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 … Norfolk State.
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FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
NORFOLK STATE (4-7)
The MEAC (NSU was 6th in MEAC in 2017)
COACH: Latrell Scott – 4th year (12-21 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 19.0 ppg (97nd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 27.5 ppg (75th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: It wasn't long ago that the Spartans went three straight years with winning records, and last year they within 10 total points (close losses to Virginia State, Hampton and Howard) of a 7-4 record and all 4 of their wins were in the MEAC. There seems to be a spark here this year, with 16 starters returning. The playmakers are abundant and aside from games against James Madison, Liberty and a road trip to MEAC champ North Carolina A&T, Norfolk State will not be considered a clear underdog in any of the other games. Now this program just needs to seize that opportunity to slide into the upper echelon of the MEAC by winning those key 50/50 type games. If the Spartans get a halfway decent run game going this fall (incumbent Aaron Savage is capable, JUCO transfer Cameryn Brent is another potential weapon), watch out.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: I think we're looking at a winning season here. Norfolk State will win at least six games and break the six-year streak of losing seasons. The ceiling is probably about eight wins, and several things need to go right for that to happen — but it is possible. So we'll go with 6 to 8 wins. The biggest game on the schedule, as we look at things in July, seems to be the Nov. 10 home game with Howard and QB Caylin Newton. Last year, this game was close. It may be the battle for No. 2 in the MEAC behind N.C. A&T.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: RS/WR Marcus Taylor (2nd Team All MEAC – 629 yards receiving, 5 TDs; 24 yards per kickoff return, 1 TD)
THE NEXT BEST: DB J.T. Wahee (3rd Team All MEAC – 4 INTs); DL Nigel Chavis (3rd Team All MEAC – 3rd leading tackler, 82 tackles, 8.5 TFLs); OL Kenneth Kirby (3rd Team All MEAC); QB Juwan Carter (1,827 yards passing, 13 TDs); DB Nhyre Quinerly (62 tackles, 3 INTs).
TOP NEWCOMER?: RB Cameryn Brent (JUCO's leading per game rusher last year at 152.6 per game in 9 games for Holmes (Miss.) Community College).
DID YOU KNOW?: Norfolk State has had 13 players drafted into the NFL, with the highest being Leroy Jones in 1975 (2nd round). The top players coming from NSU are DB Ken Reaves (12 years, 1 Pro Bowl), DE Leroy Jones (8 years) and DB Ron Bolton (11 years).
THE QUOTE: "We're excited to be able to open up with two straight home games again. The Labor Day Classic is always a fun atmosphere for the two schools and the fans, and hosting JMU is another quality home game for our program. One of our goals this year is to build a real home-field advantage against our MEAC opposition, so we're really emphasizing playing better at home within our conference schedule." — coach Latrell Scott said about the schedule
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #cometogether18
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @NSU_FB
Official 2018 Season Schedule‼️ #ComeTogether pic.twitter.com/TeUt4cmRMc
— NSU Football (@NSU_FB) March 8, 2018
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