#41 Davidson FCS Football 2021 Preview

Davidson Wildcats
Overall Rank: #41
#2 Pioneer
 Davidson Logo
Davidson was one of the feel-good stories of a difficult spring season in the FCS. The Wildcats lost their non-conference opener at Elon 26-23, and then reeled off four Pioneer wins in a row. That included a huge road win over perennial Pioneer powerhouse San Diego. That was the programs first ever FCS playoff appearance. Now they will be looking to do it again.
2020-21 Record: 4-3, 4-1
2020-21 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Scott Abell (14-9 at Davidson, 53-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Vince Munch
Defensive Coordinator: Jon Berlin
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dylan Sparks, RB, 596 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Jalen Staples, WR, 222 yards
Tackles: Jalen Jefferson, LB, 44        
Sacks: Jonathan Hammond, DL, 4.0
Interceptions: Jonathan Hammond, DL, 1; Jalen Jefferson, LB, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Coy Williams, WR Eli Turner, TE Jackson Sherrard, OL Khalil Miller, OL Cole Foley, LB Jake Alexander, CB Kaedon Jenkins, S Dreylan Hines, K Caden Bonoffski
Key Losses: QB Tyler Phelps, WR Satchel Moore, OL Will Berkey, OL Gordon Sandorf, CB Jaylon Bolden
The Wildcats boasted the FCS’ best rushing offense, tallying 280 yards per game on the ground. Dylan Sparks and Coy Williams were the workhorses on the ground. Sparks tallied 126 carries for 596 yards and four scores, while Williams added 524 yards on 102 carries with seven touchdowns. Sprinkle in some carries for slot receiver Eli Turner and this is a dangerous ground game. Having a quarterback that can stretch the field will be important though and Coach Scott Abell needs to replace Tyler Phelps. Louis Colsimo has the most experience after serving as a backup in 2019 and, unlike in 2020, made a few appearances. The return of top receiver Jalen Staples and Turner should help ease the quarterback transition.
The defense was less impressive during the spring, but they usually did enough, especially when it came to forcing turnovers. In total Davidson forced 13 turnovers in seven games. Jonathan Hammond played a big role in that, forcing and recovering two fumbles. He also led the team with 4.0 sacks, but he will need some help along the line when it comes to getting into the backfield. Jalen Jefferson led in tackles with 44 and fellow linebacker Jake Alexander earned First-Team All-Pioneer honors. The secondary has a big loss with Jaylon Bolden, but Kaedon Jenkins is ready to be the top cornerback and safety Dreylan Hines was an All-Freshman honoree in 2018 and has been a regular starter since then.
The Bottom Line:
There are some holes to fill for this team, but the feeling is that the Wildcats are here to stay and will consistently compete with San Diego for the top spot in the Pioneer. If the offense keeps running like they did last season and the defense can continue to create turnovers, there is no reason for this group to take a step back. But even if that is the case, the conference title still goes through San Diego.
Projected Postseason:  None
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 280.0 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 96.6 (92, 7)
Total Offense: 376.6 (31, 1)
Scoring Offense: 26.1 (31, 1)
Rushing Defense: 144.7 (47, 4)
Pass Defense: 226.7 (66, 7)
Total Defense: 371.4 (58, 5)
Scoring Defense: 27.7 (63, 5)
Turnover Margin: 1.14 (7, 1)
Sacks: 1.43 (73, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 0.14 (2, 1)