After winning their first Patriot League title since 2007 last fall, the Fordham University football Rams have been selected to repeat the feat in 2015 in the League’s preseason poll announced on Tuesday at Patriot League Football Media Day at Green Pond Country Club.
In addition, for the second straight year two Rams have been selected as preseason players of the year with sophomore running back Chase Edmonds tabbed as the preseason offensive player of the year and graduate student linebacker Stephen Hodge the preseason defensive player of the year.
The Rams notched ten first-place votes from their opponents to finish with 66 points in the poll but were closely followed by Bucknell, who garnered four first place votes and 63 points. Colgate came in third with 48 points, followed by Lafayette with 44 and Lehigh with 31. Holy Cross (29) and Georgetown (13) rounded out the preseason rankings which were voted on by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors.
Fordham enters the 2015 season off a championship run last fall when the Rams went a perfect 6-0 in Patriot League play, becoming the first team to go 6-0 in the league since 2003. For the second straight year the Rams, who were ranked as high as seventh in the NCAA FCS, advanced to the second round of the NCAA FCS Championships after defeating Sacred Heart at home in the first round. Freshman running back Chase Edmonds was named the 2014 Jerry Rice Award winner as the top NCAA FCS freshman while eight Fordham players earned All-America honors: Brett Biestek, Chase Edmonds, Mason Halter, Tebucky Jones, Jr., Dan Light, Mike Nebrich, Matt Stolte and Brian Wetzel. Nebrich and Edmonds were named Patriot League Offensive and Rookie of the Year, respectively, while the Rams set a Patriot League mark with 18 players earning All-League honors, including a record 13 who were placed on the first team. Academically, Biestek (First Team) and Light (Second Team) earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors with Biestek also being named the Patriot League Student-Athlete of the Year for football.
Edmonds, who was named a STATS FCS preseason All-America and to the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List earlier this summer, won the 2014 Jerry Rice Award winner as the NCAA FCS Rookie of the Year. He had one of the most successful rookie seasons in Fordham football history, earning All-America, All-Patriot League and ECAC All-Star honors as well as being named the 2014 Patriot League Player of the Year and the ECAC Rookie of the Year. He carried 294 times for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns, both school records, and caught 19 passes for 121 yards and one score. Edmonds also returned 24 kickoffs for 514 yards (21.4 average). He led the Patriot League and was seventh in the NCAA FCS in rushing yards/game (131.3) and was second in the NCAA FCS in rushing touchdowns (23) and fourth in total rushing yards (1,838). Edmonds saved his best for last, rushing 18 times for 208 yards and one touchdown, catching two passes for 13 yards and returning seven kickoffs for 164 yards in the second round NCAA FCS Championship game at New Hampshire. The 385 yards of total offense in the New Hampshire game was the most in a game in the NCAA FCS in 2014. Edmonds also set the Fordham freshman single game rushing record with 231 yards on 22 carries with four scores against Rhode Island.
Hodge, the 2013 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year who was also named the 2014 Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, missed all of the 2014 season with an injury. He finished the 2013 season with 124 tackles, 94 solo, including 16 tackles for loss, five sacks, five forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries and an interception. He led the nation in solo tackles/game (6.7) and led the Patriot League and was eighth the in country with the five forced fumbles. Hodge helped key Fordham’s upset of Temple on Sept. 14 by making 11 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble, and also earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Georgetown (14 tackles, sack) and Holy Cross (15 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 FF). He was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week three times, tying Hodge for the most in League history.
Joining Edmonds and Hodge on the Preseason All-Patriot League team are senior offensive lineman Garrick Mayweather, Jr., and junior defensive linemen Marlon Crook, Jr. and Justin Vaughn.
The Rams open the 2015 season on Friday night, September 4, as they travel to West Point to take on Army West Point at 7:00 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. Tickets are $32 and available by calling the ticket office at 855-RAM-TIXS (855-726-8497) or (718) 817-4759.
The Fordham Athletic Development Office is also offering pregame a-la-carte packages:
Adult pregame reception: $55 ($60 at the door)
Child pregame reception: $30
Round Trip Bus Transportation: $25
Parking pass: $15
The pregame reception will be from 5-7 p.m. on Buffalo Soldier Field.
The Development will also be offering bus tickets with buses running from Lincoln Center and Rose Hill.
Bus tickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Seats are extremely limited! Buses (from each location) will depart at 3 p.m. and depart West Point 25 minutes following the conclusion of the game. You will be dropped off at the same location from which you left (i.e. if you choose to leave from the Rose Hill Campus, you bus will bring you back to Rose Hill that evening).
For information on the packages go to www.fordham.edu/fordhamvsarmy
For more information on the Fordham Football team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: