Featured Posts

<< >>
SoCon

SoCon Football 2014 Week 1 Wrap-up

Strictly in terms of wins and losses it was a tough week for the SoCon with a 2-6 record, but I think most teams have a lot of positives to take from their games. The teams you’d expect to win won and those with formidable opponents came close in several instances but came up short. The Conference will release the official players of the week tomorrow, but here are those I’d give the nod to based on my observations:

Week 1 SoCon Recruiting Players of the Week

Offense: QB Troy Marshall – Western Carolina (46-66 374 yards passing, 21 rushing, 3 touchdowns, 0 turnovers
Defense: S Jamerson Blount – Samford (10 tackles, 1 Interception (returned for TD), 1 Fumble Recovery)
Special Teams: P/K JC Hollingsworth – Furman (2-2 FG 28,47; 4-4 touchbacks on kickoffs, 9 punts 39 yards per punt, 2 inside the 20)
Freshman: QB Al Cobb – VMI (27-40 308 yards, 5 total TD’s)

Socon Football Week 1

Mercer 45, Reinhardt 42 – BoxScore

The Mercer Bears kicked off their first official season in the Southern Conference with a shootout victory over Reinhardt. The Bears and Eagles were a seesaw affair with 49 first downs and nearly 1,000 yards total offense.

  • Top Performer: QB John Russ racked up just shy of 300 yards total offense along with RB Alex Lakes’ 110 yards at 2 touchdowns.
  • Other Notable performers: WR JT Palmer led the way with 5 recs. 76 yds 1 TD. LB Tyler Ward led the way with 14 tackles (2 for loss)
Next Game: Furman at Mercer Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I am a little surprised the Eagles were able to keep up with Mercer offensively. I think we’ll have a much better point of reference after next week’s game with Furman who struggled offensively last night, but was outstanding on defense. I just don’t have a good read on how much of this game is a gauge of Mercer’s ability and how much is a reflection of the competition.

Central Michigan 20, Chattanooga 16 – BoxScore

The Mocs jumped out to a 16-0 1st half lead but were stymied after that point. The Chippewas took the lead midway through the 3rd quarter and both teams went scoreless from that point forward. The 4 interceptions from all-SoCon QB Jacob Huesman were very costly with 1 setting up the go ahead score and two others late in the 4th as the Mocs were trying to come from behind.

  • Top Performer: LB Muhasibi Wakeel is ready to be the man with 17 tackles.
  • Other Notable performers: WR Tommy Hudson with two TD catches, DT Derrick Lott 3 tackles for loss including a sack
Next Game: Jacksonville State at Chattanooga Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: If you’re looking for positives, you have to feel pretty good about your defense when you turn the ball over 4 times and are still one possession from beating an FBS team on their field. If this were a first year starter at QB you may be concerned, but this is a proven player who just had a rough game and some passes got away from him at the wrong time.

Bucknell 42, VMI 38 – BoxScore

The Keydets battled to the end behind a brilliant debut by freshman QB Al Cobb, but fell just short in a shootout with the Bison. Bucknell jumped out to a 14-0 lead, before a pair of Cobb TD passes evened the score at 14-14. From there, the Keydets continue to match the Bison TD for TD, but couldn’t get the defensive stop they needed and fell just short. The difference in the game was the rushing game, VMI struggled to run in their offense and could not stop the run from Bucknell on defense.

  • Top Performer: Cobb passed for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns as well as rushing for another TD.
  • Other notable performers: WR Doug Burton 7 rec. 109 yds 1 TD – Deon Watts 22 carries, 97 yds. – LB Logan Staib, DB Damian Jones 6 tackles each
Next Game: VMI at Bowling Green, Sept. 6 – 3:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I felt like VMI would struggle to run the ball without Ziglar and it was too much to ask a freshman QB to carry the team. I was half right, had you told me Cobb would perform in this manner I would have expected a Keydet win. In my mind this bodes very well for the future of VMI football.

