What you need to know ... The
offense had a nightmare of a time putting points on the board
with no running game and inconsistency just about everywhere.
It'll be a work in progress to come up with a little improvement
with a line that'll take at least a month before it comes
together, a new quarterback, likely Sean Clayton, taking over
with two new starting receivers to work with. On the plus side,
there's speed in the backfield and the receiving corps should
grow into a strength.
Passing: Sean Clayton
31-57, 329 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Charles Pierre
145 carries, 517 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Chandler Williams
61 catches, 870 yds, 2 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore RB DiIvory Edgecomb
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Cortez Gant
Best pro prospect: Senior FB Aaron Sanchez
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Edgecomb, 2) Sanchez, 3)
WR Casey McGahee
Strength of the offense: Running back
Weakness of the offense: Offensive line depth, scoring
Danny Embick, the heart-and-soul of the offense, is gone
leaving a four-man race to take over the job. Sean Clayton is
the most experienced and safest choice of the bunch, Frank
Messina surprised this spring showing the potential to stay in
the hunt for the starting spot, McKinson Souverain adds a
dangerous running element, but could end up being used mostly as
a receiver, and Rusty Smith appears to need a bit more time. In
any event, everyone is getting work and there should be a good
race for the number two spot behind Clayton.
The key to the unit: Get more consistency and more
accuracy. The FAU quarterbacks, mostly Danny Embick, combined to
complete 52% of their passes with 17 interceptions. The starter,
likely Sean Clayton, has to be around 60%.
Quarterback Rating: 4
- Sean Clayton, Jr. - 31-57, 54%, 329 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT,
21 carries, 35 yds
With a little bit of experience seeing time in nine games last
season, the 6-5, 225-pound junior is the front-runner for the
job. He's a big passer with a live arm and good enough mobility
with his 4.7 speed to crank out positive rushing yards. He
stepped in late last year and led the way to a win over North
Texas, but he was awful against FIU throwing three interceptions
in the 52-6 loss.
- Frank Messina, RFr.
With good size, a nice arm, and surprising decision making
ability for a young player, the 6-3 Messina worked his way up to
number two on the depth chart coming out of spring ball and is
still in the hunt for the starting job.
- McKinson Souverain, Soph. - 5-15, 33%, 96 yds, 1 TD, 4
INT, 14 carries, 40 yds
By far the best athlete among the quarterback options, Souverain
could see time at quarterback, running back and receiver. If
he's not the team's fastest player, he's number two and will
find a spot somewhere in the offense. With his average passing
skills, he'll likely end up at receiver.
- Rusty Smith, RFr.
With a great arm and 6-4 size, he has the potential to be a top
passer once he gets more time. He'll end up spending this year
working to be part of the starting mix in 2007.
The rushing production wasn't there last season with a
paltry 114 yards per game and six touchdowns. The potential is
there to do far more with the top two leading rushers returning
as well as do-it-all fullback Aaron Sanchez from a leg injury.
DiIvory Edgecomb and Charles Pierre are small, quick backs who
should do more this season now that they know what they're
doing. B.J. Manley is a solid third option.
The key to the unit: Considering all the speed and
quickness in the backfield, there have to be more big runs and
far more overall production after the team gained 1,259 yards
and averaged three yards per carry.
Running Back Rating: 4.5
- DiIvory Edgecomb, Soph. - 89 carries, 295 yds, 3.3 ypc,
1 TD, 11 catches, 114 yards, 10.4 ypc, 2 TD
Edgecomb saw his workload increase as last season went on
highlighted by a 118-yard day against North Texas. While not the
speed back that Charles Pierre is, he's plenty fast and
dangerous in the open field. He has good deep ability taking a
pass 66 yards for a touchdown in the opening day loss to Kansas
when starting out the season at wide receiver.
- Fullback Aaron Sanchez, Sr
The return of multi-talented Sanchez from a thigh injury will be
a big boost to the offense. The 220-pound senior missed all of
last year after finishing
second on the team with 173 yards and three touchdowns in 2004
to go along with 24 catches for 200 yards and two scores.
- Charles Pierre, Soph. - 145 carries, 517 yds, 3.6 ypc,
3 TD, 7 catches, 37 yds, 5.3 ypc
While not all that big at 5-9 and 195 pounds, Pierre packs
surprising power to go along with his home run hitting speed. He
led the team in rushing as a steady force throughout last
season, but he didn't break off many big plays. He has the
wheels to be far more dangerous.
- B.J. Manley, Jr. - 15 carries, 33 yds, 2.2 ypc, 8
catches, 101 yds, 12.6 ypc
Mostly a special teamer, Manley appeared to be on the verge of
starting last preseason before the emergence of Charles Pierre
and DiIvory Edgecomb. He's a shifty back with great hands as a
receiver out of the backfield.
