Last year was disappointing for the Lions. The pre-season pick to win the LSC North stumbled to a 3-8 record. The offense was 13th in the LSC in scoring (19.2 pts) and yardage (293 per game). The defense was much more respectable, finishing 5th in points allowed (27.2) and 8th in yardage (398). On the bright side, three of their losses were by a total of 7 points. On the flip side, two of their wins were by just 6 total points.
The good news is that the offense did not lose many players. John Marshall and Brad Autry on the line, WR Julian Hayes (29-493 TD) and QB Adam Farkes (1,960 yards, 5 TDs, 16 Ints) were last year's seniors. Returning are RB's Marcus Graham (2nd LSC North, 815 yards rushing) and London Hamilton (378 yards rushing), WR's Kenzee Jackson (1st LSC North), Taylor Fore, Aaron Wingfield, Tevin Godfrey, and Adam Jones (combined 98 receptions for 1,182 yds). David Sudderth and Ray Argueta are the leading returnees up front.
The defense loses just a few - DL Derrick Hubert, LB Stephen DeGrate, DB's A.J Billings and Leonard Jackson. Most of the line is back, led by Tevin Moore (HM LSC North), Jake Williams, Tramaine Williams and Tristian Davis. Linebacker is in a similar situation, with Danny Mason (1st LSC North), Matt Abram, J.T. Bates and Matt Claggett all expected back. Seven different returning players in the secondary had double digits in tackles last fall - Marlin Terrell, Chez Thomas, Cortney Craig, Michael Cleveland, Joel Wren, Alan Beatty, and Marcus Fore.
Special Teams -
Deep snapper Louie Capra and kick Ahmed Abo-Mahmood will need to be replaced. Abo-Mahmood converted 22-26 PATs and 7-11 FGs. Returning are Cameron Frosch, who averaged 37 yards per punt, and return men, Kenzee Jackson (26 yds per kick return) and Taylor Fore (8.4 yds per punt return).
Top 5 signees
QB - Yogi Gallegos - #47 QB prospect by ESPN out of HS, impressive in spring game
RB - Kaylon Alexander - Played in the Texas High School Coaches Association All Star Game after rushing for 1,374 yards and 19 TDs for the state runner-up
WR - James Driskell - 68 receptions for 1,020 yds, 7 TDs, honorable mention All-State
WR - Tyler Rawlings - 31 receptions for 436 yds, 5 TDs for Snow College
K - Jacob O'Neil - #89 kicker on nation by ESPN
Other top signees
OL - Jordan Betz
DT - Steve Williams
LB - Malcolm Minikon
LB - Kris Woods
LB - Breynon Henderson
The most obvious glaring hole was at QB, and the Lions should be greatly improved there, either with Gallegos or JJ Harp (redshirt transfer last year). Betz and Rawlings should be in the rotation right away at OL and WR respectively, and Logan Sligar (TCU) and Bryn Roy (Snow JC) should see time at LB as well. Most of the high school signees should be able to benefit from a redshirt year, a luxury many of the returning starters did not get to enjoy. Grade A-