Georgia Tech 38, Wofford 19 – BoxScore

Wofford did the SoCon proud with a valiant effort at Georgia Tech trailing just 24-19 with under 10 minutes to play before two late scores stretched the margin of victory to 38-19. Defensively, the Terriers were outstanding for 3.5 quarters before fatigue set in and the Jackets punched in those late scores to pad the victory.

  • Top Performer: QB Evan Jacks rushed for 89 yards and passed for another 26 yards.
  • Other Notable Performers: DB Chris Armfield led the way with 5 tackles, RB Ray Smith topped 100 yards with a TD including a long scamper which gave the Terriers a brief lead just before halftime.
Next Game: North Greenville at Wofford, Sept. 13 – 7 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I was only able to watch the first half of this game. My impressions were the Terriers’ lines on both sides of the ball were stellar. I am still concerned with the inability to pass effectively, but this was a great effort

Coastal Carolina 31, The Citadel 16 – BoxScore

A very good Coastal Carolina squad came into Charleston scoring two early touchdowns and took a 14-0 lead into halftime, The Chanticleers added two more TD’s in the 2nd half to plunge out to a commanding 28-3 lead before the Bulldogs notched a couple of 4th quarter scores to pull within the final 31-16 margin. The Citadel’s rushing attack was potent topping 300 yards total rushing yards. In fact, the Bulldogs were out-gained by only 56 yards and won the time of possession. The inability to convert on third down (5-13) or keep Coastal off balance with the pass (1-8 for 19 yards) ultimately proved too much to overcome.

  • Top Performances: Jake Stenson and Tyler Renew both topped 100 yards rushing with Aaron Miller and Vinny Miller both just shy of 50 yards. Extremely balanced attack.
  • Other notable performers: LB Tevin Floyd led the way with 12 tackles including a sack (just a sophomore)
Next Game: The Citadel at Florida State, Sept. 6 – 7:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I don’t like the term moral victories, but I do believe you learn more by looking at losses and shortcomings than from patting yourself on the back after wins. When I looked at the offensive depth chart earlier this week I was amazed at the complete revamping from last year with only one returning starter and even he was in a new position. I think the Bulldogs showed that this is still an offense to be reckoned with and this team is very capable of building off last year’s 4-4 conference finish. Fans should be very encouraged.

South Florida 36, Western Carolina 31 – BoxScore

After a 1 hour, 15 minute weather delay the Catamounts jumped on the Bulls early taking a 14-3 lead into the 2nd quarter and leading 17-16 at halftime. South Florida pulled ahead in the 2nd half but Western continued to fight before falling short 36-31. Troy Mitchell was sensational with nearly 400 yards total offense and 3 touchdowns. Sports fans are big on stats, in my mind Troy’s best stat is 0 as in 0 turnovers!

  • Other notable performers: WR Terryon Robinson 15 rec. 121 yds. 1 TD; LB Tyson Dickson led the team with 6 tackles
Next Game: Brevard at Western Carolina, Sept. 6 – 3:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: Mitchell was sensational first and foremost. Obviously, the Cats would prefer to run more but the Bulls took that away and the coaches and players did a magnificent job of taking what was available. On the defensive side, that big USF line really had their way with Western so I know the Cats will look to address their run defense moving forward. Western now has two games to work out the kinks before an off week and huge game in Greenville against Furman on Sept. 27.

TCU 48, Samford 14 – BoxScore

The Horned Frogs came out firing leading 24-7 at the half and taking a 48-7 lead late into the fourth quarter before a Samford pick six brought us to the final margin. One quick question, why was TCU passing with a 41 point lead with under 6 minutes to play in the 4th quarter? Low class move Frogs…

  • Top performer: Jamerson Blount with 10 tackles, and INT returned for a TD and a fumble recovery. Have a game why don’t you?
  • Other notable performers: All-SoCon safety Jaquiski Tartt and LB Justin Cooper led the team with 11 tackles each
Next Game: Stillman at Samford, Sept. 11 – 6:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: TCU is known for playing great defense over the years. I believed Samford has the talent to play with them on a given day, but the Horned Frogs defense completely dominated the Bulldogs offense. On the other side, TCU rolled up yards rushing and passing. Either I have Samford overrated which we won’t know unti Sept. 27 when they visit Chattanooga or TCU is much better than expected.