Corddero Drummond, Fr.
The true freshman might be too good to redshirt. He has the best
combination of size and speed in the backfield. He's 190 pounds,
but he runs like a much bigger back.
- Fullback William Rose, RFr.
The 213-pound backup to Aaron Sanchez won't just be a blocker.
He's a good power runner who could be used as a tailback if
The Owls lose the top two receivers from last
year, Thomas Parker and Darrion Porter-Isom, so Casey McGahee
and Frantz Simeon have to shine as the new starters. McGahee
started to come through big at the end of last year and should
come close to replacing Parker's 20.1-yard per catch average,
while Simeon is a dangerous inside receiver. They're both very,
very light, so bigger backups Chris Bonner and Cortez Gent need
to be a physical presence. The tight ends are used as big wide
receivers, and there are two good ones in Jamari Grant and Jason
The key to the unit: A number one go-to target has to
emerge early on while Casey McGahee and Frantz Simeon have to
use their speed to stretch the field and make defenses worry
about the deep ball.
Receiver Rating: 4.5
- Casey McGahee, Sr. - 23 catches, 269 yds, 11.7 ypc, 1
The former defensive back made the successful transition to wide
receiver finishing third on the team in receiving and coming on
over the final four games to be one of the team's best targets.
He's not big at only 5-9 and 155 pounds, so he needs to use his
tremendous speed to make more big plays at the outside X
- Frantz Simeon, Soph. - 18 catches, 274 yds, 15.2 ypc, 2 TD
While he'll play at inside Y position, the 5-10, 172-pound
sophomore has the potential to be the team's top deep threat.
He's tremendously fast with great hands, and now he has to show
he can be a reliable target across the middle and has to open
things up for the rest of the offense.
- Tight end Jamari Grant, RFr.
A big wide receiver more than a tight end, the 6-4, 177-pound
Grant will line up on the line and be used as a tall short-range
target. He's a great athlete who could be dangerous if wide
receivers Casey McGahee and Frantz Simeon do their jobs and
stretch the field.
- Cortez Gent, RFr.
A far bigger option than Casey McGahee at the X, the 6-2,
170-pound Gent has 4.6 speed and should be a dangerous number
two option after a strong spring.
- Chris Bonner, Soph.
An excellent athlete and a bigger inside target than Frantz
Simeon, the 6-3 Bonner will push for time as a third receiver as
well as starting time at the X.
- Tight end Jason Harmon, Soph. - 1 catch, 10 yds
A physical 6-3 and 184 pounds, Harmon is also a good enough
athlete to be used as a deep threat at tight end. He's a better
blocker than Jamari Grant, but he's not going to dominate
The line had major issues last season getting no push for
the running game while allowing 34 sacks. Things should be a little bit
better even with a few new starters. Nello Faulk and Antes Perkins have
the potential to be among the Sun Belt's stronger tackle tandems, while
Xavier Shannon is a huge new starting center. The depth is lacking.
The key to the unit: The starting five has to develop
right away and stay healthy. Continuity is a must for a better season.
Offensive Line Rating: 4
- OT Nello Faulk, Sr.
The former guard moved to center and then to tackle. He bulked up a bit
getting up to 264 pounds, but he's still rangy with a 6-6 frame. That's
not a bad thing with his long arms a plus in pass protection.
- OG Chris Munoz, Sr.
At 6-3 and 285 pounds, Munoz brings some much needed size to the left
side of the line. He'll take over the left guard job replacing the
329-pound Nick Paris. He's a decent run blocker and has to be more
productive than Paris was.
- C Xavier Shannon, Soph.
At 312 pounds, Shannon is one of the biggest players on the line. He's
physical enough to play guard, but his build makes him a good anchor in
- OG Lance Barry, RFr.
Barry has to quickly become a reliable rock at right guard, where there
was little production last season from Stetson Wilson. Consistency in
the running game will be the key for Barry early on.
- OT Antes Perkins, Jr.
Perkins bulked up to 285 pounds last season and grew into one of the
team's most consistent blockers. He's a physical presence who's expected
to grow into a top all-around blocker in his second year in a starting
- T John Rizzo, Soph.
Rizzo filled in at both right guard and right tackle for a few
starts last season taking over for Stetson Wilson at right guard over
the final three games. His versatility will be big plus for a line that
- G Brandon Jackson, Soph.
Likely a starter once he's 100%, the 280-pound sophomore is back
from an ankle injury that cost him all of last year. He likely would've
been a starter on the right side.
- G Peter Pantelakos, Jr.
An interesting option up front at only 235 pounds, the
junior is a smaller, quicker blocker who'll see time behind
Chris Munoz on the left side.