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 … Weber State.
WEBER STATE (11-3 IN 2017)
Big Sky (WSU tied for 1st in 2017)
COACH: Jay Hill – 5th year (26-23 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 33.7 ppg. (18th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 17.6 ppg. (16th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Jay Hill has slowly built up the Weber State football program. His record has improved from 2-10 to 6-5 to 7-5 and then to 11-3 last year with a share of the Big Sky title and a trip to the FCS quarterfinals. In that quarterfinal loss to the defending national champs and eventual national runner-up James Madison, the Wildcats held an eight-point lead with 3:14 remaining before JMU scored the next 11 points with a game-winning field goal as time expired.
That puts an interesting view on the 2018 Wildcats. On one side, Weber lost a ton of important pieces from last year on offense and defense. Stefan Cantwell was a huge part of the offense's success at quarterback, leading the team in passing and rushing touchdowns. He's gone along with his two favorites targets. Yet the Wildcats have a Big Sky-best six players on the preseason All-Conference Team along with five preseason HERO Sports All-Americans. So is this a national championship contender? Or is it a team that slides back into the middle of the Big Sky pack?
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Weber State takes the next step and makes it to the semifinals after winning another Big Sky title. The Wildcats are going to face a tougher conference top to bottom in 2018 compared to last year. But it's a mistake to overlook the terrific players this team has coming back. The defense should remain solid with four of the five top tacklers back. The special teams will be outstanding. Playmakers like running back Treshawn Garrett and wide receiver Rashid Shaheed return with a solid offensive line. The pieces are there to remain at a high level.
TOP RETURNEE: LB LeGrand Toia (Preseason All-American, 79 tackles)
THE NEXT BEST: OL Iosua Opeta (Preseason All-American); FB Brady May (Preseason All-American on special teams); WR Rashid Shaheed (545 yards, 3 TDs, preseason All-American return specialist); K Trey Tuttle (Preseason All-American); RB Treshawn Garrett (698 yards, 6 TDs)
TOP NEWCOMER: OL Chris Faaumu (Cerritos CC transfer, 6-foot-4, 300 pounds)
DID YOU KNOW?: Weber College became a junior college in 1933, then became Weber State College in 1962. It gained university status in 1991 and was renamed Weber State University.
THE QUOTE: "There were a lot of things I liked early in the scrimmage but we have a long way to go still. The defense started a little slow but I thought they finished well and made some big plays. On offense, we need to sustain our drives. We need the backups to really take some steps forward." — Head Coach Jay Hill said after the first preseason scrimmage
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WeAreWeber
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @weberstatefb