If there was any doubt that the college football season is almost here, look no further than Monday’s announcement of the STATS Football Championship Subdivision Preseason All-America Team.

Among the 99 players recognized is one from the University of Maine, defensive lineman Patrick Ricard.

Ricard, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior from Spencer, Massachusetts, was selected as a member of the STATS FCS Third Team defense.

Ricard returns to anchor a Black Bears defensive front that lost All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team end Trevor Bates of Westbrook and Mike Kozlakowski to graduation. He was an All-CAA first-team choice last fall after finishing fourth on the team with 52 tackles, including a league-leading 16.5 for a loss of yardage with 6.5 quarterback sacks.

A veteran of 33 games at UMaine, Ricard has the versatility to play tackle or end in the Black Bears’ 4-4 scheme. He has 32 tackles for a loss in his career.

Ricard is among 13 players from the CAA to receive preseason honors from STATS. First-team selections include James Madison linebacker Andrew Ankrah, New Hampshire defensive back Casey DeAndrade, Richmond defensive back David Jones and William & Mary place-kicker Nick Dorka.

The Missouri Valley Conference led FCS leagues with 16 players named to the STATS All-America contingent.

UMaine camp to open

First-year head coach Joe Harasymiak will officially begin his tenure on Saturday when the UMaine football team opens its preseason training camp.

The Black Bears will go through 24 practice sessions leading up to their first game week in preparation for the 2016 season opener at Connecticut on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

UMaine’s training camp will include five days of double sessions and intrasquad scrimmages on Aug. 13 and Aug. 21.

Black Bear fans are welcome to attend practice sessions, which are held on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium in Orono.

Season memberships for the 2016 season are on sale by visiting GoBlackBears.com or calling 581-2327.

USTFCCCA honors top students

Erin Ellison of Husson University in Bangor is among seven student-athletes from Maine colleges named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III All-Academic Teams announced Monday.

Last spring, the junior thrower from Exeter, New Hampshire, won the hammer throw at the North Atlantic Conference Championships for the second straight year at 46.22 meters. The physical therapy major also was third at the ECAC Championships (school-record 50.01 meters).

USTFCCCA honorees must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 and have competed in an NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championship or finished the regular season ranked in the national top 35 in an individual event.

Also recognized were Alexis Dickinson, Ayden Eickhoff, Jessica Wilson and Allison Hill of Bates College in Lewiston and Heather Kendall and Nicole Kirk of the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...