JMU roundup: Steele earns top honor

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

James Madison Unversity linebacker and Warren County graduate Gage Steele was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Rookie of the Week for his play on Saturday in the Dukes’ win over Albany. JMU teammate Conner Arnone was named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week as well.

Steele broke open for a career day against the Great Danes, turning in an 18-tackle effort that leads the league through the opening six weeks of the season. The rookie racked up 13 solo stops and one sack in JMU’s dominant win, with four of his tackles ending Dane drives. Steele’s showing highlighted a defensive unit that held UAlbany to just 81 rushing yards and five of 19 third-down conversions on Saturday.

Arnone had a stellar all-around day in the Dukes’ win over UAlbany, finishing with a 49.5-yard punt average on four punts that included a career-long 65-yarder. The sophomore also averaged 60.8 yards on eight kickoffs that featured three touchbacks in a special teams effort that forced the Great Danes to on average begin drives from their 27-yard line.