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 … Marist.
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Marist (5-6 IN 2018)
Pioneer Football League (Marist finished T4th in 2018)
COACH: Jim Parady – At School: 28th year (138-145-1) Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: None
2018 OFFENSE: 25.6 ppg (77th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 26.6 ppg (50th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Oct. 5 @ San Diego: Everyone is still chasing San Diego in the Pioneer Football League. This was a 31-14 loss to end the 2018 season for Marist. We'll get to see what kind of strides the Red Foxes have made in this matchup.
SUM IT UP: The Red Foxes flipped their conference record from 3-5 in 2017 to 5-3 last year. Two of those losses came by five points or less. There's reason to believe this 2019 squad can turn those close losses into wins.
The offense has a chance to be pretty dang good with eight returning starters. Sophomore Austin Day and junior Jacob Hallenbeck both started four games last year and showed flashes. Day ended the season as the starter. The weapons around them are solid as Marist has its top three rushers coming back: Darryn Jordan, Mekhai Johnson and Areg Nazarian. The big fellas up front are experienced, with five guys who have started at least five games: Dan Wittekind, Matt McKnelly, Kevin Doran, Ian Grant, and Jerry Prutos. Luke Butera also expects to be in the mix for a starting role on the offensive line. He's missed the last two seasons due to knee injuries but is healthy and ready to go.
The Red Foxes need to replace career 4,000-yard WR Juston Christian, who was in camp with the Baltimore Ravens in May. Watch for Anthony Olivencia to step up and Marist also has reliable TE Jon Kanda back as well.
The defense has a number of holes to fill and a lot of production to replace. Only four starters return. Three of the top five tacklers are gone. Linebackers Maliek Carr and Grant Dixon return to lead the defense. Marist likes the talent it has in the secondary with the likes of Justice Seales and Ryan Webb.
OUR TAKE: With the returning talent, we expect Marist to notch a couple more wins this year. The key is if the defense can keep its level of play up. Helping that unit out should be a strong running game keeping the offense on the field. While San Diego has been the top dog in the PFL for a few years, we expect the conference title race to be competitive in 2019. Keep an eye on Marist as it looks to climb into a Top 3 spot.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./LB Maliek Carr (All-Conference HM, 65 tackles)
THE FOUNDATION: Jr./LB Grant Dixon (AC HM, 58 tackles); So./LS Joe Giordano (AC HM); Sr./TE Jon Kanda (AC HM, 28 rec. for 394 yards and 6 TDs); Jr./DB Justice Seales (AC HM, 49 tackles and 2 INT); Jr./DB Ryan Webb (AC HM, 7 PBUs); Sr./OL Dan Wittekind (AC HM); Jr./RB Darryn Jordan (No. 1 rusher last year, 507 yards)
THE QUOTE: "That's kind of what spring ball is about, to see what some of these young guys are doing. Some of these young guys have to step up if we want to be where we're used to being." — Defensive Coordinator Scott Rumsey said
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Marist Preview
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