HERO Sports welcomes you to "Three-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs, with three teams being released each day from June 17 to July 28. Then, we'll preview all 13 conferences from August 1-4. Today, we present … Charleston Southern.
We'll leave no stone left unturned when it comes to giving the FCS diehards all they could ask for this offseason. Learn about every program in the country, with HERO Sports.
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CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (5-6 IN 2018)
The Big South (CSU was 3rd in 2018)
COACH: Autry Denson – At School: 1st year (0-0 record), Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2016 (First Round loss to Wofford)
2018 OFFENSE: 21.2 ppg. (99th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 23.5 ppg. (32nd in FCS)
KEY GAME: Sept. 21 – @ The Citadel: If the Bucs want to prove they've come a long way in a short time, this is a game they need to be competitive in. The "Battle of Charleston" wasn't pretty last year, with CSU falling mightily. The Citadel is good again and is ranked in the HERO Sports Preseason Top 25. How do the Bucs stack up? We'll know early.
SUM IT UP: There is a buzz around Charleston Southern's football program right now, and new head coach and former Notre Dame star running back Autry Denson is a big reason for it. The spring was a big positive and there will be a new "Air Raid" offense installed which should pair up nicely with some of the talent that is currently on the roster. Remember, there are still players on this roster — like J.D. Sosebee, Kameron Brown, Stephen Haralambis to name a few — who played key parts in taking FCS powerhouse North Dakota State to overtime in the Fargodome in 2016. And while the past two seasons haven't produced Big South championships like in 2015 and 2016, the program has played around .500 — so this program has never fallen apart at the seams. These guys know how to win, and now there's a fresh spark.
Statistically, the defense has always been solid at CSU. That needs to be a starting point with this program as it regroups. Sosebee is a proven commodity at linebacker and will be the leader. Some new names need to emerge and make themselves known. Again, this likely won't be an overnight process — so patience is needed. On offense, the "Air Raid" attack will be headed up by returnees Jack Chambers, Christian Reid or true freshman Ross Malmgren (a 3-star signee). If one or a mix of them can get this going, Brown is a killer pass target when healthy (injured in 2018), and RB Terrence Wilson can tote the rock. Chemistry here will be the key, and like the defense? New names need to emerge.
OUR TAKE: The non-conference schedule is brutal, let's be honest. Preseason Top 25 teams Furman and The Citadel, defending HBCU National Champion North Carolina A&T and the SEC's South Carolina form the first month of the schedule. CSU will learn a lot during that span, but once it hits its conference schedule, things could get interesting. Kennesaw State has owned the Big South the past two seasons, but its inaugural senior class and all its leadership is gone now — though the Owls are hardly devoid of talent. Still, the conference should be more interesting than it has been the past two seasons. With this 12-game season, we'll put the happy spot at six wins for the Bucs, with even more to look forward to in years beyond as this process continues to flesh out.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./LB J.D. Sosebee (1st Team All-Big South – 72 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 3 fumble recoveries)
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./WR Kameron Brown (only 5 games of action last year, but major big-play potential as shown his freshman and sophomore years – 1,092 yds receiving, 8 TDs, 20+ yards per catch); Sr./P Kyle Reighard (2nd Team All-Big South – 40.9 yards per punt); Jr./LS Ethan Ray (2nd Team All-Big South); Sr./LB Edward King (43 tackles, 5.5 TFLs); Jr./RB Terrence Wilson (540 yards, 6 TDs); Soph./QB Jack Chambers (244 yards passing, 2 TDs; 96 yards rushings, 1 TD); Soph./DL Shaundre Mims (19 tackles, 5 TFLs); Soph./DL Jon Pohahau (28 tackles, 2.5 tackles); Sr./OL Stephen Haralambis (returning starter who was a starter in 2016 when CSU took North Dakota State to overtime); Sr./OL Zack Evans (returning starter with career starts against Florida State and Mississippi State)
TOP NEWCOMER: WR Kaleb Chatmon (HERO Sports' Top 100 FCS signee who reported offers from West Virginia and 7 other FBS schools)
THE QUOTE: "Our biggest thing we wanted to do when we came in this spring was to lay the groundwork and the fundamentals of what we want to do as a team. We also wanted to get the base of our system in for both our offense and defense. As you could see today (at the spring game), the guys are taking to it and getting used to it, and we can keep building from there." — Head Coach Autry Denson said during spring ball
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Charleston Southern Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The Big South
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast