Dover, Del. (Apr. 5, 2017) --- The Delaware State football team will close out its 2017 spring camp with the annual Red/White scrimmage at Alumni Stadium this Saturday. .
The Hornets will conduct their pre-game routine and a series of drills around 2 p.m. before beginning the full contact offense vs. defense scrimmage. The scrimmage is expected to feature a series of plays and packages designed for short yardage, third down, two-minute, goal line and other game situations. Some special teams situations will also be featured.
Regular game officials will be on hand to make calls and discuss new rules and points of emphasis for the upcoming season to the players and coaches during and after the scrimmage.
Sophomore quarterback Keenan Black has taken the majority of snaps this spring. Black saw limited action under center as a true freshman in 2016. He did not attempt a pass, but had five carries for 13 yards (long 7), two receptions for 13 yards (long 11) and a 14-yard punt return as a multi-purpose player last season. During his scholastic career at Concord (N.C.) High School, Black was his conference’s Offensive Player-of-the Year as a senior. That season, he completed 174-of-290 passes (60%) for 2,570 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushed for 483 yards and 10 scores on 123 carries.
Shane Smith (r-fr.) has also quarterbacked the Hornets this spring. Smith, who did not see action in 2016, was an All-Public League selection after completing 122-of-205 passes (59.5%) for 2,012 yards and 23 touchdowns at Philadelphia’s Delaware Valley Charter as a senior in 2015.
Delaware State’s quarterback competition will heat up this summer when incoming freshmen QBs Jack McDaniel (Lorton, Va.; So. County HS) and Nasir Boykins (Phila., Pa; Imhotep Charter) arrive to battle Black and Smith for the starting job.
Last season’s breakout star, Mike Waters, has led the Hornet running backs this spring. A 2016 Hero College Sports News FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Freshman All-America and All-MEAC Third Team selection, Waters 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.
This spring has also provided an opportunity for running back Nyfease West to show how far he’s come back after sitting out the 2016 campaign due to injury. He rushed for more than 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns at North Penn HS (Pa.) before signing with the Hornets last year.
The Hornets have been without running back Brycen Alleyne this spring. Alleyne, who is progressing from off-season knee surgery, is expected to return to action this summer. He was fifth in the MEAC in rushing and third in all-purpose yards in 2016.
A veteran linebacker corps is expected to lead the Hornet defense this season. Inside backers Malik Harris (sr.) and Brian Cavicante (so.) are coming off solid seasons. Harris was tops on the team and among the MEAC leaders with 82 tackles (48 solo) in 2016. He was also credited with 11 backfield stops, including a team-high three-sacks.
Cavicante was second on the Hornets with 70 tackles, 43 unassisted, as a true freshman in 2016. He was also third on the team with seven tackles-for-loss a year ago.
Seniors outside backers Kameron Rogers and Garfield Heslop, along with junior Denzel Burgette also bring veteran leadership to the Hornet defense.
Delaware State’s 2017 spring defensive line will feature junior Jacob Jones, who is expected to move to the nose position, along with sophomores Ulises De Los Santos, Damon Atwater-Stephens and Dominique Drewery. Robert Jernigan (jr.) and Eljon Williams (so.) are also returning players along the defensive front.
The D-line will also be bolstered by the addition of Caleb Hebron, who sat out the 2016 season after transferring from Towson University.
The DSU secondary has more depth than any unit on the team.
The top returning tacklers are safeties Brock Nichols (so.) and Xavier Wilcher (r-jr.).
Delaware State will open the 2017 season at Delaware on Aug. 31. The home opener is Sep. 23 against Norfolk State.
The Hornets’ will kick off the MEAC season at Hampton on Friday Sep. 8.