Furman 13, Gardner Webb 3 – BoxScore

If you enjoy defensive football, this was the game for you. Furman broke through for a 3-0 lead late in the 1st quarter and led 10-3 after a late 1st half touchdown pass from Reese Hannon to Jordan Snellings put Furman up 10-3 at the half. The Paladins added a 47 yard FG by freshman JC Hollingsworth in the third for the final margin. The Furman defense allowed just 194 total yards and allowed just 4-17 on third down conversions. The big story out of Greenville is starting QB Reese Hannon going down with a season ending injury. R-Fr. Dillon Woodruff will take over heading into the conference opener next weekend at Mercer.

  • Performers of Note: LB Corey Magwood led the team in tackles with 11, DE Gary Wilkins notched 2.5 sacks
Next Game: Furman at Mercer Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: A tough situation for the Paladins who battled through injuries at the QB position last season as well. Back to this game, the big concern has to be the inability to run the ball effectively. Bottom line is Furman moves to 1-0 as the only SoCon team with a division 1 win.
For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Darius Ramsey Western Carolina

Week 1 SoCon Preview: Western Carolina at South Florida

The Western Carolina Catamounts get their 2014 season underway tonight at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 7 pm versus the South Florida Bulls. Coach Mark Speir’s squad are many people’s, including SoCon Recruiting’s, breakout pick for 2014. Speaking only for myself, this team just has the make-up of a good team and the conference schedule is favorable with most of the “could go either way games” at home. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
MIchael Eubank samford

SoCon Week 1 Preview: Samford at TCU

The Samford Bulldogs travel to Fort Worth, Texas tonight for a battle with the TCU Horned Frogs. The Bulldogs were co-SoCon champions in 2013 with a bid to the FCS playoffs. With several key departures from that team, but a ton of talent remaining, Samford has one of the more interesting teams in the SoCon entering 2014.

Despite the graduation of QB Andy Summerlin, WR Kelsey Pope, and RB Fabian Truss; Samford appears to have reloaded on offense with the transfer at QB Michael Eubank and the emergence of WR Karel Hamilton last season. The big question is RB as Sr. Jeremiaha Gates has been beat out by So. Denzel Williams for top billing. The offensive line is strong particularly on the right side with Gunnar Bromelow and CH Scruggs. Eubank is much more mobile than Summerlin so it will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can leverage that into a more read option oriented rushing attack.

Rhapsody Music Service
TCU has a rebuilt defensive line but return both linebackers and the bulk of the secondary. Senior linebackers Marcus Mallet and Paul Dawson along with junior S Chris Hackett were the top 3 tacklers for the Horned Frogs in 2013. It will be interesting to see if TCU is able to sustain their typical dominating pass rush despite the losses on the defensive front.

The Horned Frogs have a QB battle going between last season’s backup Trevone Boykin and Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel. TCU does return two of their top receivers from last season in Josh Doctson and David Porter along with leading rusher BJ Catalon. That trio accounts for better than half of TCU’s total touchdowns from 2013. TCU also averages better than 317 across the offensive line which you don’t see often in FCS.

All-American Justin Shade is gone, but the Bulldogs’ defense is still loaded with talent particularly in the secondary with Jaquiski Tartt and Trey Lesley leading the charge. The linebackers are once again strong however it appears that Bobby Wilson the leading returning tackler will miss this game. Up front, DT’s Michael Pierce and Jerry Mathis go 309 and 305 respectively and can hold their own. A lot of experience on the end as well with seniors Calvin Ruff, Brinson Porter, and Brandon Wilkinson returning after combining for 8 sacks last season. When fully healthy, the Bulldogs may have one of the best defenses in the conference, if not the country.

The Bulldogs have the personnel to compete in this game, but I believe the home field and depth of TCU will ultimately allow them to pull away for a win.

SoCon Recruiting prediction: TCU 31, Samford 20
For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
SoCon

SoCon Football 2014 Week 1 Wrap-up

Strictly in terms of wins and losses it was a tough week for the SoCon with a 2-6 record, but I think most teams have a lot of positives to take from their games. The teams you’d expect to win won and those with formidable opponents came close in several instances but came up short. The Conference will release the official players of the week tomorrow, but here are those I’d give the nod to based on my observations:

Week 1 SoCon Recruiting Players of the Week

Offense: QB Troy Marshall – Western Carolina (46-66 374 yards passing, 21 rushing, 3 touchdowns, 0 turnovers
Defense: S Jamerson Blount – Samford (10 tackles, 1 Interception (returned for TD), 1 Fumble Recovery)
Special Teams: P/K JC Hollingsworth – Furman (2-2 FG 28,47; 4-4 touchbacks on kickoffs, 9 punts 39 yards per punt, 2 inside the 20)
Freshman: QB Al Cobb – VMI (27-40 308 yards, 5 total TD’s)

Socon Football Week 1

Mercer 45, Reinhardt 42 – BoxScore

The Mercer Bears kicked off their first official season in the Southern Conference with a shootout victory over Reinhardt. The Bears and Eagles were a seesaw affair with 49 first downs and nearly 1,000 yards total offense.

  • Top Performer: QB John Russ racked up just shy of 300 yards total offense along with RB Alex Lakes’ 110 yards at 2 touchdowns.
  • Other Notable performers: WR JT Palmer led the way with 5 recs. 76 yds 1 TD. LB Tyler Ward led the way with 14 tackles (2 for loss)
Next Game: Furman at Mercer Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I am a little surprised the Eagles were able to keep up with Mercer offensively. I think we’ll have a much better point of reference after next week’s game with Furman who struggled offensively last night, but was outstanding on defense. I just don’t have a good read on how much of this game is a gauge of Mercer’s ability and how much is a reflection of the competition.

Central Michigan 20, Chattanooga 16 – BoxScore

The Mocs jumped out to a 16-0 1st half lead but were stymied after that point. The Chippewas took the lead midway through the 3rd quarter and both teams went scoreless from that point forward. The 4 interceptions from all-SoCon QB Jacob Huesman were very costly with 1 setting up the go ahead score and two others late in the 4th as the Mocs were trying to come from behind.

  • Top Performer: LB Muhasibi Wakeel is ready to be the man with 17 tackles.
  • Other Notable performers: WR Tommy Hudson with two TD catches, DT Derrick Lott 3 tackles for loss including a sack
Next Game: Jacksonville State at Chattanooga Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: If you’re looking for positives, you have to feel pretty good about your defense when you turn the ball over 4 times and are still one possession from beating an FBS team on their field. If this were a first year starter at QB you may be concerned, but this is a proven player who just had a rough game and some passes got away from him at the wrong time.

Bucknell 42, VMI 38 – BoxScore

The Keydets battled to the end behind a brilliant debut by freshman QB Al Cobb, but fell just short in a shootout with the Bison. Bucknell jumped out to a 14-0 lead, before a pair of Cobb TD passes evened the score at 14-14. From there, the Keydets continue to match the Bison TD for TD, but couldn’t get the defensive stop they needed and fell just short. The difference in the game was the rushing game, VMI struggled to run in their offense and could not stop the run from Bucknell on defense.

  • Top Performer: Cobb passed for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns as well as rushing for another TD.
  • Other notable performers: WR Doug Burton 7 rec. 109 yds 1 TD – Deon Watts 22 carries, 97 yds. – LB Logan Staib, DB Damian Jones 6 tackles each
Next Game: VMI at Bowling Green, Sept. 6 – 3:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I felt like VMI would struggle to run the ball without Ziglar and it was too much to ask a freshman QB to carry the team. I was half right, had you told me Cobb would perform in this manner I would have expected a Keydet win. In my mind this bodes very well for the future of VMI football.

Georgia Tech 38, Wofford 19 – BoxScore

Wofford did the SoCon proud with a valiant effort at Georgia Tech trailing just 24-19 with under 10 minutes to play before two late scores stretched the margin of victory to 38-19. Defensively, the Terriers were outstanding for 3.5 quarters before fatigue set in and the Jackets punched in those late scores to pad the victory.

  • Top Performer: QB Evan Jacks rushed for 89 yards and passed for another 26 yards.
  • Other Notable Performers: DB Chris Armfield led the way with 5 tackles, RB Ray Smith topped 100 yards with a TD including a long scamper which gave the Terriers a brief lead just before halftime.
Next Game: North Greenville at Wofford, Sept. 13 – 7 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I was only able to watch the first half of this game. My impressions were the Terriers’ lines on both sides of the ball were stellar. I am still concerned with the inability to pass effectively, but this was a great effort

Coastal Carolina 31, The Citadel 16 – BoxScore

A very good Coastal Carolina squad came into Charleston scoring two early touchdowns and took a 14-0 lead into halftime, The Chanticleers added two more TD’s in the 2nd half to plunge out to a commanding 28-3 lead before the Bulldogs notched a couple of 4th quarter scores to pull within the final 31-16 margin. The Citadel’s rushing attack was potent topping 300 yards total rushing yards. In fact, the Bulldogs were out-gained by only 56 yards and won the time of possession. The inability to convert on third down (5-13) or keep Coastal off balance with the pass (1-8 for 19 yards) ultimately proved too much to overcome.

  • Top Performances: Jake Stenson and Tyler Renew both topped 100 yards rushing with Aaron Miller and Vinny Miller both just shy of 50 yards. Extremely balanced attack.
  • Other notable performers: LB Tevin Floyd led the way with 12 tackles including a sack (just a sophomore)
Next Game: The Citadel at Florida State, Sept. 6 – 7:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: I don’t like the term moral victories, but I do believe you learn more by looking at losses and shortcomings than from patting yourself on the back after wins. When I looked at the offensive depth chart earlier this week I was amazed at the complete revamping from last year with only one returning starter and even he was in a new position. I think the Bulldogs showed that this is still an offense to be reckoned with and this team is very capable of building off last year’s 4-4 conference finish. Fans should be very encouraged.

South Florida 36, Western Carolina 31 – BoxScore

After a 1 hour, 15 minute weather delay the Catamounts jumped on the Bulls early taking a 14-3 lead into the 2nd quarter and leading 17-16 at halftime. South Florida pulled ahead in the 2nd half but Western continued to fight before falling short 36-31. Troy Mitchell was sensational with nearly 400 yards total offense and 3 touchdowns. Sports fans are big on stats, in my mind Troy’s best stat is 0 as in 0 turnovers!

  • Other notable performers: WR Terryon Robinson 15 rec. 121 yds. 1 TD; LB Tyson Dickson led the team with 6 tackles
Next Game: Brevard at Western Carolina, Sept. 6 – 3:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: Mitchell was sensational first and foremost. Obviously, the Cats would prefer to run more but the Bulls took that away and the coaches and players did a magnificent job of taking what was available. On the defensive side, that big USF line really had their way with Western so I know the Cats will look to address their run defense moving forward. Western now has two games to work out the kinks before an off week and huge game in Greenville against Furman on Sept. 27.

