Ronnie Cameron Named CAA Defensive Player of the Year
Nov. 21, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. -- Senior defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron was named the Colonial Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Year highlighting the eleven members of the Football Monarchs who were named All-Conference by the league, it was announced Monday.
Cameron, who joined the Monarchs after Hofstra disbanded its program two years, has been the mainstay of the ODU defense for the last two years. This season Cameron is second on the Monarch squad with 67 tackles (25 solo, 42 assisted) along with a team-leading 15.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He averaged 6.1 tackles per game, which was second among defensive lineman in the CAA and led the league in tackles for loss averaging 1.41 per contest. Cameron also led the Monarchs with eight quarterback hurries. He also captured a career-high 11 tackles against CAA Champion Towson. His performance on the defensive line helped the Monarchs rank second in the league in rushing defense allowing just 122.55 yards per contest.
The Monarchs had four named First Team All-CAA - wide receiver Nick Mayers, defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron, linebacker Craig Wilkins, and punter Jonathan Plisco, while cornerback Eriq Lewis was named Second Team All-CAA. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, wide receiver/punt returner Reid Evans, offensive lineman Jeremy Hensley, kicker Jarod Brown, and defensive lineman Chris Burnette were among the five Monarchs named to the CAA's Third Team.
The Monarchs, playing in their third season since resurrecting the program in 2009 and first as a member of the CAA, will be making their first playoff appearance after playing to a 9-2 overall mark and 6-2 record in the CAA, considered by many the toughest FCS conference in the nation. The Monarchs are the fastest start-up program to achieve not only a playoff berth, but a top ten ranking in the national polls.
Old Dominion who was picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll finished the year tied for second in the league and had no member selected to the Preseason All-Conference teams.
Old Dominion will take on Norfolk State in first round of playoff action on Saturday, November 26th at 1:30 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN3.
FIRST TEAM ALL-CAA PROFILES:
Wide Receiver - Nick Mayers - Redshirt Junior - Va. Beach, Va. Mayers led the Monarchs with 59.3 yards receiving a game, ranking fourth among all conference receivers, and totaled 593 yards on 51 catches with five touchdowns. His 5.10 receptions per contest ranked him sixth in the CAA. Mayers posted a pair of touchdowns against UMass in the Monarchs' first league win and first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent. He also logged scores in games with Rhode Island, Towson, and Villanova. He also captured 100+ yard receiving games with a school-record 166 yards against CAA Champion Towson and 101 yards in the regular season finale victory at William & Mary.
Punter - Jonathan Plisco - Redshirt Junior - Newport News, Va. Plisco led the CAA and ranks second in the nation averaging 46.1 yards per punt. Of his 48 punts on the year, 19 went the distance of 50 yards or more and 11 were placed inside the opponent 20. Plisco also ran a pair of fake punts that picked up two key first downs against Delaware and Villanova.
Linebacker - Craig Wilkins - Redshirt Junior - Washington, D.C. Wilkins collected 101 tackles (56 solo, 45 assisted), including 13.5 tackles for loss to lead the Monarch defense in 2011. Posted double figure stops in four games including a career-high 17 tackles against Hampton, Wilkins became the first Monarch to register over 100 tackles in a season. The redshirt junior also added 2.5 sacks, a pair of interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble on the season. He also blocked a James Madison field goal as time expired to preserve ODU's 23-20 win over the Dukes and the Monarchs' first win over a Top Ten program. Wilkins averaged 9.2 tackles per game, ranking him seventh in the league.
SECOND TEAM ALL-CAA PROFILES:
THIRD TEAM ALL-CAA PROFILES:
Defensive Lineman - Chris Burnette - Redshirt Junior - Baltimore, Md. Burnette collected 43 tackles (17 solo, 26 assisted) and was among the team's leaders in tackles for loss with 7.0 and sacks with 3.5. His performance on the defensive line helped the Monarchs rank second in the league in rushing defense allowing just 122.55 yards per contest. Burnette also blocked a pair of field goals against Delaware and William & Mary.
Wide Receiver/Punt Return - Reid Evans - Redshirt Junior - Va. Beach, Va. Evans averaged 48.1 yards receiving per game totaling 593 yards on 45 catches. Evans captured touchdown receptions in victories over Georgia State, UMass - in the Monarchs' first CAA win and first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent, and William & Mary. He captured a career-high 149 yards receiving on a school-record 12 receptions in the win over Richmond. He was also the Monarchs' go to on punt returns averaging 8.6 yards per return ranking him third in the conference.
Quarterback - Taylor Heinicke - Freshman - Atlanta, Ga. Heinicke's name does not appear in the conference or national stats due to the fact he had not played in the minimum 75% of games played to qualify. However, his 252.9 passing yards per game would have ranked him second in the CAA and 19th nationally, his 155.0 pass efficiency rating would lead the conference and place him sixth nationally, and his 290.4 yards of total offense per contest would put his name second in the CAA and 10th nationally. A member of the Jerry Rice Watch list for the most outstanding freshman, Heinicke collected seven touchdowns in his seven appearances, the most of any CAA quarterback. He has played 32 quarters competing 165 of his 233 passes, making just one interception coming against Towson in the final minute of play.
Offensive Lineman - Jeremy Hensley - Senior - La Palma, Calif. Hensley, the Monarchs' center, helped pave the way for ODU to rank ninth nationally and lead the CAA in scoring offense at 35.82 points per game. Hensley was a part of the offensive line which allowed the Monarchs to average 170.82 yards of rushing offense, third in the league, and 262.36 yards of passing offense, second in the league. In total, Hensley helped clear the way to have the Monarchs rank 16th in the country and third in the CAA in total offense at 433.18 yards per contest.
2011 CAA Football Major Awards (as voted on by the head coaches)
2011 All-CAA Football First Team
2011 All-CAA Football Second Team
2011 All-CAA Football Third Team