Dover, Del. (Apr. 11, 2019) --- The Delaware State football team is putting the finishing touches on preparations for the annual Red / White scrimmage to mark the end of spring practice.
The offense vs. defense scrimmage is set for Friday evening (Apr. 12) at Alumni Stadium.
“Overall, I’ve been impressed with our focus throughout camp,” said second year head coach Rod Milstead, who led the team to a 3-8 overall record in his first season at the helm in 2018. The three wins were the most by the Hornets since 2013. “Everyone’s on notice that all starting positions are up for grabs, so there’s been a strong sense of urgency throughout camp.”
The Hornets have operated with two quarterbacks throughout spring camp. Shayne Smith (jr.; 6-1, 200) completed 16-of-19 passes (84.2%) for 212 yards and three touchdowns in the Hornets’ 41-7 victory over Virginia Lynchburg in his lone career start in the 2018 finale. He also rushed for 47 yards on seven carries in the contest.
Former New York high school star and true freshman Tylik Bethea will also complete in spring drills after enrolling at DSU this semester. The 6-5, 195-pounder completed 132-of-224 passes (58.9%) for 1,500 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions as a senior at Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School in 2018. He helped lead Lincoln to two wins in the 2018 New York City Public League Playoffs.
“I’m pleased with how Shayne and Tylik have performed this spring,” said Milstead. “Each has shown signs he can lead the team this season.
Bryant Dallas (sr.; 5-8, 205) is the top returning runner with 349 yards and one touchdown on 72 carries in 2018. Dallas rushed for 308 yards in the last six games, averaging 5.0 yards per carry during the span.
Michael Chris-Ike (r-fr.) rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns in four games as a true freshman in 2018. He was named MEAC Rookie-of-the-Week after tallying 127 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown, in the Hornets’ 28-13 win over North Carolina Central.
Delaware State's running game is also expected to be bolstered by the return of Mike Waters, who was limited to five games due to injury in 2018. Waters rushed for 107 yards vs. St. Francis (Pa.) last season and ran for a DSU freshman record 820 yards as a freshman in 2016.
The Hornets are expected to have their entire starting offensive line, including 2018 All-MEAC Third Team picks Kaiden Crawford (jr.) and Liki Seu (jr.), along with top reserves available for spring camp. In addition, center Cade Pedro, a 2018 Preseason All-MEAC Second Team selection, may also participate after sitting out last season due to injury.
DSU’s 2019 receiving corps is led by wideouts Trey Gross (jr.) and Kwannah Kollie (jr.), who ranked second and third on the team in total catches last season. Gross was has 31 receptions for team-highs 480 yards and four touchdowns, while Kollie hauled in 17 passes for 168 yards and a score in 2018.
Hornet tight end Isaiah Williams (sr.) also returns after catching 12 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown last season.
Senior inside linebacker Brian Cavicante, a 2018 All-MEAC First Team selection, headlines the Hornet defense. Cavicante was second in the league in total tackles (89) and third in tackles per game (8.1) last season. In addition, he was second in the conference with 17 tackles-for-loss and tied for third with 50 unassisted tackles. He was selected as the MEAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week after recording 12 tackles (eight unassisted), including five behind the line-of-scrimmage, and a fumble return for a touchdown vs. St. Francis on Sep. 8
Safety Jahad Neibauer (sr.), was a 2018 All-MEAC Third Team selection, was second on the Hornets and tied for 14th in the league 0in tackles at 6.4 per game (70 total) during the 2018 season. He was also tied for eighth in the conference with 10 tackles for loss (7 break-ups + 3 interceptions). Neibauer shared MEAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors for his performance against Savannah State on Nov. 3, which included an interception and 30-yard return, a sack in the endzone for a safety and five solo tackles.
Devin Smith (sr.) also returns to the secondary after tying for third on the Hornets with 55 tackles each in 2018. Smith also had six tackles-for-loss, to go along with five pass break-ups and a forced fumble in ‘18.
David Bowman (so.), a former Milford High School star, had 49 tackles as a true freshman last season. Linebacker Alex Lozano (jr.) tallied 46 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and two blocked kicks in 2018.
Christian Johnson (r-sr.) is the Hornets’ top returning defensive lineman. He had 33 total tackles, including 5.5 in the opponents’ backfield, last season.
Placekicker Jose Romo-Martinez (r.-so.) connected on eight of 11 field goal attempts (72.7%) and was perfect on 20 extra-point kicks in 2018. He also averaged 41.8 yards on 27 punts (long 63) as a fill-in last season.
His brother, punter Fidel Romo-Martinez (sr.), a 2017 All-MEAC Second Team and FCS All-America candidate, averaged 41.3 yards on 38 kicks (long 70) before missing the last five games due to injury. He was fourth in the nation with a 44.8 yard average in 2017.