#17 VMI FCS Football 2021 Preview

VMI Keydets
Overall Rank: #17
#1 SoCon
 VMI Logo
VMI was one of the best stories in the FCS in the spring. From 2015 to 2018 Coach Scott Wachenheim went 2-29 in Southern Conference play. In 2019 the Keydets managed to double that four year total and won four games. In the spring, VMI started the campaign with five straight victories before falling to ETSU by four points. They went to their first ever playoffs where they got a tough draw against James Madison but played very well and lost 31-24.
2020-21 Record: 6-2, 6-1
2020-21 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Scott Wachenheim (17-47 at VMI, 17-47 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Billy Cosh
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Clark
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Korey Bridy, RB, 344 yards
Passing: Seth Morgan, QB, 1,374 yards
Receiving: Jakob Herres, WR, 978 yards
Tackles: Stone Snyder, LB, 88          
Sacks: Stone Snyder, LB, 8.0
Interceptions: Ethan Caselberry, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Rashad Raymond, WR Michael Jackson, WR Max Brimigion, WR Chance Knox, OL Marshall Gill, OL Nick Hartnett
Key Losses: QB Reece Udinski, DL Jordan Ward, DB Josh Sarratt, LB Connor Riddle, DB A.J. Smith, LB Tyren Cloyd
Quarterback Seth Morgan started the last four games in the spring after VMI’s all-time leading passer Reece Udinski went down with an injury. On the year, Morgan threw for 1,374 yards and touchdowns with just four interceptions. With Udinski gone, this is Morgan’s team now and that experience from last season will immediately pay dividends. Jacob Herres leads a deep group of receivers. In eight games, Herres caught 80 passes for 978 yards and eight touchdowns and earned a variety of All-American honors for his efforts. Michael Jackson, Max Brimigion, Chance Knox and Leroy Thomas are all back too after catching at least 25 passes in the spring. The potent air attack will do most of the damage, but Korey Bridy and Rashad Raymond will take advantage of their opportunities on the ground.
The defense will again revolve around linebacker and SoCon Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Stone Snyder. Last season he led the Keydets with 88 tackles and 8.0 sacks. Coach Wachenheim will need to fill in the other linebacker spots around Snyder but he is a great piece to build around. The defensive line has Warren Dabney, who recorded 2.0 sacks and the secondary boasts playmaker Ethan Caselberry who picked off two passes from his spur position.
The Bottom Line:
The defense is going to be tested with a few key players that need to be replaced. If VMI can find the right pieces to fit around their stars, the VMI defense will be able to do enough to give the offense an opportunity to win games. And the offense should be one of the most potent in the nation. Coach Wachenheim should have some time to work out their defensive issues before they play their biggest SoCon games; an October 9th home date against Chattanooga and a November 6th trip to ETSU.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.2 (67th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 309.4 (9, 2)
Total Offense: 427.6 (17, 2)
Scoring Offense: 29.2 (20, 2)
Rushing Defense: 168.2 (65, 5)
Pass Defense: 197.9 (51, 6)
Total Defense: 366.1 (55, 6)
Scoring Defense: 21.8 (33, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (44, 5)
Sacks: 3.25 (12, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.25 (62, 7)