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 … Southern University.
SOUTHERN UNIV. (7-4)
The SWAC (2nd in SWAC West)
COACH: Dawson Odums – 7th year (43-25 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 27.4 ppg (48th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 27.7 ppg (78th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: When you look at who is missing from the Southern U. roster, you immediately wonder what's going to happen next? Danny Johnson and Aaron Tiller were stellar contributors, Austin Howard's departure at QB leaves that spot wide open, etc etc. But there is a feeling in this SU camp that the rare FCS commodity — depth — is going to kick in with the 2018 version of the Jaguars. Maybe the motto should be "NEXT!" because that's what we're hearing from Southern U. right now.
The truth is, the D-line and the secondary — even without Johnson, who is battling it out in Washington Redskins camp — look formidable. The offensive skill stable looks impressive, and if quarterbacks John Lampley and Glendon McDaniel can square away who is ready to start on Sept. 1 against TCU, this program will clearly still be a major contender in the SWAC (NOTE: They aren't the only two battling for the job, either). Those are a lot of 'ifs', but if you're hunting for a nervous look from this group, good luck finding it. The coaching staff has conveyed that it likes what it is seeing.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Who are we kidding? Southern U. is a traditional powerhouse in the SWAC and in the HBCU ranks in general. The first two games (TCU and La. Tech) are tough, but the rest of the schedule is winnable if this team finds itself — primarily under center. It has the weapons to push anybody around, and it plays host to East Division power Alcorn State. As usual, the Bayou Classic will settle the SWAC West and everything that happens afterwards. Can Southern U. hang with Grambling? Yes it can, but the Tigers on paper in August look like slight favorites vs. the Jaguars. Can that change? No question. Southern seems like a 7 to 8-win program to me.
TOP RETURNEE: DB Andre Augustine (1st Team Preseason All SWAC – 53 tackles)
THE NEXT BEST: OL Jeremiah Abby (1st Team Preseason All SWAC); DB Montavius Gaines (52 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2 INTs; DB Demerio Houston (16 passes defensed, 1 INT, 26 tackles); DL Ceajae Bryant (5.5 TFLs, 28 tackles, 5 hurries); DT Dakavion Champion (5.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks); DL Simeon Houston (4.5 TFLs); RB Devon Benn (442 yards rushing, 4 TDs); WR Jamar Washington (408 yards receiving, 3 TDs); WR Kendall Catalon (343 yards receiving, 2 TDs); OL Jodeci Harris (6-foot-7, 315 pound sophomore); TE Dennis Craig (3 TDs).
TOP NEWCOMER: WR Hunter Register (6-foot-5 pass target who transferred from Minnesota in the Big Ten).
DID YOU KNOW?: Southern University has won 11 black college national titles in its school history. The first came in 1948 when it shared the title with Central State. The most recent came in 2003. The program also has had more than 70 players go on to the NFL, the most recent being Danny Johnson, who was invited to the Senior Bowl in January and is currently in camp with the Washington Redskins. If Johnson makes the 53-man roster and plays this fall, he'll be the 80th Southern player all time to play in the NFL.
THE QUOTE: "This year, we have a solid bunch of guys; we don’t have a bunch of All-Americans and all these big name guys but we have a great core of guys and we're deep. We’ve got a bunch of guys that … we're two-and-a-half deep with the d-line and the same thing with the secondary, so the biggest thing now is we don’t have to have guys, like [junior defensive end Jamal] Tillman, play 60 [or] 70 plays a game. Now, we have guys in situations that can step in and help us out." — defensive coordinator Trei Oliver said at the opening of fall drills
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WeAreSouthern
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @SouthernUsports
.@NFL Draft ended Saturday with former @SouthernU_BR All-American Danny Johnson signing as a rookie free agent with the @Redskins. Johnson's first opportunity to prove himself comes May 11-13 at Rookie Mini-Camp. #WeAreSouthern pic.twitter.com/h4BY4NEsHF
— Southern U. Sports (@SouthernUsports) April 29, 2018
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