#19 Furman FCS Football 2019 Preview

Furman Paladins
Overall Rank: #19
#3 SoCon
 Furman Logo
After starting the 2018 season 0-3, Furman played well down during the rest of the campaign. It was not enough to make a serious push for their second straight trip to the playoffs, but it was enough to build some momentum heading into 2019.
2018 Record: 6-4, 6-2
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Clay Hendrix (14-9 at Furman, 14-9 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: George Quarles
Defensive Coordinator: Duane Vaughn
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Devin Wynn, RB, 722 yards
Passing: Darren Grainger, QB, 181 yards
Receiving: Thomas Gordon, WR, 430 yards
Tackles: Elijah McKoy, LB, 91
Sacks: Adrian Hope, LB, 15.0
Interceptions: Elijah McKoy, LB, 1; Patrick Wells, S, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Corey Watkins, OL Bo Layton, OL Andy Godwin, LB Jordan Willis, LB Donavan Perryman, S Bryan Okeh, CB Quandarius Weems, K Grayson Atkins
Key Losses: QB Harris Roberts, WR Cam Burnette, DB Aaquil Annoor, DL Jaylan Reid
Eight starters are back on offense, but they will need to find a new quarterback to replace Harris Roberts. Darren Grainger and Hamp Sisson played a little bit last season and Jack Hardin will be in the mix as well. Whoever ends up under center will have some talent around them to work with and that should help ease the transition. Devin Wynn and Corey Watkins form a quality running back duo and Thomas Gordon leads a decent group of pass catchers. As is often the case with option offenses, the key will be the quarterback though. If somebody is ready to run the offense, the pieces are there for a very good offense.
The defense has a lot of very talented playmakers. Adrian Hope led the FCS with 15.0 sacks and that was as a freshman. The opposition may focus more on Hope this season, but with Jonah Tibbs, Matt Sochovka, Alec Hanff and Dru Seabrook manning the defensive front line, Furman will find a way to get to the quarterback. Elijah McKoy, Jordan Willis and Donavan Perryman are all back and were the team’s top three tacklers last season. To say the linebackers have experience would be an understatement. The pass defense was not strong last season, but this is a more experienced group in 2019. Cornerbacks Quandarius Weems and Amir Trapper are experienced seniors and Bryan Okeh tallied 55 tackles at safety. If that experience starts to turn into more consistency, the defense could take a nice step forward.
The Bottom Line:
Furman has a good chance of making the playoffs in 2019. It is a talented group that has the potential to win the SoCon if they can find a quarterback. That is a big question though. Early trips to Georgia State and Virginia Tech could put the Paladins at 1-2 and that gives them little margin for error in a tough SoCon.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.8 (27th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 149.4 (112, 7)
Total Offense: 353.2 (80, 8)
Scoring Offense: 27.2 (64, 6)
Rushing Defense: 157.8 (46, 4)
Pass Defense: 250.7 (105, 6)
Total Defense: 408.5 (75, 6)
Scoring Defense: 28.2 (61, 5)
Turnover Margin: -0.20 (75, 7)
Sacks: 2.70 (31, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (62, 5)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#51 Evan Junper
#80 Jack Barton
#107 Joshua Agbenou
#157 Devonte Jones
#186 Austin Jones
#216 Bryce McCormick
#241 Pearson Toomey