The Citadel has won the last two Southern Conference championships including an unbeaten regular season in 2016. Considering the recent success, the Bulldogs are still a little under the radar entering 2017, but they’ve proven you can’t count them out after losing their QB and their coach before the 2016 season then winning again. This is a different team for Coach Thompson with a lot of new starters, but enough familiar faces to expect the Bulldogs to compete for a third straight conference championship.
Offensively, QB Dominique Allen and HB Cam Jackson headline the option attack. Gone is FB Tyler Renew (a late cut by the Falcons) who was a 1,000 yard rusher last season. The biggest questions are up front where Coach Thompson will start 3 freshmen in the season opener. The upside is The Citadel has two “should-win” games at home and then undermanned ETSU on the road before getting into the meat of the schedule so the young guys have a chance to gel before visiting Samford on September 30.
The defense will also have some new faces in the lineup for 2017, but preseason defensive player of the year Kailik Williams is poised to lead another good Bulldogs defense. Also, returning are linebackers Myles Pierce and Noah Dawkins along with NG Ken Allen who each had solid seasons a year ago. A pair of senior corners will join Williams in the secondary looking to replace departed all-American Dee Delaney. It is very difficult to lose guys like Delaney, Tevin Floyd, and Joe Crochet and remain as good as this group looks to be in 2017. That certainly speaks to the recruiting and system in place for the Bulldogs.
A lot of new faces in the lineup for the Bulldogs this season leaving a few questions to be answered most notably can the young offensive line hold up in conference play? We’ll see soon, but with guys like Allen and Jackson along with a very solid defense, The Citadel should compete in the Southern Conference once again. I don’t expect another 8-0 season, but I think the cannons will get plenty of action again in 2017.