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 … Mississippi Valley State.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE (2-9)
The SWAC (MVSU was 5th in The SWAC East in 2017)
COACH: Vincent Dancy (first year)
2017 OFFENSE: 14.9 ppg (113th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 40.5 ppg (118th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: It has been awhile since the Delta Devils have been competitive, but the new coaching staff is hoping to change that trend — starting with the guys up front, on both sides of the line. The program will try to get back to the way it played only about five or so years ago — beating Grambling, Southern and Alcorn all in the same season 2012. Notice we didn't say 1982 or 1962, we said 2012. It can happen, and new head coach Vincent Dancy is trying to retrain the minds of his players. He's a legacy (his father attended MVSU) and he'd been on the Delta Devils' staff prior to being hired as head coach. As a former All-SWAC performer himself at Jackson State, he knows the territory. He'll have his top five tacklers back on defense, which is something to build on, and he has his top two receivers returning and all three quarterbacks who saw considerable playing time last year (Dewayne Betts, Jeff Even and Christopher Fowler – 3,000 yards, 16 TDs combined). Statistically, MVSU has one of the more intact returning starting lineups in the FCS — can that pay instant dividends with the right mind frame? It's up to the Delta Devils on that one.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Last year, Mississippi Valley State won two games and had a legitimate shot at two more wins with Alabama State and Texas Southern. If they can hit the reset button and the experience on this roster shines through, they can easily win more than two games in 2018. Will this be a rebuilding year? Yes. But there's nothing wrong with rebuilding when you have experience to work with.
TOP RETURNEE: LB Patrick Harbin (2nd Team All SWAC – 89 tackles, 4.5 sacks)
THE NEXT BEST: WR Quinn McElfresh (SWAC Newcomer of the Year – 57 receptions, 889 yads, 5 TDs); WR Steven McIntosh (39 catches, 532 yards, 2 TDs); LB Adam Hamilton (53 tackles, 4 TFL); DB Jamenta Shaw (53 tackles, 3 TFLs); DL Bryant Jones (51 tackles, 4.5 TFLs).
TOP NEWCOMER: RB Caleb Johnson (2-star HS prospect, held offer from South Carolina)
DID YOU KNOW?: While most FCS (and football fans in general) know that Jerry Rice played his college football at MVSU, they may not know that 21 players from the school have been drafted into the NFL.
THE QUOTE: ""You can actually see the difference in the program. When we came out in spring ball after the new staff every thing was just up more, offensive spirit was up, defensive spirit was up." — senior linebacker Patrick Harbin told WJTV at SWAC Media Day
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #DancyEra
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @MSValleyFB
— MVSU Athletics (@MVSUDevilSports) July 13, 2018