TCU 48, Samford 14 – BoxScore

The Horned Frogs came out firing leading 24-7 at the half and taking a 48-7 lead late into the fourth quarter before a Samford pick six brought us to the final margin. One quick question, why was TCU passing with a 41 point lead with under 6 minutes to play in the 4th quarter? Low class move Frogs…

  • Top performer: Jamerson Blount with 10 tackles, and INT returned for a TD and a fumble recovery. Have a game why don’t you?
  • Other notable performers: All-SoCon safety Jaquiski Tartt and LB Justin Cooper led the team with 11 tackles each
Next Game: Stillman at Samford, Sept. 11 – 6:30 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: TCU is known for playing great defense over the years. I believed Samford has the talent to play with them on a given day, but the Horned Frogs defense completely dominated the Bulldogs offense. On the other side, TCU rolled up yards rushing and passing. Either I have Samford overrated which we won’t know unti Sept. 27 when they visit Chattanooga or TCU is much better than expected.

Furman 13, Gardner Webb 3 – BoxScore

If you enjoy defensive football, this was the game for you. Furman broke through for a 3-0 lead late in the 1st quarter and led 10-3 after a late 1st half touchdown pass from Reese Hannon to Jordan Snellings put Furman up 10-3 at the half. The Paladins added a 47 yard FG by freshman JC Hollingsworth in the third for the final margin. The Furman defense allowed just 194 total yards and allowed just 4-17 on third down conversions. The big story out of Greenville is starting QB Reese Hannon going down with a season ending injury. R-Fr. Dillon Woodruff will take over heading into the conference opener next weekend at Mercer.

  • Performers of Note: LB Corey Magwood led the team in tackles with 11, DE Gary Wilkins notched 2.5 sacks
Next Game: Furman at Mercer Sept. 6 – 6 pm
SoCon Recruiting Notes: A tough situation for the Paladins who battled through injuries at the QB position last season as well. Back to this game, the big concern has to be the inability to run the ball effectively. Bottom line is Furman moves to 1-0 as the only SoCon team with a division 1 win.
For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Darius Ramsey Western Carolina

Week 1 SoCon Preview: Western Carolina at South Florida

The Western Carolina Catamounts get their 2014 season underway tonight at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 7 pm versus the South Florida Bulls. Coach Mark Speir’s squad are many people’s, including SoCon Recruiting’s, breakout pick for 2014. Speaking only for myself, this team just has the make-up of a good team and the conference schedule is favorable with most of the “could go either way games” at home. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
MIchael Eubank samford

SoCon Week 1 Preview: Samford at TCU

The Samford Bulldogs travel to Fort Worth, Texas tonight for a battle with the TCU Horned Frogs. The Bulldogs were co-SoCon champions in 2013 with a bid to the FCS playoffs. With several key departures from that team, but a ton of talent remaining, Samford has one of the more interesting teams in the SoCon entering 2014.

Despite the graduation of QB Andy Summerlin, WR Kelsey Pope, and RB Fabian Truss; Samford appears to have reloaded on offense with the transfer at QB Michael Eubank and the emergence of WR Karel Hamilton last season. The big question is RB as Sr. Jeremiaha Gates has been beat out by So. Denzel Williams for top billing. The offensive line is strong particularly on the right side with Gunnar Bromelow and CH Scruggs. Eubank is much more mobile than Summerlin so it will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can leverage that into a more read option oriented rushing attack.

Rhapsody Music Service
TCU has a rebuilt defensive line but return both linebackers and the bulk of the secondary. Senior linebackers Marcus Mallet and Paul Dawson along with junior S Chris Hackett were the top 3 tacklers for the Horned Frogs in 2013. It will be interesting to see if TCU is able to sustain their typical dominating pass rush despite the losses on the defensive front.

The Horned Frogs have a QB battle going between last season’s backup Trevone Boykin and Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel. TCU does return two of their top receivers from last season in Josh Doctson and David Porter along with leading rusher BJ Catalon. That trio accounts for better than half of TCU’s total touchdowns from 2013. TCU also averages better than 317 across the offensive line which you don’t see often in FCS.

All-American Justin Shade is gone, but the Bulldogs’ defense is still loaded with talent particularly in the secondary with Jaquiski Tartt and Trey Lesley leading the charge. The linebackers are once again strong however it appears that Bobby Wilson the leading returning tackler will miss this game. Up front, DT’s Michael Pierce and Jerry Mathis go 309 and 305 respectively and can hold their own. A lot of experience on the end as well with seniors Calvin Ruff, Brinson Porter, and Brandon Wilkinson returning after combining for 8 sacks last season. When fully healthy, the Bulldogs may have one of the best defenses in the conference, if not the country.

The Bulldogs have the personnel to compete in this game, but I believe the home field and depth of TCU will ultimately allow them to pull away for a win.

SoCon Recruiting prediction: TCU 31, Samford 20
For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Reese Hannon Furman

SoCon Preview Week 1: Gardner Webb at Furman

In a rematch of an opening week loss by the Paladins in 2013, Furman will host Gardner Webb at 7 pm this evening at Paladin Stadium. The meetings between these teams last saw the Paladins blow a 21-7 2nd half lead to the Bulldogs who went on to a 7-5 season which included another SoCon win over Wofford a few weeks later. This is a great opening week match-up that very well could be between playoff teams.

Offenses

Gardner Webb returns 9 starters including QB Lucas Beatty, 1,000 yard RB Juanne Blount, and 1,000 yard WR Kenny Cook. The Bulldogs also return 4 of their 5 starting offensive linemen from 2014. This is essentially the same offense that put up over 400 yards total offense against the Paladins last season. GW could very well challenge Coastal Carolina for the best offense in the Big South. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Carl Robinson The Citadel

SoCon Preview Week 1: Coastal Carolina at The Citadel

The Citadel Bulldogs will host the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at 6 pm today in the first ever meeting between the two institutions. I was shocked to read that these two teams have never played despite the relative proximity between the two campuses. Better late than never however as this is one of the more compelling games of the opening weekend.

The Bulldogs have a new leader in head coach Mike Houston. He promises an aggressive style which I believe players and fans will appreciate. The changes are not isolated to the coaching staff however, Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Alex James VMI

Week 1 SoCon Preview: VMI at Bucknell

***Once again, please pardon any differences from the original article as it had to be recreated due to a data loss which was ultimately unrecoverable.***

The VMI Keydets and Bucknell Bison find themselves beginning 2014 with the same opponent against which they ended their 2013 season. The two faced off on November 23, 2013 with the Bison coming out on top 35-23. The teams are 1-1 all-time with both match-ups occurring in Lexington, the trip to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania is the Keydets’ first (VMI Gamenotes).

Offenses

From an offensive personnel standpoint, the squads are similar with first year starters at quarterback (R-Fr. Al Cobb for VMI and So. RJ Nitti for Bucknell) and giant offensive lines. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Will Gay Wofford

Week 1 SoCon Preview: Wofford at Georgia Tech

In a battle of two of the more well-known option coaches in college football, Wofford will travel to Georgia Tech on Saturday. GT has made a habit of hammering SoCon opponents in recent years including a 70-0 shellacking of Elon in 2013. The Jackets are able to jump out to huge leads because of superior team speed coupled with the fact that their system is so difficult for which to prepare then their traditionally strong defenses allow them to coast to a blowout. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Billy Hinton Wofford

LB Billy Hinton Commits to Wofford

Bishop Fenwick HS linebacker Billy Hinton has committed to Wofford. Hinton is a 6-1, 220 lb outside linebacker with 4.7 speed although he will move inside for the Terriers. He amassed 87 tackles, 27 for loss, 4 sacks, and an interception on his way to being named 1st team all-League, team defensive MVP, and all-SW Ohio. Billy was also considering several MAC schools, but chose Wofford because he… Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
John Russ Mercer

