Five UNH Players Named Pre-Season All-Atlantic 10
|Senior wide receiver David Bailey|
RICHMOND, VA.-- The University of New Hampshire football team was picked fourth in the North Division of the Atlantic 10 Football Conference on Wednesday afternoon at the annual conference media day held at the Richmond Omni Hotel.
The Wildcats, who also received two first-place votes, finished behind top pick Maine, Northeastern and Massachusetts, while the team was placed ahead of Rhode Island and Hofstra. The South Division was led by Villanova, followed by Delaware, William & Mary, James Madison, Richmond and Towson. In addition the Wildcats had one first-team pre-season All-Atlantic 10 pick and four second-team selections.
Senior wide receiver David Bailey (Bronx, N.Y.) was UNH's lone first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection for his role as an outstanding return specialist. In 2003, Bailey led the Wildcats with 20 returns for 570 yards and an average of 28.3 yards per return, which was tops in the Atlantic 10. He also recorded a long kickoff return of 98 yards for a TD.
Senior quarterback and co-captain Mike Granieri (Linwood, N.J.) was named to the Atlantic 10's second team after compiling 2,595 passing yards and 22 passing TDs, while completing an impressive 61.2 percent of his passes. His mark of 22 passing TDs was just one shy of the UNH record. He was also second on the squad in rushing with 145 carries for 786 yards and five rushing TDs. Granieri was named National Offensive Player of the Week for his outstanding effort vs. Rhode Island. In that contest, he threw for 336 yards, rushed for 130 and was involved in six UNH TDs, three through the air, while he ran for three on the ground. Granieri ranks fifth at UNH in all-time passing yards (4,568) and third in career completions (341).
Junior tight end Jon Williams (Rochester, N.Y.) had a break-out year for the Wildcats, starting all 12 games and catching 44 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns. He has been UNH's starter the past two seasons and returns bigger and stronger for 2004.
On the defensive side of the football, senior defensive end and co-captain George Peterson (Clarendon, Vt.) was named a second-team All-Conference at the end of last season and he is a second-team preseason pick for 2004. An outstanding athlete, he was the recipient of the All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award and was a third-team All-New England selection. Peterson completed the season with 49 total tackles and was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week and the ESPN/USA Today National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in UNH's impressive victory over James Madison. In that game he had 10 tackles, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Senior free safety Aaron Thomas (Lansdale, Pa.) will be the leader of UNH's defensive backfield in 2004 after finishing second on the squad in total tackles in 2003 with 116. He also posted an interception for a return of 40 yards and recovered one fumble. He has been a starter for UNH since his freshman campaign in 2001.
Taking a look at some upcoming events for the team in August, the squad will take part in its annual UNH Media Day on Tue., Aug. 10. The fall practice period will come to an end on Aug. 24 when the squad plays its Annual Blue/White Scrimmage at Cowell Stadium. Admission is free for the Fall Game. The team will kick of the 2004 season with a non-conference contest at Delaware on Sept. 2. Game time is 7 p.m. And, the Wildcats' home-opener will take place on Sept. 18 vs. William & Mary. Game time is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium.