#39 Grambling State FCS Football 2017 Preview


Grambling State Tigers


Overall Rank: #39


On September 10th Grambling State let everybody know that they were the team to beat in the SWAC. The Tigers gave Arizona a scare in a 31-21 loss. And they never lost again. Grambling State not only won the SWAC West, but they beat Alcorn State in the title game and slipped past North Carolina Central by a score of 10-9 in the Celebration Bowl.
2016 Record: 11-1, 9-0
2016 Postseason: Celebration Bowl vs North Carolina Central (W 10-9)
Coach: Broderick Fobbs (28-9 at Grambling State, 28-9 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Dooley
Defensive Coordinator: Everett Todd
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Martez Carter, RB, 906 yards
Passing: Devante Kincade, QB, 2,999 yards
Receiving: Martez Carter, RB, 351 yards
Tackles: De’Arius Christmas, LB, 69
Sacks: Deontae Hatter, LB, 4.5
Interceptions: Deaumante Johnson, CB, 3
Other Key Returnees: OL Trenton Scott, LB Malcolm Williams, CB Joseph McWilliams
Key Losses: RB Jestin Kelly, WR Chad Williams, WR Verlan Hunter, WR Dominique Leake, OL Justin Miller, LB Arkez Cooper, DB Guy Stallworth, DL Samuel Reese, DL Donovan McCray, DB Jameel Jackson, DL Blain Winston
There are a few holes for Coach Broderick Fobbs to fill on offense, but there are some very good pieces to build around. Quarterback Devante Kincade returns after throwing for 2,999 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. He completed 64.0 percent of his passes and was intercepted just four times. The former Mississippi Bulldog also rushed for 264 yards and four scores. Kincade will need to find some new targets though. Gone is Chad Williams, who caught 90 passes for 1,337 yards and 11 scores and Verlan Hunter and Dominique Leake, the second and third leading receivers on the team. Devohn Lindsey is the team’s top returning wide receiver with 17 catches for 248 yards. Running back Martez Carter is dangerous out of the backfield. On top of his 906 yards and 11 scores on the ground, he caught 28 passes for 351 yards and three more scores. Grambling State does need to find a secondary running back behind Carter though in an effort to replace Jestin Kelly and his 871 yards and seven scores.
With some big names being replaced on defense, Coach Fobbs’ depth will have to start paying off quickly. The line was dominating last season with players like Samuel Reese and Donovan McCray getting into the backfield on a regular basis. The Tigers led the FCS with 3.42 sacks per game and that is not going to be easy to replicate without Reese and McCray leading the way. Linebacker De’Arius Christmas is the team’s top returning pass rusher with 4.5 sacks. Along with Malcolm Williams, Grambling State has a couple of experienced linebackers to build around. Arkez Cooper and his team high 74 tackles needs to be replaced though. Cornerbacks Deaumante Johnson and Joseph McWilliams will anchor the secondary. Guy Stallworth and Jameel Jackson will be solid playmakers at safety and Grambling State will need a few younger players to emerge as solid contributors right away.
The Bottom Line:
Once again Grambling State has the most talented roster in the SWAC and that should lead to another conference title and trip to the Celebration Bowl. The Tigers most challenging non-conference game should come on November 25th against Southern in the regular season finale. Everything could be on the line when those two face off in the Bayou Classic in New Orleans. The Tigers will get another shot at knocking off an FBS opponent this year too. And a trip to Tulane will be easier than last year’s game against Arizona. 
Projected Postseason: Celebration Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.7 (27th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 280.5 (14, 1)
Total Offense: 484.2 (5, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.8 (6, 2)
Rushing Defense: 116.0 (15, 1)
Pass Defense: 211.2 (50, 2)
Total Defense: 327.2 (20, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.1 (3, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.50 (28, 2)
Sacks: 3.42 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (102, 8)
HERO Sports 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#106 Gregory White