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 … Grambling State.
[divider]MORE: Compare Any Two FCS Players or Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
GRAMBLING STATE (11-2)
SWAC (GSU was 1st in the SWAC in 2017)
COACH: Broderick Fobbs – 5th year (38-11 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 31.2 ppg (25th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 20.5 ppg (27th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: On one hand, you look at Grambling and see that the offensive dynamic duo of Devante Kincade and Martez Carter has moved on to pro football, along with the entire secondary that started in the Celebration Bowl. You might think this is a massive rebuilding year for the Tigers — but then you do a double take and re-read the school name and begin to nod. Come on … this is Grambling.
You look at what Grambling returns on both sides of the line, and any football fan knows that's always a nice place to start. The defensive line was brutally tough against SWAC competition last year and the linebacking corps was equally mean — starting with HERO Sports Preseason 1st team All American De'Arius Christmas. Four of the five O-linemen who started the Celebration Bowl last year return, the top receiver is back, and last year's backup QB — Geremy Hickbottom — played in nine games in 2017.
In the SWAC, Grambling reloads — and this year, maybe it's the defense that becomes the focal point for the Tigers. There's a reason this program has been to the SWAC title game 10 times since 1999, winning 8. Count on the Tigers being very competitive.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: We could easily see Grambling repeating as SWAC champions, even with a lot of new faces gracing the starting lineup. We could also see a Celebration Bowl rematch with North Carolina A&T. However, road trips to Alcorn State and games versus Prairie View (State Fair Classic) and Southern U. (Bayou Classic) will not be easy. Alcorn and Southern have nice contingents returning, specifically. This should be a fun year to keep an eye on the SWAC, with this kind of parity.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: LB De'Arius Christmas (1st team HERO Sports Preseason All-American — 17.5 tackles for loss, 88 tackles)
THE NEXT BEST: DL La'Allan Clark (1st team All SWAC – 11 sacks, 10 QB hurries); DL Brandon Varner (1st team All SWAC – 6 TFLs); OL William Waddell (1st team All SWAC); PK Marc Orozco (1st team All SWAC – 18 FGs); DL Linwood Banks (2nd team All SWAC – 7.5 TFLs); TE Jordan Jones (2nd team All SWAC – 5 receiving TDs); WR Darrell Clark (2nd team All SWAC – 44 catches, 528 yards, 5 TDs); LB De'Andre Hogues (57 tackles, 12 TFLs, 8 sacks, 2 INTs).
TOP NEWCOMER: DB Maurice Robinson (3-star prospect according to 247Sports)
DID YOU KNOW?: Grambling is tied atop the FCS (with Jackson State) in having four NFL Hall of Famers – Willie Brown, Buck Buchanan, Willie Davis and Charlie Joiner.
THE QUOTE: "We are looking forward to the upcoming season. I am excited about the 2018 schedule and the steps that our program will be taking with this challenging slate. We have the opportunity to open the season with a member of the Sun Belt Conference and will host four games at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium in front of an incredible fan base." — Head Coach Broderick Fobbs said about the 2018 season
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #RespectTheG
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @GSU_TIGERS
Just a little over a week until @theswac Football Media Day #RespectTheG #grambling #gramblingstate #gramblingstateuniversity #WhyNotGrambling pic.twitter.com/VJI5MXHjkd
— GSU Athletics (@GSU_TIGERS) July 5, 2018