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 … Delaware State.
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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DELAWARE STATE (3-8 IN 2018)
The MEAC (DSU was Tied for 8th in 2018)
COACH: Rod Milstead – At School: 2nd year (3-8 record), Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2007 (first round loss to Delaware)
2018 OFFENSE: 16.7 ppg. (113th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 33.5 ppg. (90th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Nov. 10 – vs. Morgan State (in Baltimore): Last year, Delaware State fell 9-0 in this game, and this may be one of those pivotal games that prove the Hornets are on the rise. If DSU can win this one, it'll be a message to the rest of the MEAC that the Hornets are hardly an afterthought.
SUM IT UP: Last year, Delaware State won three out of its final four games, its top total since going 5-6 in 2013. Also, two losses (Morgan State and S.C. State) were hardly blowouts. When one considers the Hornets had won just five of their previous 45 games coming into 2018, one can see that coach Rod Milstead and his staff's job of getting his DSU program to the three-win mark and playing well down the stretch is certainly something positive to point to coming into 2019.
There's also a core of talent returning to point to. The offensive line is almost entirely intact, there are defensive playmakers abound — especially in the linebacking corps and in the secondary. Oh, and don't forget the Romo-Martinez brothers (see below) when it comes to special teams. These two make for a powerful kicking/punting tandem when the Hornets call on them. The quarterback battle between junior Shayne Smith and freshman Tylik Bethea was a healthy one in the spring, and RB Mike Waters is back from injury after being a standout earlier in his career (820 yards rushing as a freshman).
OUR TAKE: This program is far from "moribund" now, just ask typically strong North Carolina Central, who fell to DSU last year. There's a spark here, the players are hungry and this year's schedule makes it look like the Hornets could take one more step forward (four wins) in their program rebuilding process. We're not predicting a 10-2 record and a MEAC championship here, like DSU pulled off back in 2007, but we think this program continues to improve.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./LB Brian Cavicante (1st Team All MEAC – 89 tackles led team last year, 17 TFLs).
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./DB Jahad Neibauer (3rd Team All MEAC – 70 tackles, 3 INTs; 7 TFLs); Sr./OL Kaiden Crawford (3rd Team All MEAC); Jr./OL Liki Seu (3rd Team All MEAC); Jr./RB Mike Waters (rushed for 820 yards as a freshman, injured last year); Sr./CB Devin Smith (55 tackles, 6 TFLs); Jr./LB Alex Lozano (46 tackles, 5.5 TFL); Soph./FS David Bowman (49 tackles); Sr./P-K Fidel Romo-Martinez (41.3 yards per punt before injury); Soph./P-K Jose Romo-Martinez (8 of 11 on field goals, 41.8 as punter when older brother injured).
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./QB Tylik Bethea (6-foot-5 prospect who threw for 1,500 yards and 15 TDs at Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln — was in spring camp as true freshman).
THE QUOTE: "I’m ecstatic about our 2019 schedule. I’m most grateful for the seven home games on the schedule because it gives us a chance to connect and build support among our students, fan base and community. After being on the road for seven games last season, including two against major college opponents, it’s great for our program to have more exposure at home, fewer long trips and a schedule that gives us an opportunity to be more successful." — Head Coach Rod Milstead said during spring ball
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Delaware State Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The MEAC
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast