Evans Named CAA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year & Is Joined by Archer on All-Conference Team


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.

Wednesday's announcements, the result of voting conducted among league head coaches and media personnel, were in conjunction with the annual CAA Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

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.

The 6-foot, 226-pound middle linebacker's other 2012 preseason accolades include Phil Steele's Preseason CAA Defensive Player of the Year, All-America First Team and All-CAA First Team, in addition to being ranked the No. 2 MLB in the nation by the publication. Evans was tabbed to the Buck Buchanan Watch List, giving him the opportunity to join former Appalachian State and NFL linebacker Dexter Coakley as the only two-time winners of the prestigious award. In addition, he warranted inclusion on the CFPA Linebacker Award Watch List and garnered All-American First Team distinction from The Sports Network, Beyond Sports Network and College Sports Madness, which crowned him its Preseason CAA Defensive Player of the Year.

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.
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). The 6-foot-2, 278-pound lineman was a member of the FCS All-New England Team during his sophomore season and enters this year as an All-CAA Preseason First Team offensive lineman according to College Sports Madness and to Phil Steele's College Football Preview, which also placed him on the FCS Preseason All-America Third Team.

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.
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