2014 Week 1 SoCon Preview – Reinhardt at Mercer

Mercer fans’ wait is finally over, the Bears join the Southern Conference in all sports in 2014, none more anticipated than the 2nd year football program behind Coach Bobby Lamb. This match-up is a rematch of last season’s opener for the Bears in which they squeaked by Reinhardt with a late FG. Keep in mind that was the first game for new program and is a poor barometer considering Coach Lamb essentially had 22 new starters who had never played together. It is also important to note that while Reinhardt is a relative unknown, even to those of us in the southeast, they are NAIA Division I which means they do give athletic scholarships which many of the Bears’ 2013 opponents do not. That being said, they should not have the size or speed that the Bears now possess particularly on the lines. Read more

For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Jacob Huesman UTC

2014 SoCon Football Week 1 Preview – UTC at Central Michigan

Chattanooga (0-0) at Central Michigan (0-0), Thursday 7 pm

The Chattanooga Mocs open the season with the first of their two FBS opponents for 2014 visiting the Central Michigan Chippewas. (GoMocs.com Pregame Notes) The depth chart for the game doesn’t hold too many surprises although a few true freshman have made the two deep namely Will Young at W-WR, Tavon Lawson at DIME-S, Trevor Wright at FC-CB, and Tae Davis at FS along with Richardre Bagley who will return kicks and provide depth at RB. Other personnel notes include the recent injury to all-SoCon offensive lineman Synjen Herren who is out for the season.

Offensively, the Mocs return Payton Award candidate, QB Jacob Huesman, who racked up 2500 total yards and 25 touchdowns last season. His favorite target is all-SoCon TE Faysal Shafaat who led the team with 35 catches, but a wildcard for the Mocs this season could be SO Z-WR Xavier Borishade who gives Huesman a big play threat, he led the team in 2013 averaging 17 yards per catch as a freshman and will move into a starting role in 2014. With the loss of Herren, the Mocs are starting two freshmen and a converted defensive lineman on the OL. Despite the youth, this is an impressive bunch weighing 285 or better across the line hopefully giving Huesman and RB Keon Williams some running lanes.

2013 UTC Highlights vs. Georgia State

Central Michigan returns their leading tackler and sack man in senior LB Justin Cherocci along with BIG DT Leterrius Walton at 6-5 300 along with their entire secondary. The Chippewas allowed 28 points per game in 2013 with suspect run defense so I expect the Mocs to move the ball at times if they can avoid turnovers.

Central Michigan had some issues on offense last season averaging just 23 points per game behind freshman QB Cooper Rush who passed for just over 200 yards per game last season, but is not a major threat to run. He has a very experienced trio of receivers in seniors Titus Davis and Courtney Williams along with junior Andrew Flory. Davis is a star and a Biletnikoff candidate so keeping him in check will be among the Mocs’ keys for success. The running game was mediocre, at best, last season but leading rusher Saylor Lavallii returns along with all 5 offensive linemen. With so much continuity on offense, you have to expect Central Michigan to be much improved this season.

The Mocs defense was exceptional last season and return a very experienced defensive front but there are some 1st year starters at a few linebacker and secondary positions. Nobody questions the defensive front with two-time SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, Davis Tull, along with Daniel Ring, Derrick Lott, Josh Freeman, Zach Rayl, and Keionta Davis all of who can dominate on any given Saturday. At LB, I expect Muhasibi Wakeel will be outstanding as will DB’s Sema’je Kendall and Dee Virgin, but the Mocs top 4 returning tacklers are gone. That being said, the cupboard is not bare and this will be a great defense again this season, but the first game with so many new starters, especially on the road, is a concern. I expect the Chippewas to move the ball particularly through the air.

SoCon Recruiting Prediction: Central Michigan 38, Chattanooga 27
For more Southern Conference recruiting, Like us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.