#10 Sam Houston State 2018 FCS Football Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats
Overall Rank: #10
#1 Southland
 Sam Houston State Logo
Sam Houston State has made the semifinals five times in the last seven seasons. That is impressive. Coach K.C. Keeler has been responsible for three of those appearances over the last four years. Last season the Bearkats lost in September at Central Arkansas and did not lose again until they went to Fargo and lost to North Dakota State 55-13 in the semifinals. It would not be a surprise if they were back in the semifinals or beyond in 2018.
2017 Record: 12-2, 8-1
2017 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: K.C. Keeler (46-12 at Sam Houston State, 220-85-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Carty
Defensive Coordinator: Clayton Carlin
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Remus Bulmer, RB, 702 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Nathan Stewart, WR, 1,648 yards
Tackles: Hunter Brown, LB, 100
Sacks: Chris Stewart, DL, 13.0
Interceptions: Zyon McCollum, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Davion Davis, OL Eric David, S Adrian Conteras, DB Darius Mouton, DB Jaylen Thomas, S Royce See, DE Derick Roberson
Key Losses: RB Corey Avery, QB Jeremiah Briscoe, WR Yedidiah Louis, TE Ragan Henderson, LB Justin Johnson, S Josh Price, DL P.J. Hall
Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe is gone after a stellar collegiate career. Mike Dare will take over the offense after a couple years at Rutgers and Lackawanna College. He proved to be very effective at the junior college level, but this will be a whole new ball game. But Dare will have a lot of talent to work with. Receivers Nathan Stewart and Davion Davis are back after tallying 2,854 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. Those two can make any quarterback look good. The Bearkats will do most of their damage through the air, but this team can run the ball too. Corey Avery is gone, but Remus Bulmer is an experienced senior who is ready to take over the top running back role. With a strong offensive line, this should be one of the best offenses in the country even if Dare fails to be as prolific as Briscoe.
SHSU did not put up good defensive numbers last season, but they are always a threat thanks to a very good pass rush. This time around it will be Chris Stewart who leads the line. He recorded 13.0 sacks in 2017 and fellow end Derick Roberson added 5.0. Hunter Brown will lead the linebackers after tallying 100 tackles, but the Bearkats do need to find some new faces to fill in around him. The secondary has the most experience. Safety Adrian Conteras is a big time playmaker and Darius Mouton is a fine cornerback. Zyon McCollum, Jaylen Thomas and Royce See are all experienced players in the secondary as well and this group has a lot of potential. With a consistent pass rush, there are reasonable expectations that Sam Houston State could see vast improvement in the pass defense.
The Bottom Line:
The Bearkats will be tested early. After an opener against Prairie View A&M, the Bearkats will face North Dakota and, arguably, their toughest two conference games against Nicholls and Central Arkansas. If SHSU can start 4-0, they may not lose until deep into the playoffs.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 175.4 (37th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 362.7 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 538.1 (1, 1)
Scoring Offense: 43.3 (1, 1)
Rushing Defense: 201.0 (102, 9)
Pass Defense: 252.3 (103, 9)
Total Defense: 453.3 (110, 9)
Scoring Defense: 31.2 (99, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.14 (77, 7)
Sacks: 2.50 (32, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.14 (19, 2)
HERO Sports 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#51 Jeremy Fowler
#110 Randell Turner