5 Spring Football Questions
5 Interesting Questions Surrounding JSU’s Spring Football Practice?
1) Who are some of the top newcomers?
Without a doubt, Gamecock fans have every reason to be excited about linebacker Rashad Smith. The Panhandle Native was originally an NC State signee and has been turning heads in practice ever since he arrived.
Another player to watch for is Wide Receiver Rayce Whiddon, possibly the best of all the Whiddons to play at JSU. Rayce has speed and moves and will provide a new weapon for the Gamecocks.
Its not fair to call him a newcomer but a player to watch this year who has not played much in the past is Safety, Keginald Harris. Keggie is a playmaker that brings size to the Safety position. JSU really has some playmakers in the secondary with Harris and all-world talents, AJ Davis, and TJ Heath.
2) Who is the backup QB?
What once looked like a crowded spring at quarterback, is now painfully thin. Brooks Robinson moved to safety. Talented Alabama transfer Thomas Darrah is hurt. The job probably falls to Mike Whittier, who transferred in to JSU from South Dakota. The race to back up Ivory will get much more interesting in the Fall with the arrival of Coty Blanchard and Darrah recovering from shoulder surgery.
3) Will a Tailback Emerge?
Last year, it was tailback by committee with bruising Calvin Middleton and shifty Jamal Young sharing the workload. A name to watch is Richard Freelon. The Mississippi native set some records as a high school senior and is coming off a redshirt. Brandon George has apparently left the team.
4) Who will start at wide receiver?
The bad news for Coach Matt Wannebo is that JSU lost both starting wide receivers, Greg Smith and James Wilkerson. The good news is that there is a wealth of talent to replace them. Who will be the starter? Senior Jeff Cameron comes off a mid-career redshirt year. Cameron is known for his physicality and route running. Also, be on the lookout for James Shaw, a guy Coach Crowe has always described as a playmaker and it finally showed on the field last year. Shaw just seems to glide over the field picking up big yardage in the process. LaRay Williams is another talented receiver with big play potential. Last year, La Ray caught 15 passes for 270 yards.
While Cameron, Shaw and Williams have the experience, watch out for the young guns. As set forth above, Rayce Whiddon has turned heads with his athleticism since stepping on campus. Finally, don’t forget about Allen Bonner who had a tremendous freshman campaign. He is a playmaker. John Houston Whiddon is coming back from an injury and had a key play in last Saturday’s scrimmage. He has the experience and work ethic to make a difference this year.
5) Will the next Patrick Tatum please stand up?
From a need perspective, there might be no bigger loss than Patrick Tatum leaving the team. The Gamecocks must find a replacement. Rod Byrd is a leading candidate at punter. If he fills the job, JSU will have one of the most physical punters in the Country. As to kickers, FSU’s backup transferred to JSU and is expected to battle incoming freshman Joel Smith for the starting job.