Farrell grad Chapman climbing YSU depth chart


Farrell grad climbing depth chart

By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

Braxton Chapman feels like himself again and Youngstown State stands to reap the benefits.

The redshirt freshman running back has spent this fall in a crowded backfield and has quickly found himself climbing the depth chart, sitting just below senior Tevin McCaster and sophomore Christian Turner.

It’s a far cry from last fall. Chapman couldn’t get on the field in 2017 because he was recovering from a torn ACL. He tore it during a playoff game during his senior season at Farrell in 2016. It was an anti-climatic end for the Steelers’ all-time leading rusher at 3,067 yards. His first time back on the field was during spring practice.

“It’s very humbling. I mean it took a lot out of me mentally, but it’s made me a better person today,” Chapman said. “I believe God makes no mistakes. It was something I had to go through and I learned a lot from that experience.”

In Saturday’s scrimmage, Chapman saw the bulk of the carries, running eight times for 115 yards while showing no ill effects from his injury. He broke off a 75-yard touchdown run down the left sideline.

“You saw Braxton have a really good day today,” head coach Bo Pelini said.

No matter how many carries Chapman receives this fall, he’ll be grateful just to be on the field.

“It gave me a new perspective on everything. You can be playing the game one day and it can be taken away the next,” Chapman said. “There were times where I didn’t know if I could even get back to this level. I just thank God, man.”

OPTIONS ON THE D-LINE

Shereif Bynum, Johson Louigene and Ma’lik Richmond don’t need to sweat the depth chart, they all figure to have starter-esque roles at defensive end.

On Saturday, the three combined for the majority of the first-team snaps.

“[Antoine Cook] has also had a good camp and I would say that’s our top four,” Pelini said. “Cook can play inside, too, especially on third downs.”

With returning starting defensive tackle Savon Smith sitting out the scrimmage, sophomore Wes Thompson got most of the snaps besides Lamont Ragland. He impressed by picking up a sack.

“Wes played really well and he’s had a good camp,” Pelini said. “He played some snaps for us last year and he’s a better football player now than he was a year ago. He’s coming along for us.”

Other underclassmen who took turns in Smith’s spot included true freshmen Dontae Cilenti, DeMarko Craig Jr. and Cardinal Mooney’s Vinny Gentile.

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