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 … Kennesaw 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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COACH: Brian Bohannon – At School: 5th year (37-12 record) Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2018 (Quarterfinals loss to South Dakota State)
2018 OFFENSE: 43.5 ppg. (3rd in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 15.4 ppg. (7th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Nov. 2 – vs. Monmouth: This could end up being for the Big South championship. The Hawks have a nice contingent returning from last year's 8-3 team, and the Owls are doing a complete overhaul on offense — so don't expect a repeat of the 37-point KSU win last year. It should be a better game this time around.
SUM IT UP: No team in the country has had as much upheaval on the offensive side of the ball as Kennesaw State will deal with this year, and the spring game was indicative of that, as the defense dominated. Still, the Owls have a program based more on scheme than just individual, and you have to think this will be a plus. The Owls have recruited exceptionally well over the years, so we may see success, just with completely different names this year.
As is the question around the FCS at other programs, people are probably wondering who will replace Chandler Burks' 29 rushing TDs and 10 passing TDs? The front runner coming out of spring is Daniel David, who threw for 201 yards and two scores last year, while also rushing for 206 yards and five TDs. He has played in 27 career games for the Owls as the backup to Burks, and it is his turn in this offense — and don't be surprised when he flourishes. He's a former Appalachian State 3-star signee who held offers from six FBS schools. David is a good starting point, and having a RB like Shaquil Terry — who is a weapon in the run game and pass game — is also another key component. The offensive line is a massive question, as all positions will need to be filled — and having a good OL is critical in this option offense.
Now, the defense is going to be brutally tough this fall. Almost everybody is back (eight starters) and when it comes to negative-yardage plays and interceptions, lots of those playmakers from last year return. Not surprisingly, thanks to KSU's style of offense and its clamp-down defense, this program owned the time of possession, and that's always big for the defense. Look for the Owls to be stingy on 'D' all season long.
OUR TAKE: Kennesaw State may be rebuilding on offense, but this is still a top program and that's why it's in the preseason poll. But the Owls' No. 22 spot is based on our curiosity about how good this offense will be. Last year, we had the Owls at No. 3 in the preseason and felt certain this was a top FCS program, which it proved to be — reaching the quarterfinals. This year in the nonconference schedule, there is a 2-10 FBS team (Kent State), two lower division schools and the FCS' Alabama State and Missouri State — a deceptive MVFC team that could be tricky for the Owls (ask Northern Arizona after it lost 40-8 in the MVFC-Big Sky Challenge). Within the Big South conference, KSU should be considered the favorites again. The truth is? Kennesaw State may be rebuilding … but it still will probably win about nine to 10 games this year in this 12-game season. The question isn't the win total as much as how much of a factor can the Owls be in the postseason? It'll depend on how quickly the offense gets rolling.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Jr./LB Bryson Armstrong (HERO Sports Preseason All-American – 75 tackles, 10 TFLs)
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./DB Dorian Walker (1st Team All Big South – 3 INTs, 38 tackles, 7 passes defensed); Sr./DL Andrew Butcher (1st Team All Big South – 34 tackles, 9 TFLs, 4 hurries); Sr./DL Desmond Johnson (1st Team All Big South – 33 tackles, 8.5 TFLs); Soph./RS Isaac Foster (HERO Sports Preseason All-American – 38.9 yards per kick return, 2 TDs); Jr./LB Charlie Patrick (2nd Team All Big South – 55 tackles, 10.5 TFLs); Jr./RB Shaquil Terry (2nd Team All Big South – 576 yards rushing, 5 TDs; 215 yards receiving, 1 TD); Sr./DB Le'Vonte Larry (43 tackles, 5 PBU); Soph./DB Cincere Mason (4 INT; 7 passes defended)
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./QB Xavier Shepherd (No. 104 ranked signee in the HERO Sports 2019 Recruiting Rankings – 5 FBS offers).
THE QUOTE: "I think you saw defensively, before we got tired, I think we were flying around there and playing with a lot of energy which is what you would expect them to do. Offensively, we got a lot of work to do. We are replacing nine of 11 starters. There is some youth out there. A lot of youthful moments under the lights. We have a lot we can learn from and a lot we can get better at. There are a lot of positives out of spring ball. We have an awful lot of work to do before we can play a college football game, but I have said that for the past 15 practices, and I will probably say it for quite a while. But guys were getting better and that's the goal." — Head Coach Brian Bohannon said during spring ball
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Kennesaw State Preview
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SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast