RICHMOND — With the majority of its starters returning from last season’s squad that claimed a share of the Coastal Athletic Association title and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals, the William & Mary football team was chosen to repeat as league champions according to a vote of the conference’s head coaches during the league’s annual media day event on Tuesday.
W&M’s selection as the CAA favorite was nearly unanimous, as it received 13 of the 15 first-place votes (teams cannot vote for themselves).
Also highlighting the event was the announcement of the league’s individual preseason honors, which included the selection of linebacker John Pius as the preseason defensive player of the year. He was joined on the preseason all-conference team by running back Bronson Yoder, offensive lineman Charles Grant, defensive end Nate Lynn, linebacker Isaiah Jones, cornerback Ryan Poole and cornerback Jalen Jones.
W&M’s seven all-conference picks were the most of any team in the league, while its five defensive selections also led all schools.
Quarterback Darius Wilson, safety Marcus Barnes and punter Will Whitehurst earned honorable mention accolades.
Pius, who was honored as an All-American by seven organizations last year, will help lead W&M’s talented defense after being voted as the runner up for the 2022 Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year in the FCS. Additionally, he was selected as the 2022 CAA Defensive Player of the Year and the Virginia Defensive Player of the Year by VaSID. En route to garnering the accolades, Pius ranked fourth nationally in sacks (11.5) and fifth in TFL (19).
Ranked among the top 10 nationally in multiple preseason polls, W&M is coming off a historic 2022 campaign in which it equaled a school record with 11 victories, advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals and won a share of the CAA title.
Led by 2022 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Finalist Mike London, the Tribe returns a host of talent on both sides of the ball this fall as it looks to defend its CAA title and make a return to the NCAA Playoffs. Tickets are on sale and available at TribeAthletics.com.
The Tribe will open its 2023 slate at Campbell on Thursday, Aug. 31, while its home opener at Zable Stadium against Wofford will be the following weekend (Sept. 9).