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 … Fordham.
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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Patriot League (Fordham finished 6th in 2018)
COACH: Joe Conlin – At School: 2nd year (2-9) Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2015 (First Round)
2018 OFFENSE: 15.8 ppg. (116th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 28.2 ppg. (58th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Nov. 9 @ Colgate: This a great measuring stick for the Rams. Colgate is coming off a quarterfinal appearance and while the Raiders suffer some significant losses to its starting line, they are still the preseason favorite in the Patriot League.
SUM IT UP: After going 9-3 and making the playoffs in 2015 and then following that up with an 8-3 season in 2016, Fordham has hit a rough patch. The Rams went 4-7 two years ago and 2-9 last season in Joe Conlin's first year as head coach. Three of those losses came by eight points or less. There is a decent amount of experience coming back, though, suggesting improvements are quickly approaching.
Seven starters return on an offense that led the Patriot League with 200.7 passing yards per game. Tim DeMorat returns coming off a solid debut season in which he broke school freshman records with 299 passing yards in a game and four touchdown passes in a game. His 11 TD passes on the season also broke the Fordham freshman record. He'll need to find some new top targets as the Rams lose two All-Patriot League First Team pass catchers in WR Austin Longi and TE Isaiah Searight along with the No. 3 pass catcher Corey Caddle. Keep an eye on Joe Ferraro to step up and be the go-to guy. Freshman Dequece Carter, the 2018 Virginia Prep School Player of the Year, could also be relied on.
Top rusher Tyriek Hopkins is back after running for 476 yards and four scores last year. The Rams added Trey Sneed, a transfer from Rutgers, to its backfield as well. Fordham gets three starting offensive linemen back: Phil Saleh, Austin Glazier and Nick Zakelj.
Defensively, six starters return. Glenn Cunningham is one of the top linebackers in the country and is a HERO Sports Preseason Third Team All-American. Ryan Greenhagen also has some star power at the LB spot after being named a HERO Sports Freshman All-American. The Rams are the most experienced up front. Defensive linemen Deondre Carter, Anthony Diodato, Michael Ware and Ellis Taylor all return with starting experience.
OUR TAKE: As we stated above, improvements are coming for the Rams. The offense definitely needs to put up more points. Even with some key WRs gone, having your starting QB back is huge. The defense should be better as well, and that was already a pretty decent unit statistically. The nonconference is tough, though. Fordham faces FBS Ball State, four FCS teams who look to be in playoff contention and preseason ranked No. 17 Yale. In a 12-game schedule like this, a four-to-six win season is a big step forward for this program. Anything more than that, which obviously isn't out of the question, would be a massive turnaround.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Jr./LB Glenn Cunningham (HERO Sports Preseason Third Team All-American, 92 tackles and 21.5 TFLs)
THE FOUNDATION: Jr./OL Nick Zakelj (Second Team All-Conference); Jr./K Andrew Mevis (Second Team AC); So./LB Ryan Greenhagen (Second Team AC, HERO Sports Freshman All-American, 65 tackles/15 TFLs/8 sacks); Sr./RB Tyriek Hopkins (Top rusher in 2018, 476 yards and 4 TDs); So./QB Tim DeMorat (Returning starter, 1,633 yards passing with 11 TDs and 6 INT); Sr./WR Joe Ferraro (Top returning WR, 144 yards)
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./DB Prince-Elijah Degroat (19th ranked FCS recruit)
THE QUOTE: "We are excited to welcome the 15 new student-athletes to our program. The potential of this group is great and they collectively bring a great deal of speed and size to our squad. We can't wait for them to arrive on campus this summer and start their collegiate careers as we eagerly anticipate the 2019 season." — Head Coach Joe Conlin said
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Fordham Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast