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 … Monmouth.
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FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
Big South (Monmouth was 2nd in the Big South in 2017)
COACH: Kevin Callahan – 26th year (144-118 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 32.8 ppg (21st in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 27.6 ppg (76th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: This offensive juggernaut isn't going to miss a beat in 2018. It put up nearly 400 points last year and one can be sure it'll do about the same and probably better in 2018. The quarterback's back, the receivers are back, and the All-Everything freshman at running back is back for his sophomore year — and the line? It's full of experience. So book that, they'll be in some shootouts. This offense is as balanced as it could be (2,380 rushing yards, 2,368 passing yards last year), so good luck keying on anything. One thing this team is going to want to wipe from its memory is the last two games of the season when it lost by a combined score of 98-28 to FCS powers Kennesaw State and Northern Iowa. That's something to work past if Monmouth wants to win nine games again and be in the playoff discussion.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Kennesaw State is the Uber clearcut pick to win the Big South Conference once again, and last year the Owls knocked the Hawks around by 31 points in their matchup. That game will be in New Jersey this time, in November. That will likely settle the league again, so the program's hopes will come down to the KSU game. Aside from that, Monmouth will undoubtedly have a winning record, it's just a matter of how it handles the non-conference schedule in whether we're talking about 6 wins or 9 wins.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: OL Ryan Wetzel (HERO Sports 3rd Team Preseason All-American)
THE NEXT BEST: RB Pete Guerriero (Big South Freshman of the Year – 1,061 yards rushing, 9 TDs); WR Reggie White Jr. (1st Team All Big South – 74 catches, 874 yards, 8 TDs); TE Jake Powell (2nd Team All Big South – 23 catches, 330 yards, 3 TDs); DB Tymere Berry (2nd Team All Big South – 14 PBUs, 43 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 INTs); QB Kenji Bahar (2,368 yards passing, 16 TDs); LB Diego Zubieta (62 tackles, 4 TFL); OL Pete Righi (23 career starts at guard).
TOP NEWCOMER: LB Solomon Manning (Rutgers transfer – former 3-star recruit).
DID YOU KNOW?: President Woodrow Wilson lived on what is now Monmouth's campus while he ran for President in 1916. That property was used in filming the 1982 movie Annie.
THE QUOTE: "What we saw was some explosive plays by the offense and the ability to put the ball in the endzone. On defense we really saw a firmness up front and ran to the ball extremely well. Every day we come out here we want to see execution and improvement from one day to the next. I thought this spring over the course of the 14 days we did that. The young guys, especially the freshmen took advantage of the time this spring and really positioned themselves to contribute in 2018." — Head Coach Kevin Callahan said after the spring game
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #FlyHawks
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @MUHawksFB
Monmouth senior Ryan Wetzel named to @HEROSportsFCS Third Team All-American pic.twitter.com/XGSgdcVakV
— Monmouth Football (@MUHawksFB) June 13, 2018
FCS TRADITIONS: Who has the best?