#22 Nicholls FCS Football 2020 Preview

Nicholls Colonels
Overall Rank: #22
#3 Southland
Nicholls Logo
Nicholls has been to the playoffs three years in a row. For the last two seasons, the Colonels have won in the first round before running into a powerhouse in the second round. It was Eastern Washington two years ago and North Dakota State last season. Nicholls performed admirably in those contests and now they will hope to take the next step and make a deeper playoff run.
2019 Record: 9-5, 7-2
2019 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Tim Rebowe (34-27 at Nicholls, 34-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Christophel
Defensive Coordinator: Tommy Rybacki
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Julien Gums, RB, 1,232 yards
Passing: Kohen Granier, QB, 18 yards
Receiving: Dai’Jean Dixon, WR, 1,044 yards
Tackles: Kevin Moore III, DB, 112
Sacks: Aquindas Steib, LB, 2.5
Interceptions: Kevin Moore III, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR K.J. Franklin, OL P.J. Burkhalter, DB Darren Evans, DB Jarius Monroe, DB Jordan Jackson
Key Losses: RB Kendall Bussey, QB Chase Fourcade, WR Dion Ray, OL Bradston Burnside, DL Sully Laiche, LB Laryon James, DB Khristian Mims, LB Allen Pittman
Making that playoff run will be difficult without Chase Fourcade under center. He ranks first all-time in school history in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards, total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and completion percentage. Kohen Granier was the backup last year, making five appearances and throwing six passes. The Colonels also welcome in the well-traveled Lindsey Scott. Between stints at LSU and Missouri where he did not play, Scott led East Mississippi Community College to the NJCAA national championship. He has the talent to help fans get over the loss of Fourcade in a hurry. With Dai’Jean Dixon, who caught 54 passes for 1,044 yards and eight scores, leading an experienced group of receivers, the passing game should be in good shape. The ground game is in good shape too thanks to Julien Gums. Gums tallied 1,232 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns last season and the bruising junior can carry more of the offensive load if Nicholls needs him to do so.
The defense was pretty good last season, but there were certainly areas for improvement. With many key pieces gone from the front seven though, there will be some rebuilding to do. Aquindas Steib is a solid playmaker at linebacker and youngsters like Elijah Reames should be ready to step into larger roles on the line. Safety Kevin Moore III tallied an impressive 112 tackles and a team high two interceptions. That inability to create turnovers was a big problem. The hope is the experience of Darren Evans, Jarius Monroe and Jordan Jackson will help the secondary create more turnovers in 2020.
The Bottom Line:
If Nicholls is going to reach their fourth straight playoffs, they will have to earn it. The schedule is pretty tough with early conference games against Sam Houston State and Central Arkansas. A couple wins there and the Colonels would be well on their way to a Southland title. If they lose those two, even reaching the playoffs could prove difficult.
Projected Postseason: None
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 197.1 (25th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 214.1 (65, 10)
Total Offense: 411.1 (38, 6)
Scoring Offense: 27.9 (55, 6)
Rushing Defense: 143.3 (40, 5)
Pass Defense: 262.8 (108, 6)
Total Defense: 406.1 (79, 5)
Scoring Defense: 27.2 (56, 4)
Turnover Margin: -0.43 (92, 10)
Sacks: 2.00 (67, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.21 (66, 3)
Madness 2020 Recruit Rankings:
#4 Shamar Smith
#86 Quinton Cage
#220 Tyreke Boyd