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 … Texas Southern University.
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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TEXAS SOUTHERN (2-9 IN 2018)
The SWAC (TSU was T4th in West in 2018)
COACH: Clarence McKinney – At School: 1st year (0-0 record) Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: 2010 (won SWAC title over Alabama State)
2018 OFFENSE: 19.2 ppg. (105th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 33.2 ppg. (88th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Sept. 28 @ Houston Baptist – Can Texas Southern knock off a Southland Conference team? With both of these schools being located in Houston, this is a key matchup and both of these programs need this win. We could put any number of SWAC games in this category, but we think this one is pivotal for both programs.
SUM IT UP: Clarence McKinney takes over as the 17th all-time coach in school history, and he has seen success as a head coach at the high school level and as an assistant at Arizona, Texas A&M and Houston under Kevin Sumlin (and to answer your question – yes, McKinney was at TAMU when Johnny Manziel was attending Heisman ceremonies). McKinney brings an immense recruiting knowledge of the state of Texas and a fresh new face to the program, which has fallen on hard times since winning the SWAC back in 2010 and then having wins and titles vacated from several seasons for NCAA violations.
There is certainly talent to work with. HERO Sports Sophomore All American Tren'Davian Dickson is back to toss the ball to, and he should have a talented quarterback throwing to him, whether it's TxSU returnee Devin Williams, freshman Brysen McKinney or DeAndre Johnson, who began his career at Florida State and has been in the show Last Chance U. All in all, four starters return to the offense, which is McKinney's coaching background … and statistically the unit struggled last year. Look for improvements here as the program hunts for playmakers.
The defense, statistically, was a bit better last year than the offense, and it returns seven starters to the unit. There's no question that Julian Marcantel is the leader of this 'D', and he'll once again be a playmaker at linebacker. He has a decent core around him, so look for this group to improve statistically. The secondary looks pretty stout, actually, and it's young. There is material to build with here.
OUR TAKE: We think improvement is coming at TxSU. Right off the bat, there are three or four games on the schedule that look like potential wins, so that already is something to build from. What the Tigers want, though, is to beat a top-half HBCU program and get that signature victory that shows they're moving up in the standings. That's the goal here.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./LB Julian Marcantel (Preseason All SWAC – 98 tackles, 8 TFLS, 4 INTs); Jr./LB Patrick Howell (81 tackles, 8 TFLs); Jr./DB Marquis Walker (75 tackles, 8 PBUs); Jr./DB Joshua Murray (36 tackles, 9 PBUs); Jr./DB Matthew Stephenson (32 tackles, 2 TFLs); Sr./WR Tariq Buchanan (22 receptions, 250 yards in 6 games); Sr./OL Dominic DeRiggi (top returning starter on the line).
TOP ADDITION: Sr./QB DeAndre Johnson (former Florida State and FAU and Last Chance QB)
THE QUOTE: "I am happy to be returning to my hometown and former neighborhood to lead and develop the student-athletes in the football program at Texas Southern University. I am looking forward to partnering with Dr. Lane and the administration, staff, student-athletes, alumni and fans to build the type of program we can all be proud of. I appreciate Dr. Lane and Kevin Granger presenting me with the opportunity to lead this program." — Head Coach Clarence McKinney said when hired
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Texas Southern Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The SWAC
SUBSCRIBE: HERO Sports FCS Podcast