HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Charleston Southern.
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (6-5 IN 2017)
Big South (CU was 3rd in the league in 2017)
COACH: Mark Tucker – 2nd year (6-5 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 22.7 ppg. (66th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 19.8 ppg. (25th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Charleston Southern is a perplexing team to preview. Why? Because the Bucs are pretty darned good on defense but have struggled against stronger competition on offense — at least that's the way the past few seasons have been. That may be about to change though. There was a good quarterback battle in the spring between London Johnson (581 yds passing last year, 4 TDs) and Jack Chambers and junior wide receiver Kameron Brown is one of the biggest hidden gems in the FCS (just ask North Dakota State circa Aug. 2016). Speaking of NDSU … does anybody remember when CSU took a trip up to the Fargodome and gave the umpteen-time FCS national champs all they could handle? Well, there are still several key guys around from that overtime game. Players like Kameron Brown, Solomon Brown, Shadarius Hopkins and J.D. Sosebee had a lot to do with that game going to overtime before NDSU won. That feisty demeanor is still here. And while reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Ellis is gone, there is a nice defensive nucleus returning from a group that allowed only a little more than 15 points a game when they weren't playing P5 teams like Mississippi State and Indiana (in 2017). HERO Sports' FCS Preseason No. 3 team Kennesaw State will still be the solid favorite to win the Big South, but could the Bucs make this interesting?
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: If the QB and offensive situation firms up this fall, Charleston Southern may be one of the more interesting stories in the Big South — and maybe the FCS. The defense has been stout for years, and if the offense can match? This is a program capable of being near the top of the Big South and might be able to make an argument for a playoff spot if non-league FCS games against The Citadel, Elon and Hampton go well in September. This is a scrappy program, and aside from the trip to Florida and the home game against Kennesaw State, CSU will be expected to be in every game — meaning 7 or 8 wins is possible. If the offense can put up 3 to 4 touchdowns a game, coupled with this defense? Watch out.
TOP RETURNEE: DL Solomon Brown (1st team All Big South)
THE NEXT BEST: WR Kameron Brown (2nd team All Big South – leading receiver); DL Johnny Robinson (1st team All Big South – 12 TFLs); DB Shadarius Hopkins (2nd team All Big South – 12 PBUs); LB J.D. Sosebee (2nd team All Big South – leading tackler); RS Taz Lindsey (2nd team All Big South); P Kyle Reighard (1st team All Big South – 41.4 punt avg); DB Brandon Rowland (2nd leading tackler back – 64 tackles);
TOP NEWCOMER: DL Ramero Rock (JUCO All American, 3-star prospect with FBS offers).
DID YOU KNOW?: Charleston Southern hasn't had a losing season since 2012, winning 41 games the past five seasons. CSU began playing football in 1991 as a Division III program.
THE QUOTE: ""It feels good being back out here for another season. A lot of guys are hyped to play because we kind of left a bad taste in our mouth last season. I'm keeping the same mentality and not getting complacent, which Coach Tuck drills into my head every day. I'm also excited for the competition with Jack (Chambers). He's eager to learn and ready to compete this year."; — Quarterback London Johnson said during spring practice
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WeAreCSU
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @CSUFB
.@CSUFB receiving leader in each of the last two seasons – ✔
Top in the FCS in yards per catch in 2016 & 2017 – ✔
First Down Machine – ✔@kbrown11_ is back and hungry for more as the Bucs sit 14 weeks from kickoff in Gainesville #GoBucs #WeAreCSU pic.twitter.com/2H5ejDkSQX
— Charleston Southern (@csusports) June 9, 2018
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