Team-by-team review of CAA spring football
Practice opened: March 8
Key losses: Gone is All-America quarterback Pat Devlin and his 3,032 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. So is receiver Philip Thaxton, a Grafton High product who ranked second on the team with 47 catches for 515 yards and five TDs last season. On defense, cornerback Anthony Walters had seven interceptions as senior, while fellow DB Anthony Bratton ranked second on the team with 99 tackles and had 12 pass break-ups.
The buzz: The Blue Hens will have to find a worthy Devlin successor if they're to repeat last year's success, when their 12-3 season ended with a loss to Eastern Washington in the FCS championship game. A trio of QBs looking to replace Devlin saw action in the spring game, including Trevor Sasek, who threw for 199 yards and a TD as Devlin's redshirt freshman backup in 2010. Andrew Pierce returns after rushing for 1,655 yards and 14 TDs and averaging 123.6 all-purpose yards per game as a rookie, while linebacker Paul Worrilow is back after making a team-best 113 tackles as a sophomore.
Practice opened: March 25
Spring game: April 22
Key losses: JMU loses leading rusher Jamal Sullivan, who had 716 yards and five TDs as a senior and led the Dukes with 90.4 all-purpose yards per game, as well as quarterback Drew Dudzik, who threw for 1,282 yards and five touchdowns. But Dudzik was supplanted as the Dukes' starter late in the season, and second-leading rusher Scott Noble (380 yards, three TDs) and leading receiver Kerby Long (283 yards, two TDs) are both back.
The buzz: A Dukes offense that was lackluster in 2010 (17.7 points per game) will be more experienced, as will a formidable defense that allowed just 14.7 points per game last year, when JMU closed a 6-5 season with back-to-back wins. Dae'Quan Scott, who emerged late in the season as a dangerous running threat at quarterback, returns for his sophomore season. Pat Williams, who led the Dukes with 101 tackles as a junior, is back at linebacker, as is fellow linebacker Stephon Robertson, second on the team with 90 tackles a first with three forced fumbles as a redshirt freshman.
Practice opened: April 7
Spring game: April 30
Key losses: Wide receiver Desmond Randall played in all 11 games as a senior, making 28 catches for 256 yards. Senior DB Dominic Cusano had 50 tackles.
The buzz: The Black Bears, three seasons removed from their last playoff appearance, return their leaders from 2010's 4-7 season in just about every meaningful statistical category. Leading rusher Pushaun Brown (650 yards, five TDs) is back, as is quarterback Warren Smith, who threw for 1,861 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, and top wide receiver Derek Session (580 yards on 50 catches). Donte Dennis also returns at linebacker after leading Maine with 108 tackles as a junior.
Practice opened: March 31
Spring game: April 30
Key losses: Quarterback Kyle Havens, who threw for 2,692 yards and 20 touchdowns, is gone, as senior tailback John Griffin and Anthony Nelson, the CAA student-athlete of the year in 2010 who had 61 catches for 830 yards and four TDs and led UMass with 113.5 all-purpose yards per game.