pass breakups.
William & Mary has been chosen by the league's coaches and media as the team to beat when the Atlantic 10 Football season kicks off August 29. The Tribe (8-4, 7-2 in Atlantic 10) garnered 18 first-place votes and is followed by Maine (9-3, 7-2), which received the other eight first-place votes, Massachusetts (5-6, 4-5), Hofstra (9-3, 7-2) and Delaware (4-6, 4-5).
Villanova (8-3, 7-2), Richmond (3-8, 3-6), New Hampshire (4-7, 2-7), Rhode Island (8-3, 6-3), Northeastern (5-6, 4-5), and James Madison (2-9, 0-9) follow the Blue Hens in slots six through 11.
The 2002 season commences Thursday, Aug. 29 when UNH travels to play Division I-A opponent Kent State at 7 p.m. The Wildcats' home opener is Sept. 14 (noon) against Hofstra.