Thursday, June 1, 2017
Bilo's 2017 College Football Preview: Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had a major run in 2016, finishing the season at 11-1 overall with a 9-0 run and conference championship in the Centennial Conference with a one game lead over Muhlenberg. After a 41-21 first round win over Randolph-Macon, the Blue Jays ran into perennial D3 power house Mount Union, where their season ended on their only loss in a well fought 28-21 loss to the Purple Raiders. There are some questions to answer as we head into the fall if the Blue Jays wish to repeat their magical 2016 run, however, and they start on offense.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
Senior RB Ryan Cary is scheduled to return after rushing for a team leading 958 yards last season. Cary scored a team leading 14 times last fall, or just better than 50% of the total team TDs. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 85.7 yards rushing per game, and caught an additional 41 passes for 518 yards and four scores. He finished as the third leading receiver on the football team. WR Dane Rogerson also managed to carry the football for 47 rushes last fall, and returns as a sophomore in 2017.
The line should have a solid foundation this fall, as 14 total linemen who were on the roster a year ago will all return.
Jamie Sullivan will return at PK, but Nick Campbell, who he shared time with, is gone. Sullivan hit 9/12 FG attempts on the season, while Campbell was 5/7.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Jonathan Germano is gone at QB, leaving not only a gaping hole in the passing game, where he passed for 3593 yards and 33 TDs last fall, but he also was the second leading rusher on the team with 430 yards and six scores. Zack Baker will likely line up as the starter this fall, if he can win the job in fall camp. David Tammaro will likely put up a fight for the job himself.
Finding some RB depth behind Cary will be a huge task in fall camp as well, as Germano was the second leading rusher, and a receiver by trade, Rogerson, is the third option.
The Blue Jays also lose their two top receivers in Bradley Munday and Quinn Donaldson. Luke McFadden and Brett Caggiano both return, but will have to step up their roles after combining for 66 receptions last fall. Boone Lewis, Jr., who caught 33 passes last fall, is also gone. With their primary receiving losses, the Blue Jays lose 164 receptions in productivity, and that is a huge hit on the offense.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
There is depth at DE, where Wes Branter, Tommy Burke, and Stephen Adams all return. Hayden Good adds a fourth DE to give the Blue Jays a shot at a decent rotation on the edge. Arman Koul was a freshman last fall, and could also figure in. The middle of the line has solid depth as well, with four returnees back to fill the middle.
Depth is solid at CB, where as many as eight players return from the 2016 roster. Jack Toner, who finished with eight picks, is gone, but MIchael Curry, who finished with five, returns.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
LB and leading tackler Jack Campbell has departed after a 101 tackle season in 2016. He added 3.5 TFLs, and was a leading force in the front seven. Garrett Spek, who was the second leading tackler and a fellow LB, is also gone.
Direct depth at Safety has thinned out with Pat Runger being gone, but there are a ton of candidates returning who can be flexible and line up almost anywhere.
Brandon Hong-Domingues returns at Punter, but averaged just 36.3 yards per punt, creating an area of concern. Having someone to push him would be helpful in fall camp.
2017 Schedule: 9/1 at Washington & Lee, 9/9 Susquehanna, 9/16 Moravian, 9/23 at Dickinson, 9/30 at Ursinus, 10/7 Franklin & Marshall, 10/20 Gettysburg, 10/28 at Muhlenberg, 11/4 Juniata, 11/11 at McDaniel
The lone non conference match is a tough one on the road at Washington & Lee. With questions at so many key spots, it is hard to see the Blue Jays cruising through the schedule with as much ease as they tended to show last fall, but the schedule, other than a tough opener, could be manageable. The game against Muhlenberg is on the road late, and that is a key game to watch. Susquehanna is at home in Baltimore, which is key, as is the game against Franklin & Marshall. The Blue Jays may very well win the Centennial Conference again in 2017, and should be the favorite, but it just may not be as easy this time around.