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 … Mississippi Valley State.
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MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ST. (1-10 IN 2018)
The SWAC (MVSU was T5th in East in 2018)
COACH: Vincent Dancy – At School: 2nd year (1-10 record), Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 1984 (lost first round to La. Tech)
2018 OFFENSE: 19.9 ppg. (103rd in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 42.4 ppg. (118th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Oct. 12 @ Arkansas-Pine Bluff – The Delta Devils picked up their lone win last year by knocking off APB. One can imagine the Golden Lions would like revenge.
SUM IT UP: MVSU nabbed one SWAC win last year (see above) and came very close against Grambling and Alabama State. The program has won only nine games since winning five SWAC contests in 2012 and is hungry to change that pattern. This proud program — that once had NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice catching passes within — is ready to turn things around. An interesting statistic is worth noting — the Delta Devils had 46 lettermen either graduate or move on from the program, and only 34 return. The depth will come mostly from expected newcomers — 46 in all. So the program will have more new players than returning: 23 are freshmen, 21 are JUCOs and two are transfers.
An obvious offensive bright spot for the Delta Devils is dual-threat quarterback Dejerric Bryant, who accounted for 11 touchdowns last year and started five games behind center — including the team's lone win. He has a couple of experienced linemen up front, but all-in-all the newcomers are going to need to fill holes at the skill positions on offense.
On defense, the leading tackler is back as well as the leading negative-yardage guy. In all, four of the top seven tacklers return … but this program has a lot of plugging of the holes to do.
OUR TAKE: It certainly feels like 35-year old head coach Vincent Dancy is trying to change the culture here. The fact that 46 letterwinners have moved on proves that a transition of sorts is happening within the program, and that should pique the interest of Delta Devils' fans. Dancy isn't handling this in complacent form, that much is for sure. One may step back and say MVSU is just plugging holes with transfers, but they'd be ignoring the massive freshmen class coming in (23 players), showing this coaching staff is committed to building from the ground up. Our prediction is the Delta Devils need a few years to see this grassroots approach work, but it's certainly a positive. It will be interesting to see how quickly it works.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./LB Tadarius Davis (Led MVSU with 101 tackles, also 6.5 TFLs, 6 hurries)
THE FOUNDATION: Jr./LB Jerry Garner (10.5 TFLs, 43 tackles); Sr./FS Jamenta Shaw (40 tackles); Jr./QB Dejerric Bryant (622 yards passing 4 TDs; 389 yards rushing 7 TDs); Sr./OL Qu'Jaun Spratley (returning starter); Sr./OL Zacchaeus Sias (returning starter); Sr./LB Tracy Thompkins (75 tackles, 9 TFL); Jr./DT Adam Hamilton (33 tackles, 5 hurries); Sr./RB John'Derrick Smith (296 yards rushing, 3 TDs; 224 yards receiving, 1 TD).
THE QUOTE: "My goal is to build a championship program for the players, alumni, faculty, staff and fans of Mississippi Valley State University. My immediate concerns are filling the gaps in those areas that we were missing as it relates to player personnel, and meeting with our alumni chapters and community stakeholders to reconnect and assist us in restoring our brand from the glory days of Delta Devil football." — Head Coach Vincent Dancy said when hired
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Mississippi Valley State Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The SWAC
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