The Rams finished the 2010 season with a 5-5 record, but were just 3-5 against the teams that will comprise the LSC going forward. The offense scored 34.5 points per game (an improvement of almost 6 points) and gained 421 yards weekly (22 yards better than 2009). The defense gave most of that improvement back however, allowing 30.3 points per game (4.7 more than 2009) and 388 yards (25 more per game than 2009).
The losses on the offense aren't numerous, but they will not be easy to replace. QB Josh Neiswander leaves ASU as the school's all-time leading passer (8,212 yards, 61 TDs). His favorite target the past two seasons, V'Keon Lacey (127 receptions, 1,447 yds, and 15 TDs) is also gone. Not to be overlooked, FB John Norcott (2nd LSC South) has also moved on.
The cupboard is not bare, however. Leading rusher Tristan Carter (603 yds, 5 TDs rushing, 193 yds, 6 TDs receiving) and backup Nevin Gardiner are both back. Dekarai Pecikonis (2nd LSC South) is on pace to own just about every career receiving record on the ASU books. CJ Akins, Zach McCormick and Excelle Osborne will need to step up their games to keep teams from concentration on him, though. Up front, TEs Nate Bayless (2nd LSC South) and Bradan Ritchey, and OL Austin Sumrall (2nd LSC South), Andrew Krutsinger, Ryan Merriman, and Keefer Preece all return. We have not heard anything on Conner Cook, who is not on the spring roster.
Five starters are gone from the defense, three on the line. DL Cody Smith, Devin McDonald (both HM LSC South) and Zach Pettit (as well as backup Cornelius Rosenbaum), LB Brandon Mayse (2nd LSC South) and DB Markeith Jones (HM LSC South) will be missed.
Top Returnees include LB Austin Benson (HM LSC South), LB Sebastian Lafaele, and DBs Alvin Johnson (HM LSC South), Dekkar Williams, Terrance Preston, Stetson Edwards, and Jake Eannarelli.
Special Teams -
Garrett Tidwell (1st LSC South) was a return man extrordinaire - in 2010 averaging 17.5 yards per punt return (2 TDs) and 28.1 per kick return (1 TD). That is a huge hole to try and fill. Also gone is kicker Ryan Smith, who converted 34-39 PATs and 2-5 FGs. Punter George Shamblen (1st LSC South) will be return, after averaging 43.6 on punts.
Top 5 signees
QB Kyle Washington - 18-4A Off MVP, threw for 2,159 yds and 17 TDs with 4 Ints
OL - Lucas Zoller - 2nd team all Central Texas selection
DT Wayne Blackwell - Big transfer should provide immediate help, 10 TFL, 3 Sacks last year at Ventura College
LB Colton Lyon - Scout.com ranked #78 MLB in nation, 94 tackles with 6 sacks
DB Matthew Hummingbird - 112 tackles last year
Other top signees
WR Talon Smith
OL Regan Womack
DE Matthew Gholston - 15-5A Def MVP
DL Larry Moore - not an official signee, but new to the 2010 spring roster
DL Khari Ferrell - not an official signee, but new to the 2010 spring roster
Bringing in a new staff in the middle of recruiting season hampered Angelo State, but coach Wagner was able to add some nice pieces. The departures at defensive line were addressed with several newcomers added that should be able to contribute this fall. We wouldn't be surprised to see Lyon and Hummingbird in the mix as well. Not a lot to talk about on offense, but with the returning lineman and skill players on the roster, there weren't any glaring holes. Grade B-