#25 The Citadel FCS Football 2019 Preview

The Citadel Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #25
#4 SoCon
 Citadel Logo
After back-to-back 5-6 seasons, The Citadel will hope to return to their former glory in 2019. With ten starters back on offense and seven on defense, this group now has the experience to make a serious push towards the top of the Southern Conference standings.
2018 Record: 5-6, 4-4
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Brent Thompson (20-14 at Citadel, 20-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Lou Conte
Defensive Coordinator: Tony Grantham
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brandon Rainey, QB, 529 yards
Passing: Brandon Rainey, QB, 168 yards
Receiving: Raleigh Webb, WR, 385 yards
Tackles: Willie Eubanks, LB, 80
Sacks: Willie Eubanks, LB, 4.5
Interceptions: Willie Eubanks, LB, 2; Jay Howard, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Clay Harris, DB Chris Beverly, DL Joseph Randolph, P Matthew Campbell
Key Losses: RB Lorenzo Ward, RB Grant Drakeford, QB Jordan Black, OL Tyler Davis, DB Aron Spann, LB Noah Dawkins, DL Mason Kinsey, DB Khafari Buffalo, LB Russell Hubbs
Jordan Black is gone after throwing for 753 yards and running for 467 more. In total he accounted for 13 touchdowns. However, Brandon Rainey played in the last four games last season and The Citadel won three of those four games, with the only loss coming against Alabama. He has proven that he can run this triple option offense. Clay Harris is the top returning back, but the Bulldogs also welcome Remus Bulmer, a graduate transfer from Sam Houston State who has over 2,000 career rushing yards. With a very experienced offensive line, do not be surprised if this group rushes for well over 300 yards per game.
The defense was solid last season, but there is room for improvement. This unit relies heavily on the offense to win the time of possession battle and all they need to do is create a few turnovers while the opposition tries to make the most out of every time they actually have the ball. Linebacker Willie Eubanks is the star of the group after tallying 80 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season. However, there are some holes to fill in the rest of the linebacker corps. Joseph Randolph will anchor the line and tallied 4.0 sacks and a team high 14.0 tackles-for-loss in 2018. The secondary has a playmaker in Jay Howard and an experienced Phil Barrett returning. As long as the pass rush is strong again, which it should be, the secondary will have opportunities to make some big plays.
The Bottom Line:
The Bulldogs again have a very tough schedule to start their season. This time around they host Towson before traveling to Elon and Georgia Tech. That could easily lead to a 0-3 start and then Coach Brent Thompson’s team will have a very tough time earning an at-large bid. The SoCon is going to be a grind yet again and there really are no easy games in this conference. The toughest contests should be at Furman on October 19th, at Chattanooga on November 16th and against Wofford to close out the regular season. If the Bulldogs can make it to the last two weeks of the season with one or two conference losses, they should at least have the opportunity to win the conference.
Projected Postseason: None
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 283.6 (9th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 83.7 (122, 9)
Total Offense: 367.4 (74, 6)
Scoring Offense: 29.8 (43, 4)
Rushing Defense: 142.2 (33, 3)
Pass Defense: 253.2 (106, 7)
Total Defense: 395.4 (71, 5)
Scoring Defense: 30.3 (76, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.18 (41, 2)
Sacks: 2.82 (22, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.82 (9, 2)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#211 Hasan Black
#270 Dewey Greene