Breaking down YSU's fall camp roster

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by Joe Scalzo - "A blog about YSU Penguin athletics, not the insides of penguins."   | 155 entries

 
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On Tuesday, Bo Pelini starts his first training camp at Youngstown State. He takes over a team with eight returning starters on offense and, on paper, another seven on defense. Of the 98 players on the roster, 66 were with the team in the fall.
Here’s a breakdown of the roster, which is YSU’s most talented in years:
OFFENSE
QUARTERBACKS
Who’s back: Sophomore Hunter Wells (returning starter), junior Tanner Garry, sophomore Ricky Davis.
Who’s new: Freshman Nathan Mays.
Scouting report: After winning the job midway through the season, Wells is now entrenched as the starter, having impressed Pelini during spring camp. He threw for 1,772 yards, 14 TDs and seven interceptions last fall in 10 games (seven starts). Davis is a talented athlete with a big arm. Mays is a four-year starter from Urbana, Ohio, who earned second team All-Ohio last season. Dante Nania, who started five games last fall, transferred to Slippery Rock.
RUNNING BACKS
Who’s back: Junior Martin Ruiz (returning starter), junior Jody Webb, senior Demond Hymes, sophomore Ryan Moore (out for year — ACL tear).
Who’s new: Redshirt freshman Tevin McCaster, freshman Joe Alessi.
Scouting report: This was a team strength until Moore went down with an ACL tear early in spring practice. Ruiz (who ran for 1,320 yards and 10 TDs last fall) and Webb (715 yards, 9 TDs) give YSU as good a 1-2 punch as anyone in the conference, but there’s not a lot of depth behind them.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Who’s back: Senior WR Andrew Williams (returning starter), senior WR Andre Stubbs (returning starter), senior TE Kintrell Disher, junior TE Jacob Wood, junior WR Joe Gallinatti, sophomore WR I’tavious Harvin, sophomore WR Jaylon Brown, sophomore WR Darien Townsend, sophomore TE Shane Kuhn, sophomore TE Anthony Parente (moved from offensive line), redshirt sophomore TE Kevin Rader (moved from defensive line), redshirt freshman WR Michael Callender, redshirt freshman WR Robert Byrd (moved from defensive back).
Who’s new: Freshman WR Darius Shackleford, freshman WR Ryan Emans, freshman WR Jermiah Braswell, freshman WR Tre’von Williams, freshman WR Isiah Scott, freshman WR Chad Swanson, freshman TE Mark Schuler, freshman TE Joey Davidson.
Scouting report: Williams had a breakout season last year, catching 47 passes for 776 yards and four TDs in MVFC play alone, while Stubbs combined for more than 500 yards rushing and receiving. But there are a lot of question marks after those two. Harvin has the potential to be YSU’s No. 3 receiver and it’s a safe bet that one or more of the freshmen will see some playing time this fall. At tight end, Wood can follow in the footsteps of TEs like Carson Sharbaugh (2013) and Nate Adams (2014) as an solid blocker/occasional receiving threat. Disher, whose knee injuries nearly ended his career, is an intriguing player to watch.
OFFENSIVE LINE
Who’s back: Senior T Trevor Strickland (returning starter), junior G Brock Eisenhuth (returning starter), junior G Dylan Colucci (returning starter), sophomore T Justin Spencer (returning starter), junior T Christian Wilson, junior G Matt Bell, sophomore C Cole Newsome, sophomore T Cameron Fraser, redshirt freshman C Charles Zaborsky, redshirt freshman T Jeff Rotheram, redshirt freshman T Warren Marlowe
Who’s new: Redshirt freshman Cole Costy (2014 recruit who was not on fall roster), freshman Cole McKenry, freshman Gavin Wiggins, freshman James Wilson, freshman Jacob Zinni.
Scouting report: This should be a team strength if they can stay healthy, something that didn’t happen in the spring. YSU returns four starters, with Newsome expected to step in at center for the graduated Stephen Page. Spencer earned preseason first team all-conference honors.
DEFENSE
DEFENSIVE LINE
Who’s back: Senior DE Terrell Williams (returning starter), senior DT Emmanuel Kromah (returning starter), junior DE Derek Rivers (returning starter), senior DE Eric Myers, senior DT Steve Zaborsky, junior DE Joshmere Dawson, junior DT Rickey Hagood II, sophomore DT Milton Williams, sophomore DE Fazson Chapman, redshirt freshman DT Cody Squiric.
