Dover, Del. (Mar. 20, 2014) --- The Delaware State University football team will begin its annual spring camp on Friday. The first practice is set for 3:15 at Alumni Stadium. The camp will include 14 practice sessions, culminating in the Red/White scrimmage on Apr. 12. The Hornets will hold their Apr. 5 practice at Delcastle High School in Wilmington.
Delaware State fourth-year head coach Kermit Blount expects about 70 players to participate in this year's camp.
The Hornets are projecting a return of 17 starters from their 2013 squad, which tied for third place in the MEAC with a 5-3 league record. DSU was 5-6 overall against a schedule that included FCS National Champion North Dakota State and national runner-up Towson.
“Our young players gained a great deal experience against tough competition last season,” said Delaware State head coach Kermit Blount, who is 14-19 overall (11-13 MEAC) in three seasons with the Hornets. “This year’s spring camp is critical as we look to continue the progress of the last three seasons.”
Delaware State expects to return nine players with starting experience on offense, although there will be a new quarterback when the 2014 season begins.
Esayah Obado (r-so.) is the front-runner to replace 2013 starter Corey Murphy as the starting QB. Murphy was tops in the MEAC in passing at 209.7 yards per game (2,307 yards) last season.
Obado completed 21-of-40 passes for 168 yards in four games in 2013.
Delaware State expects to be deep at the receiver position next season.
Wide receiver Milton Williams III (sr.) was a 2013 All-MEAC and HSRN Black College First Team selection. Williams was tops in the MEAC in receptions (5.3 pg) and receiving yards (80.7 pg) last season. He had league highs of 58 catches for 888 yards, and was tied for second in the conference with five receiving touchdowns. The 58 receptions rank sixth-best for a season in DSU history. Williams had five 100-yard receiving games in 2013, including a career-best 179 vs. Morgan State in the season finale. He set a career-high with 10 receptions in the opener against Delaware.
Wideout Malik Golson (r-so.) was second in the MEAC in receptions at 5.0 per game (55 total rec.) and fifth in receiving yards per game at 47.0 per contest (517 yds.) in his first season on the active roster in 2013. He was also second to Williams on the team with four touchdown catches last season.
The Hornets will also have their top three rushers from last season in spring camp.
Dae-Hon Cheung (jr.) led the Hornets with 361 rushing yards on 83 carries in 2013 (4.2 ypc).Despite missing three games with an ankle injury Malcolm Williams (sr.) was second on the team with 208 yards rushing; while Nagee Jackson (jr.) rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns a year ago.
The Hornets expect to have more depth at offensive line this season. Four players who started the final game in 2013, along with several former starters will participate in this year’s spring drills.
Tackles Dimitri Hill (jr.) and Jerron Searles (jr.) along with guards Ernest Megoni (so.) and Clark McCready (jr.); and center Patrick Phillips (so.) are among the top returning offensive linemen.
Defensively, the Hornets hope to return eight starters next season, although two key players will sit out spring camp while nursing injuries.
Defensive end Rodney Gunter (sr.) was a 2013 All-MEAC First Team selection after recording 43 total tackles (21 solo), including 10.5 tackles-for-loss and a team-high 4.5 sacks.
Gunter will likely be joined on the front line by veterans Shubasz Gordon (sr.), Jamal Douglas (sr.), Frankie Glenn (jr.) and Tarique Anderson (jr.).
The linebacking corps must replace former All-MEAC selection Ernest Adjei, who was second on the Hornets with 79 tackles and led the team with 11 backfield stops in 2013.
Elbie Williams (sr.) and Alex Perry (sr.) are the top returning linebackers. Williams had 49 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks; while Perry tallied 36 tackles, including eight unassisted and three sacks.
The DSU secondary will be shorthanded this spring. Former All-MEAC defensive backs Davon Moore (sr.) and Terrick Colston (jr.) are expected to be sidelined during camp while recovering from injuries. Colston was the Hornets’ leader with 83 tackles last season.
Cornerback Ronald “J.R.” Robinson (jr.) was tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2013, while safety Cory Scott (sr.) had 60 tackles (fourth on the team); one interception, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble last season.
Placekicker Mitchell Ward (sr.) also returns. Ward was 16-for-19 on extra-point kicks and five-of-eight on field goal tries last season, including a game-winner as time expired against Howard.