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Spring Ball - Previewing each Position


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Redshirt senior DJ Irons landed on the All-MAC 3rd team despite missing several games in 2022. Senior Jeff Undercuffler filled in admirably in DJI’s absence. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Jankowski, redshirt freshman Dijon Jennings, and true freshman Steele Wasel will compete for snaps, but probably will not see much playing time this season.



Last year, redshirt juniors Cam Wiley and CJ Price split time and neither back was able to separate himself from the pack. Former 5 star (and current 3 star) Florida grad transfer Lorenzo Lingard has entered the fold. Best bet is Lingard will earn the starting spot by the time the season rolls around. What role does redshirt freshman Charles Kellom play? He exhibited a subtle shiftiness and the ability to quickly change gears during limited playing time, which was hard to detect from his high school film.



1st Team All-MAC junior Alex Adams has the slot locked down and is backed by sophomore Bobby Golden. Redshirt senior Daniel George was curiously left off an all-conference team last season. George was backed by junior Caleb Anderson who may have a chance to compete for SJL’s old role. Although, Western Kentucky transfer redshirt junior Dakota Thomas will probably have first crack. Redshirt sophomore Jasaiah Gathings flashed early in 2022 before an injury derailed his season. This may be redshirt sophomore Myles Walker and redshirt junior Anthony Williams last chance to make an impact.



Snaps were split almost evenly last season between redshirt senior TJ Banks and former Zip Tristan Brank. Redshirt sophomore Caden Clark and redshirt freshman Marquell Darnell are the likely candidates to push Banks for time.



Gauging by the recent outgoing offers, it is pretty clear that the staff is still searching for interior OL help. Sophomore Ka’Marii Landers and junior Nate Williams have the left and right tackles locked down. Junior Ronan Chambers is the top backup at the tackle spots. Redshirt juniors Tony Georges and Alex Robarge, along with redshirt sophomore Brian Kilbane are the current leaders on the interior. That being said, expect some push from redshirt freshmen Tyhler Williams and Keylen Davis. Redshirt sophomore Colin Lyons returns from injury and redshirt freshman Jourden Hale-Frater may be ready to contribute. Freshman Jayvin James is on campus, but is probably not ready to compete for significant minutes.



Redshirt senior Ravontae Holt should finally be at full strength. He was a wrecking ball late last year when he was close to fully healthy. Holt will likely be joined by grad transfer Terray Jones. Jones was a multi-year all conference player at Tennessee State. Redshirt seniors Kyle Thomas and Devon Robinson had their moments in 2022. Redshirt freshman Kiawan Murphy may be ready to take the next step and contribute in 2023.



Senior Ryan Johnson has the size and athletic ability to become a complete player at one DE spot. 3 star grad transfer Ahmad Rabah will likely fill the other end position. Depth behind them is a concern. Freshman Bruno Dall has plenty of upside potential, but will he be ready in year 1? Expect Julian Richardson to play some DE. Corey Thomas may also be shifted back down for depth purposes during the spring.



All-MAC 1st Team Bubba Arslanian returns for what seems like his 10th year. He will be joined by hard hitting sophomore Bryan McCoy. Junior Antavious Fish has the physical tools, but struggled at times last year. Fish and sophomore Jaharon Griffin will have every opportunity to claim meaningful minutes and display just how far this group has come since coach Moorhead arrived.



South Carolina transfer redshirt junior Joey Hunter and Purdue transfer redshirt freshman Terence Thomas were brought in from the portal and immediately upgrade the talent level. Redshirt sophomores Devonte Golden-Nelson, Cam Threatt, and Darrian Lewis return, as do juniors Tyson Durant and Rishad Hence. There is a good chance that Hunter and Golden-Nelson are manning the CB positions, with Thomas at Nickel, by the time the season arrives. This position must show improvement during the spring.



Safety turned out to be an area of strength by the end of 2022. Redshirt senior Nate Thompson, senior KJ Martin, and redshirt junior Jaden Woods were playing at a high level. They will be joined by Pittsburgh grad transfer Judson Tallandier who could also play some Nickel. Talented freshmen will arrive after the spring, so where does that leave younger players like redshirt sophomores Noel Roach, DiMarco Johnson, and MyJaden Horton? There is the distinct possibility that the Zips field one of the best safety positions in the MAC this coming year.



Field goals past 39 yards, consistently flipping the field on punts, and touchbacks on kickoffs were a struggle last season. Freshmen Owen Wiley and Joey Castle were brought in to help remedy some of those issues. 

Edited by catdaddyp
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11 hours ago, roopride said:

Great work?  Where are we better and how much?  Looking for your thoughts.


Are we better because of experience or talent upgrade? Safety is self explanatory. I assume we not regressed at any position.

Defensive end and the interior of the OL are the two biggest concerns. While Victor Jones and Zach Morton weren’t All-MAC, they were solid.

We lost both starting guards in Max Banes and Anthony Whigan. Whigan was 3rd Team All-MAC and Banes was decent. The run game will continue to fight an uphill battle until the interior OL progresses.

I guess cornerback is technically a concern until proven otherwise. Although, it’s hard to imagine that group will be as rough as last season with another year of development and the recent/incoming talent infusion.


Our passing game that lead the MAC in yards should be just as strong. It’s now or never for DJI and even with the loss of SJL, we return plenty of talent at WR and TE.

I think we will see a noticeable difference with the defensive tackles and linebackers. The defensive tackle position has been turned from an area of weakness into strength. Im really excited about the potential of a Holt and Jones duo. At linebacker, Bubba is Bubba and the trio of McCoy, Fish, and Griffin should bring another level of physicality. I didn’t mention Behm because I’m not sure he can stay ahead of those guys.


I also expect our kicking game to be improved. We didn’t have a kicker who could consistently put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs, which led to some big returns on our less than stellar kick coverage. Also, I don’t believe we hit a field goal over 42 yards last year.

Edited by catdaddyp
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