Who’s new: Junior DE Avery Moss (transfer from Nebraska who practiced during spring), junior DL Donald Mesier (transfer from Mesa Community College), freshman DL Shereif Bynum, freshman DE Steven Wethli, freshman DT Lamont Ragland, freshman DT Savon Smith.
Scouting report: The MVFC’s best teams typically have outstanding defensive lines and the Penguins finally have the depth and talent to match up. Rivers, a preseason first team all-conference pick, set a YSU record with 14 sacks in the regular season last fall and Williams added 10. Moss had a promising start with the Cornhuskers until he was kicked off the team for a public indecency charge. This unit overwhelmed YSU’s beat-up offensive line in the spring game.
LINEBACKERS
Who’s back: Senior Dubem Nwadiogbu (returning starter), junior Jaylin Kelly (returning starter), sophomore Mike Palumbo (returning starter), sophomore Cole Kochman, sophomore Lee Wright, redshirt freshman Nathan Pittman, redshirt freshman John Linkosky, redshirt freshman Johnson Louigene (moved from defensive line).
Who’s new: Freshman Christiaan Randall-Posey, freshman Vincent Schnell, freshman Cash Mitchell, freshman Curtis Parks, freshman Armand Dellovade
Scouting report: Nwadiogbu deserved all-conference honors last fall, recording 104 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. Kelly, the middle linebacker, had 84 tackles and looked improved in the spring. Pelini spent as much time praising Wright as any player in the spring.
DEFENSIVE BACKS
Who’s back: Senior SS Tre’ Moore (returning starter), junior CB Nate Dortch (returning starter), senior CB Kenneth Durden, junior CB Eric Thompson, junior CB Deion Hall, junior CB David Rivers, junior SS Jameel Smith, junior FS Kenny Bishop, sophomore CB Sidney Sandidge (moved from RB), sophomore CB D.J. Thomas, sophomore FS Shane Dixon (injured — will miss training camp), redshirt freshman CB Chrispin Lee.
Who’s new: Junior SS LeRoy Alexander (transfer from Nebraska), junior SS Jamar Pinnock (trasnfer from Scottsdale Community College), sophomore FS Jalyn Powell (transfer from Michigan State), freshman CB Avery Larkin, freshman CB Mike Nash, freshman S Kyle Hegedus, freshman Zack Torbert
Scouting report: Moore had a solid season last fall after taking over for Smith in the starting lineup. Smith, a starter as a freshman, turned in a strong spring. Durden, who sat out the season after USF refused to release him, has elite talent for this level. There are still a lot of question marks here, but if they don’t get answered, it won’t be for a lack of options.
SPECIAL TEAMS
Who’s back: Sophomore K Connor McFadden, redshirt freshman P Nick Sheely.
Who’s new: Freshman K Zak Kennedy (enrolled early and practiced in spring).
Scouting report: YSU lost starting kicker/punter Joey Cejudo to graduation and his replacements had a shaky spring, to say the least. McFadden did have a solid spring game but this could be the team’s biggest weakness.
COACHING
Who’s back: Offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery, offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, defensive coordinator Ron Stoops (promoted from linebackers coach).
Who’s new: Bo Pelini (head coach), Carl Pelini (defensive line), Brian Crist (wide receivers), Kyle Brey (tight ends), Pepe Pearson (running backs), T.J. Hollowell (linebackers), Richard McNutt (secondary), Tim Marlowe (assistant secondary).
Scouting report: After fielding lousy defenses for most of the Eric Wolford era, the Penguins should improve under Pelini, who made his reputation on that side of the ball. He’s vowed to play press coverage in the secondary, which should thrill YSU fans tired of watching the cornerbacks play 10 yards off the ball to avoid giving up the big play. With Montgomery back on offense, the other big question is on special teams, which was another Wolford weakness. Pelini won at least nine games every year at Nebraska, which was good enough to get him fired. Here, it would be good enough to get him in the playoffs. I think YSU would settle for eight wins and the program’s first postseason berth since 2006.


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