Dover, Del. (Apr. 8, 2017) – Delaware State’s defense took advantage of a short-handed offense to gain the upper hand in the Hornets’ Red/White scrimmage at Alumni Stadium this afternoon. The situational offense vs. defense scrimmage marked the end of DSU’s 15-session spring camp.
On the first series of plays in the scrimmage, linebacker Malik Harris scooped up a fumble on a mishandled snap by the offense and scampered 25 yards to the endzone to set the tone for the defense.
The defense also recorded two interceptions, including one on a leaping one-handed grab by outside linebacker Kameron Rogers.
The Hornet offense scrimmaged without projected 2017 starters Mike Waters (RB) receivers Mason Rutherford and Fatu Sua-Godinet, along with tackle Joshua Fala.
Waters, a 2016 Hero College Sports News FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Freshman All-America and All-MEAC Third Team selection, was tops on the Hornets and third in the MEAC in rushing at 74.5 yards per game in 2016. He rushed for a DSU freshman record 820 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season.
Rutherford, also a 2016 All-MEAC Third Team honoree, led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season.
Despite the missing players and lack of depth along the front line, the offense had some success in the scrimmage, particularly the connection between quarterback Keenan Black and tight end Isaiah Williams.
“I think we made progress throughout camp, but there’s a lot we need to work on,” said Black, a sophomore who took the majority of snaps this spring. “We certainly missed some key guys on offense, but the defense put a lot of pressure on us today.”
Black is expected to battle with Shayne Smith, along with incoming freshmen Jack McDaniel (Lorton, Va.) and Nasir Boykins (Phila., Pa.) for the starting quarterback spot when summer camp begins in August.
“All I can do is continue to study, work out and develop even better chemistry with our receivers to prepare for summer camp,” Black said.
Although the Hornet defense will enter summer camp with an experience advantage over the offense, junior nose tackle Jacob Jones believes the unit is still in its growing stages.
“We had a lot of guys in new positions last year, so spring camp gave us a chance to gain more experience as a group,” said Jones, who is expected to join sophomores Ulises De Los Santos and Damon Atwater-Stephens, along with Towson University transfer Caleb Hebron to potentially give the Hornets a formidable defensive line this fall.
Delaware State kicks off the 2017 season on Aug. 31 at Delaware. The home opener is Sep. 23 against Norfolk State.