Dover, Del. (Aug. 18, 2019) --- Despite a heavy dependence on young players and a rash of injuries, Delaware State’s offensive line made surprising gains in 2018. The Hornets were second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in rushing at 187.9 yards per game last season. DSU’s 2018 rushing yards per-game and total run yards (2067) were the most by the team since 2006. Hornet rushers also tallied nine games of 80-or-more yards, including three 100-plus yard performances.
“We certainly made some strides last season, but this is a new year and there’s plenty of room for improvement,” said Delaware State offensive line coach Anthony Vitale, hand-picked for the job by Hornet head coach Rod Milstead, a former All-America guard for the Hornets and National Football League lineman.
“The guys are working really hard on the field and in the film room to build on last year’s gains,” Vitale said. “We have a good mix of experienced players and young guys. The key is developing chemistry and building depth for the long season.”
Topping the list of returning linemen is tackle Kaiden Crawford (sr.; 6-5/310), a 2019 Preseason All-MEAC First Team selection.
“Kaiden has come a long way in his time here, but he’s aware of the challenges to live up to the expectations,” said Vitale. “He’s working really hard and we will need a significant contribution from him to be a successful line this year.”
Other returning veterans on the offensive line include Matthew Derks (jr.; 6-3/315), Savion Hopes (jr.; 6-4/315), Dwight Chavis (r-jr.; 6-2/315), Ernest Sellars (sr.; 6-0/280), Dillon Marshall (r-so.; 6-4/290) and Noah Nnabuo (r-fr.; 6-4/300).
The 2019 DSU offensive line is also expected to be bolstered by the addition of Eric Kareem (gr.; 6-4; 310), a fifth-year transfer from Tennessee Tech University.
“As a grad transfer, Eric brings a great deal of experience and maturity to the line,” Vitale said. “He’s picking up our system pretty quickly and has established himself as a team leader on and off the field.”
The Hornet offensive line also welcomes the addition of newcomers James King (jr.; 6-4/315), who previously attended Valley Forge Military Academy and Cameron Chase (fr.; 6-4/275), along with former Delaware high school standouts Will Brandes (fr.; 6-2/295; Smyrna HS) and Ritchy Corvil (fr.; 5-11/305; Milford HS).
Delaware State kicks off its 12-game 2019 schedule at Delaware on Aug. 29. Game time is 7:00 p.m. in Newark, Del.
The Hornets will play a record seven home games this season. The home opener is Sep. 14 against Lincoln (Pa.). The Faith and Community Day contest is set for 4:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. DSU’s annual homecoming game is the following Saturday (Sep. 21 @ 2:00 p.m.) against Howard.