HERO Sports welcomes you to "Three-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs from June 17 to August 6. Then, we'll preview all 13 conferences from August 12-15. Today, we present … Penn.
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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Penn (6-4 IN 2018)
Ivy League (Penn T4th in 2018)
COACH: Ray Priore – At School: 5th Year (26-14) Overall: Same
2018 OFFENSE: 18.6 ppg (109th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 20.9 ppg (13th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Oct. 26 @ Yale: We really like what Yale has coming back and have the Bulldogs preseason ranked No. 17. The Ivy League title race should be a tight one, and this game definitely will play a big factor.
SUM IT UP: Penn has had a winning record in each of Ray Priore's four seasons as the head coach. In fact, Penn is the only Ivy League program to have a winning record every year these last four seasons. And looking at what the Quakers have coming back, that looks to continue.
Seven starters are back on offense and eight return on defense.
Most of these team previews start with looking at the offense. But let's take a look at this terrific defense first that ranked 13th in the FCS last year with 20.9 points allowed a game. Three of the top four tacklers are back and all four starters in the secondary return: Mohammed Diakite, Tayte Doddy, Jacob Martin and Conor O’Brien. This unit has a chance to be special in 2019.
The offense needs to take a step forward to help out the defense after scoring just 18.6 points a game, which ranked 109th in the FCS. Penn ran the ball 400 times last year for 1,619 yards and 12 scores. All four running backs and two quarterbacks who accounted for those yards and TDs are back. Karekin Brooks led that group with 898 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Quarterback Ryan Glover is also back after rushing for 300 yards (third on the team) and two touchdowns. He threw for 1,482 yards off of 205 attempts with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Penn needs to replace its top two pass catchers.
And just as important for this run-heavy offense is the return of four starters on the offensive line: Ace Escobedo, Travis Spreen, Jeff Gibbs and Greg Begnoche.
OUR TAKE: It's going to be an entertaining year in the Ivy League. Dartmouth and Princeton were fantastic last year. And Yale has a ton of talent coming back and/or returning from injury. With the experience on Penn's roster, we expect the Quakers to be right there with these teams. If they want to take it up a notch, though, the offense needs to put more points on the board. If this team can get more balanced, it can be scary good.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./RB Karekin Brooks (Second Team All-Conference, 898 rushing yards and 8 TDs
THE FOUNDATION: So./DB Mohammed Diakite (All-Conference HM, 37 tackles and 3 INT); Sr./DB Jacob Martin (All-Conference HM, second on team with 77 tackles); Jr./QB Ryan Glover (1,482 yards passing, 7 TDs, 6 INT); Sr./WR Tyler Herrick (top returning WR, 8 rec. for 156 yards and 2 TDs); Jr./LB Brian O'Neill (57 tackles); Sr./OL Jeff Gibbs (Multi-year starter); Sr./OL Greg Begnoche (Multi-year starter)
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./OL Ben Hoitink (HERO Sports' 64th ranked FCS recruit in 2019)
THE QUOTE: "The 2019 season will be another special one in the history of the Penn Football program. We are proud of our history as an innovator and leader in the sport of college football and we look forward to celebrating the 125th season of football at Franklin Field, the 150th year of college football, and what we hope is a memorable year for the Red and Blue and all of our fans." — Head Coach Ray Priore said
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Penn Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The Ivy League
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast