What you need to know ... The offense has some major holes
to fill needing to replace star quarterback Steven Jyles and top
targets Drouzon Quillen and Joey Trappey from the Sun Belt's top
passing game. The line will be the strength with tackle Kyle
Cunningham and guard Aaron Schutz leading the way. Calvin Dawson
is a solid back who should be the workhorse of the attack early
on, but there's little proven help behind him. The spotlight
will be on new starting quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster. While he
has the athleticism of Jyles and a big arm, he needs time.
Passing: Kinsmon Lancaster
7-24, 54 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Calvin Dawson
134 carries, 666 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Marty Humphrey
20 catches, 269 yds
Star of the offense: Junior OT Kyle Cunningham
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
QB Kinsmon Lancaster
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Marty Humphrey
Best pro prospect: Sophomore OG Aaron Schulz
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Cunningham, 2) Schutz,
Strength of the offense: Offensive line
Weakness of the offense:
Receiving threats, quarterback experience
It's next to impossible to replace a longtime starter like
Steven Jyles, but Kinsmon Lancaster has the same type of talent
and should grow into the job once he gets used to being a
starter. While he can chuck the ball a mile, he has to show he
can be a consistent short-to-midrange passer when on the move.
If nothing else, he'll run for plenty of yards. Darrell McNeal
is like another Lancaster but without any experience.
The key to the unit: Efficiency. Steven Jyles might
not have been the greatest passer, but he could keep the chains
moving with his arm as well as his legs. Kinsmon Lancaster has
to be effective on third downs like Jyles usually was.
Quarterback Rating: 6
- Kinsmon Lancaster, Soph. - 7-24, 29%, 54 yds, 1 INT, 55
carries, 232 yds, 4.2 ypc, 1 TD
The former high school receiver saw a little bit of time last
year as a backup, and now he has to show he can be an all-around
playmaker like Steven Jyles was. Lancaster isn't all that big,
but he's a terrific runner with a bigger arm than Jyles. With
great potential, he's a good player to build around for the
future, but the offense will have to live through his mistakes.
- Darrell McNeal, RFr.
A nice athlete, McNeal fits the mold of Steven Jyles and Kinsmon
Lancaster with good rushing ability and a decent arm. He's not
going to be the playmaker like Lancaster, but he'll get plenty
of chances to see time to get him some experience as the number
- Chance Payne, Soph.
More of a true passer than other Warhawk options. the 6-2,
220-pound transfer from Army will provide an interesting third
option to work with.
The backfield should be solid as long as Calvin Dawson is
rolling. There's almost no proven experience with Erroll Hogan
and Chris Freeman needing to combine for an effective number of
carries a game to keep Dawson fresh. All the backs can catch and
all should be able to carry the load if needed, but there isn't
a lot of flash or dash.
The key to the unit: More big runs. The longest run
from scrimmage last season was a mere 30 yards. After averaging
3.9 yards per carry, the backfield has to be more dangerous.
Running Back Rating: 5
- Calvin Dawson, Jr. - 138 carries, 666 yds, 4.9 ypc, 7
TD, 21 catches, 130 yds, 6.3 ypc
Dawson proved to be a solid runner throughout last season
showing off decent speed and nice hands in the passing game.
While not a true burner and not much of a home run threat, he
was able to tear off a few big runs and had a nose for the end
zone. It'll be his job to carry the offense early on until the
passing game comes around.
- Erroll Hogan, Sr. - 6 carries, -6 yds, 3 catches, 22
yds, 7.3 ypc
Hogan has seen limited action over the last two seasons and did
less than nothing as a runner last year, but he has the ability
to grow into a steady back with a little bit of power and good
hands. He needs to get ten carries a game to help the offense.
- Chris Freeman, Sr.
The former defensive back moved over to the offensive side to
add more speed. He isn't going to power over anyone, but he
should tear off a few big runs once he gets in the mix.
The Warhawks lose most of their firepower with big Drouzon
Quillen and top tight end Joey Trappey gone. There isn't anyone
ready to be as good as either of those two, so it'll have to be
a strength-in-numbers situation. Joe Merritt has the speed, but
he has to prove he can be consistent. Marty Humphrey has to
build on a nice freshman season, while a slew of young,
inexperienced targets have step up right away and contribute.
There will be plenty of opportunities for a passing game that
likes to spread out the work. Tight ends Mitch Doyle, Zeek
Zacharie and Justin Waller have no experience and will have to
combine to be nearly as good as Trappey.
The key to the unit: A number one target has to come
through right off the bat and someone has to stretch the field.
Receiver Rating: 4
Joe Merritt, Sr. - 14 catches, 110 yds, 7.9 ypc, 1
With excellent speed and a little bit of experience, Merritt
needs to be more of a big play threat at the Z position. He's
too good an athlete not to do more with the ball in his hands as
both a runner and a receiver.
- Marty Humphrey, Soph. - 20 catches, 269 yds, 13.4 ypc
Humphrey turned out to be one of the surprises of last year
finishing fourth on the team in catches while making a few big
plays. He's a tough inside receiver who should be a dependable
target on third downs.
- Adam Hogan, Jr. - 3 catches, 25 yds, 8.3 ypc
The former quarterback should finally become a major factor in
the offense. He's big, fast, and has the smarts to grow into a
consistent route runner. Staying healthy has been the biggest
problem so far.
- Tight end Mitch Doyle, Soph.
He's not going to be the receiver Joey Trappey was, but the 6-5,
255-pound sophomore should turn into an excellent blocker. He'll
have to grow into the role of safety valve as the season goes
- J.J. McCoy, Soph.
The former cornerback will move over to receiver to provide
some depth. He's only 5-10 and 165 pounds, but he's extremely
quick on the inside Z position behind Joe Merrritt.
- LaGregory Sapp, Soph.
The 6-3, 195-pound sophomore brings some much needed size to the
corps now that Drouzon Quillen is gone. He has the speed and
athleticism to grow into a top target in time.
- Tight end Zeek Zacharie, Soph.
More like a big wide receiver than a tough blocker, the 6-3,
225-pound sophomore will be used more in passing situations than
the bigger, stronger, Adam Hogan.
The line might be the team's strength with two all-star
candidates in tackle Kyle Cunningham and guard Aaron Schutz, and a
fringe star in center Adam Hill. While there's not a lot of developed
depth, there's enough talent to be tremendous in pass protection and do
a little more for the ground game. It's not going to give up there mere
nine sacks it allowed last year, but it'll be close.
The key to the unit: Quickly develop a good rotation
and be more physical for the ground game. There's too much size to not
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5
- OT Larry Shappley, Soph.
The 6-5, 270-pound sophomore is a good athlete and should grow into a
solid pass protector. He has room on his frame to add a few more pounds
and not lose any quickness. He should be great on the move.
- OG Joseph Joseph, Jr.
Very strong, the 6-2, 285-pound former tackle is better at guard to use
his run blocking ability. He's a good enough athlete to move back
outside if needed.
- C Adam Hill, Jr.
Hill has bulked up in a big way over the last few years getting up to
325 pounds. He has enough talent to become one of the league's best
centers, or he could end up moving to guard to get Brent Gregston back
in the mix in the middle.
- OG Aaron Schutz, Soph.
The team's top recruit two years ago is now one of the Sun Belt's best
guards. He's 6-3, 310 pounds with the potential to become something
special. He'll be the one the ground game works behind when it needs to
pound up the middle.
- OT Kyle Cunningham, Jr.
The team's best offensive player, Cunningham got bigger adding 25 pounds
over the last year to become a big 6-4, 285-pound mauler. The former
defensive tackle is physical in the ground game and athletic as a pass
protector; he can do it all.
- C Brent Gregston, Jr.
The former starting guard has the talent to be a major factor again,
but at only 260 pounds, he's a bit undersized. He'll play behind Adam
Hill at center providing more athleticism than Adam Hill.
- G Andrew Norwood, RFr.
The 6-3, 325-pound Norwood will be used for bulk on the inside. He's
bigger than the 285-pound Joseph Joseph and could see starting time
early on if there's any shuffling.