HANOVER, N.H. — Four days after STATS included Dartmouth senior Folarin Orimolade on its Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Preseason All-America Second Team, the organization listed the linebacker among the 22 players on its FCS Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. He is the lone Ivy Leaguer to be selected for the watch list.
None of the top 10 vote-getters for the award last year returns to the gridiron this fall, leaving the race for the honor wide open, though six finalists are on the list. Of the 22 players chosen, half of them are defensive ends, seven are linebackers and four are defensive backs. All 13 FCS conferences have at least one nominee, led by the Missouri Valley Conference with five.
A 5-11, 240-pound native of Burtonsville, Maryland, Orimolade, is the lone returning starter from a defensive unit that led the FCS in fewest points allowed and turnovers gained while ranking third in rushing defense and team passing efficiency defense as the Big Green earned a share of the Ivy League crown with a 6-1 conference record and an overall mark of 9-1.
Orimolade, a first-team All-Ivy League selection last season, was a key cog in the Big Green defensive machine, ranking second in the league in both sacks (8.0) and tackles for a loss (12.5). Not only was he 13th among FCS defenders in sacks per game, but also tied for sixth nationally in fumbles forced per game as he wreaked havoc on opposing offenses.
For his career, Orimolade has collected 60 tackles with more than one-third of those (20.5) going for a loss with 14.5 sacks, a total that ranks seventh in the Dartmouth annals. He has played in each of the Big Green’s 30 contests in his three seasons, starting every game the last two years while forcing five fumbles, recovering one, and breaking up five passes as well.
Orimolade was joined by three other Ivy Leaguers as preseason All-Americans — Cornell punter Chris Fraser (first team), Penn wide receiver Justin Watson (second team) and Harvard all-purpose player Justice Shelton-Mosley (third team).
Another organization, College Sports Madness, announced its Preseason All-Ivy League teams with Orimolade as its Defensive Player of the Year. He is the lone Big Green player to make the first team, while senior offensive linemen Zach Davis and Dave Morrison, as well as senior punter Ben Kepley, were chosen for the second team. Among the players on the third team are senior wide receiver Jon Marc Carrier, junior tight end Cameron Skaff, junior running back Ryder Stone, and senior safeties Lucas Bavaro and Charlie Miller.
Dartmouth opens up the 2016 season by hosting perennial FCS Playoff participant New Hampshire on Sept. 17 at Memorial Field.