BALTIMORE — The University of Maine football team was selected to finish eighth in the preseason Colonial Athletic Association poll, as voted on by coaches and sports information personnel, according to an announcement Wednesday at CAA Media Day on July 24 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Senior tight end Justin Perillo (Wilmington, Del.) was named to the preseason All-CAA first team. Perillo made 30 catches for 271 yards and five touchdowns a year ago, earning him postseason All-CAA first team honors.
The 6-foot-4-inch senior tight end has received numerous preseason accolades so far in 2013, as he was named a Phil Steele Football fourth team All-American; Phil Steele first team All-CAA; Beyond Sports Network second team All-American and was also named to the College Football Performance Awards Football Championship Subdivision Tight End Award Watch List.
Villanova received 11 first-place votes as the Wildcats were selected as the favorites to win the CAA in 2013-14. Towson was selected second in the poll while New Hampshire received a third-place nod, each school receiving three first-place votes.
Richmond, which the Black Bears will travel to face on Sept. 28 to open CAA action, received a single first-place vote in fourth while James Madison tallied four first-place votes to finish fifth. Delaware was slated to finish sixth in front of CAA newcomer Stony Brook.
The Black Bears were voted eighth followed by William and Mary, CAA newcomer UAlbany and Rhode Island.
“That’s not anything that we’ve ever been overly concerned about,” UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove said of the poll. “Our goal’s always remained the same, to compete for the conference championship. That really is the telling sign of who you are when the season ends.”
Maine returns 17 starters and 29 lettermen to a team which won three of its last four and completed the season at 5-6, 4-4 in CAA play. The Black Bears return quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (Kulpmont, Pa.), who ranked second in the CAA with 214.9 yards per game and threw for 21 touchdowns.
Wasilewski will return one of his favorite weapons in Perillo along with receivers Damarr Aultman (29 catches, 438 yards, six touchdowns) of Wheatley Heights, N.Y., Derrick Johnson (31, 346, 2) of Hempstead, N.Y., and Arthur Williams (25, 402, 4) of Springfield, Mass.
“Marcus, his level of confence and experience moved our offense to a different level during the spring,” Cosgrove said.
“Here’s a young man who gained the experience and learned how to manage the game, make decisions on the field, handle the communication from the sidelines and the press box,” he added.
Defensively, the Black Bears will see the return from a leg injury of senior lineman Michael Cole of North Brunswick, N.J., who recorded seven sacks with two forced fumbles in just five games.
“He’s a young man thyat had something he truly loved taken away from him,” Cosgrove said.
“We’re going to have be careful with him the front end of preseason. We’re going just manage him until the point where we’re going to turn him loose and let him help us get better.”