#32 Furman FCS Football 2020 Preview

Furman Paladins
Overall Rank: #32
#3 SoCon
 Furman Logo
Furman has turned into quite a predictable team under Coach Clay Hendrix. They always lose two non-conference games, last year it was at Georgia State and Virginia Tech, and then they lose a couple conference games. In 2017 that was enough to get the Paladins into the playoffs so that type of predictability is certainly not a bad thing. However, in 2019 Furman went to Austin Peay in the first round and got absolutely crushed 42-6. That was not a great way to end the season, but the expectations remain the same for Furman. They will hope to finish 6-2 in conference play yet again and hope that is enough to reach the playoffs.
2019 Record: 8-5, 6-2
2019 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Clay Hendrix (22-14 at Furman, 22-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: George Quarles
Defensive Coordinator: Duane Vaughn
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Devin Wynn, RB, 1,182 yards
Passing: Darren Grainger, QB, 1,222 yards
Receiving: Ryan DeLuca, WR, 288 yards
Tackles: Braden Gilby, LB, 70
Sacks: Adrian Hope, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: 3 tied with 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Devin Abrams, RB Corey Watkins, QB Hamp Sisson, TE Ryan Miller, OL Jordan Harris, LB Elijah McKoy, CB Travis Blackshear
Key Losses: WR Thomas Gordon, OL Bo Layton, LB Jordan Willis, LB Donavan Perryman, DB Bryan Okeh, K/P Grayson Atkins
Coach Hendrix threw a couple freshmen quarterbacks into the fire last year and they at least showed plenty of hope for the future. Darren Grainger was the more productive of the duo, throwing for 1,222 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hamp Sisson proved to be much more accurate, but only accounted for three touchdowns to go along with his three interceptions. While the experience under center will be beneficial, losing Thomas Gordon will not be. Gordon easily led the team with 48 receptions for 776 yards and five scores. Nobody else had more than 19 catches. Ryan DeLuca and tight end Ryan Miller are the experienced options that will be asked to step into a larger role in 2020. The ground game can carry this team though. Devin Wynn rushed for 1,182 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and he is ready for a big senior season. Devin Abrams and Corey Watkins are capable rushers as well and combined to gain over 1,000 yards as well.
Furman boasted the best defense in the SoCon last year, allowing a mere 20.5 points per game. That could prove difficult to replicate though without linebackers Jordan Willis and Donavan Perryman and safety Bryan Okeh. Braden Gilby figures to emerge as the team’s leader in the middle of the defense after tallying 70 tackles as a freshman. Senior Elijah McKoy added 64 tackles and will again play in the bandit position, while Adrian Hope led the team with 6.5 sacks from his linebacker position. With Hope and end Dru Seabrook leading the charge, the Paladins should be able to get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. That will make life easier for a pass defense that ranked sixth in the FCS by allowing just 167.4 yards per game.
The Bottom Line:
Furman has consistently been on the playoff bubble lately and that should be the story again this season. The Paladins have fewer questions under center, so the offense could turn into a much more dangerous and balanced unit. The defense though could take a step back. In the end, it will likely balance out into another solid Paladins team that can keep their playoffs hope alive into the heart of Southern Conference play.
Projected Postseason: None
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 265.7 (7th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 144.6 (114, 7)
Total Offense: 410.3 (40, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.5 (23, 1)
Rushing Defense: 177.4 (81, 3)
Pass Defense: 167.4 (6, 1)
Total Defense: 344.8 (25, 2)
Scoring Defense: 20.5 (14, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.38 (33, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (67, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.46 (22, 3)
Madness 2020 Recruit Rankings:
77Evan DiMaggioLBNANABuford, GAFCS Football
96Dylan DavisOLNANABradenton, FLFCS Football
115Bailor HughesWRNANAPowell, TNFCS Football
121E.J. WilsonOLNANAXenia, OHFCS Football
133Ivan YatesDBNANARoswell, GAFCS Football
181Jack RhodesWRNANAAlpharetta, GAFCS Football
182Micah RobinsonDBNANAAtlanta, GAFCS Football
185Blake HundleyOLNANAClarksville, TNFCS Football
192Jeremiah JacksonDLNANAFleming Island, FLFCS Football
204Luke ClarkDLNANACrestwood, KYFCS Football
277Ty YoungbloodLBNANAGreeneville, TNFCS Football