#20 Southeastern Louisiana FCS Football 2020 Preview

Southeastern Louisiana Lions
Overall Rank: #20
#2 Southland
 Southeastern Louisiana Logo
After a five year absence, Southeastern Louisiana returned to the playoffs in 2019. Once there the Lions won a 45-44 thriller over Villanova in the first round before giving up 73 points against Montana in round two. They can forget about that second round defeat and look to build off what was a very good season.
2019 Record: 8-5, 6-3
2019 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Frank Scelfo (12-12 at Southeastern Louisiana, 12-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Stevens
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Lachney
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Taron Jones, RB, 358 yards
Passing: Cole Kelley, QB, 816 yards
Receiving: CJ Turner, WR, 963 yards
Tackles: Alexis Ramos, LB, 80
Sacks: Josh Carr Jr, DL, 6.0; Alexis Ramos, LB, 6.0
Interceptions: Ferlando Jordan, DB, 5
Other Key Returnees: WR Austin Mitchell, WE Javon Conner, LB Trae Drake, DL Ronald Cherry III
Key Losses: RB Devonte Williams, QB Chason Virgil, TE Bransen Schwebel, OL Pat Allen, OL Jarius Gooch, DL Isaac Adeyemi- Berglund, DB Tre’ Spann, DB Xavier Lewis, DB Dejion Lynch, DB Shawntrez Spates, DB Dontrell Smith
Quarterback Chason Virgil is gone after throwing for 3,791 yards and 25 touchdowns, but Cole Kelley is back. Kelley led the Lions to a 34-0 victory over then sixth ranked Central Arkansas. During that game he rushed for four scores. On the year Kelley threw for 816 yards and ten touchdowns with an impressive 74.2 completion percentage. He added ten total scores on the ground as well. With some transfers at the quarterback position as well, SELA could utilize Kelley in a similar way as last season. But whoever is throwing the ball will have some very talented weapons to work with in 2020. CJ Turner, Austin Mitchell and Javon Conner all caught at least 57 passes last season and combined for 22 receiving touchdowns. The Lions did not run the ball too often last year, but Devonte Williams was still a big part of the offense. With him gone, Taron Jones will look to step into that role.
The defense was pretty good against the run last year and pretty good at getting to the quarterback as well. That should be the strong point again with the front line returning Josh Carr and Ronald Cherry III. Linebacker Alexis Ramos should again be the leader of the defense after recording a team high 80 tackles, including 6.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss. Trae Drake is developing into a solid option beside Ramos and should be in for a big junior campaign. Outside of Ferlando Jordan, who recorded five interceptions, the secondary needs to be nearly completely rebuilt. And after allowing 291.3 yards per game through the air last year, it may not be a terrible thing in the long run.
The Bottom Line:
The Southland slate is back heavy. A Halloween home date with Houston Baptist could prove tricky, but the toughest games could be the last two when Southeastern Louisiana hosts Central Arkansas and travels to Nicholls. Those contests will likely decide the Southland winner and have a big impact on the playoffs as well.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 130.5 (87th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 354.4 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 484.8 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.6 (12, 1)
Rushing Defense: 123.0 (21, 3)
Pass Defense: 291.3 (118, 9)
Total Defense: 414.3 (85, 7)
Scoring Defense: 29.4 (77, 6)
Turnover Margin: -0.38 (87, 7)
Sacks: 3.15 (8, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (44, 1)
Madness 2020 Recruit Rankings:
#106 Kevin Bickham
#136 Jacoby Wells
#191 TaQuan Thomas