As the Fayetteville State Broncos' preseason clock continues to count down to its regular-season opener against Chowan University, FSU will host its annual Blue/White inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday morning August 26 at 10:30 am in the Luther Nick Jeralds Stadium. The event is open to the public and will have a photograph and autograph session following the scrimmage.
After the first full week of practice and watching live contact, Head Coach Richard Hayes graded out the team with a `C'.
"The defense did a decent job of tackling," stated Coach Hayes. "The momentum has been super. We have a lot of young guys that are bringing a lot of energy to this team. A lot of energy that we haven't had under my realm."
The Broncos had a strong recruiting season this year which resulted in 51 freshmen participating in preseason camp.
"We are young all over the field. We are not using that as an excuse. We expect these guys to come in and compete every day and take these jobs."
Following the second week of practice and a 75-play situational scrimmage, Coach Hayes upgraded the team's progress and performance.
Video Recap following Week #2 Scrimmage
"Overall, we still have a lot of work to do; but I think we are further ahead at this point than where we were last year. I am expecting us to come out of the gate running," said Hayes.
The Broncos offense is starting to gain consistency. It has a strong battle brewing at the quarterback position with five potential starters with three seniors and two freshmen.
Kane Banner, a native of Lumberton, NC, is a 6-4 220-pound graduate-student who transferred from Duke University. After three seasons as a Blue Devil, Kane lettered in 2016 as a wide receiver. He also received the Micah Harris Trinity Teammate Award. Banner rushed for 975 yards, threw for 1,876 yards, and totaled 33 touchdowns in his senior season at St. Paul's High School.
"He is a very bright young man with size and the strongest arm of the five," described Offensive Coordinator Maurice Flowers. "The system that we run is very similar to the system he ran at Duke."
Senior Devin Knudsen (Fresno, Calif.) is a 6-0 180-pound returner from last season. He threw for 768 yards with 8 touchdowns in a shared role. His football IQ and classroom performance rank at an `A'.
"Devin does an outstanding job in getting us in all the right formations and he is a great game manager," said Coach Flowers.
Freshmen Richard Lattimer and Andre Wilson has just as much of an opportunity to see playing time over the three seniors.
Lattimer is a native of Charlotte, NC, and West Mecklenburg High School. Wilson is from West Johnson High School in Four Oaks, NC.
Coach Flowers will not hesitate to start a freshman at quarterback. The last rookie he put in charge of an offense was Keahn Wallace of Johnson C. Smith. Wallace became the 2011 CIAA Offensive Rookie of Year.
Last year's CIAA Offensive Rookie of the Year, Stevie Green, will share the load in the back field. Freshmen Donshell Jetton and Darnell "DJ" Walker has received a lot of praise from Coach Hayes.
Jetton, a native of Mooresville will pair with Walker, who hails from Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte. The two have made progress through the preseason and will be candidates for the sought-after Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"We want to be a spread attack that can throw and run," said Coach Flowers on the offensive outlook.
This should be possible with a huge offensive line with a little more experience than last year. The first line of attack for the Broncos will range from a height of 6-0 to 6-8 and weigh between 280 to 360 pounds.
"Our offensive line is Big!" Coach Flowers said with an exclamation. "But, they are not just big, they are athletic. So, we are looking for a solid year from our offensive line. Our running backs position is deep.
We have a great core of receivers with speed guys and size guys."
The season-opener is Saturday, September 2nd in Murfreesboro, NC against Chowan. The Broncos will host Wingate University on September 9th for Military Appreciation. Both games will begin at 6:00 pm.
The Umoja Group, Inc. will be presenting the 26th Annual Umoja Festival across the street from the stadium at the Smith Recreation Center and Seabrook Park on Saturday. The day's festivities will include a free health fair, storytellers, vendors, live music, food, and a family-friendly atmosphere. That event will end at 7:00 pm.
For more information on Fayetteville State football, visit www.fsubroncos.com.
FSU is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. FSU offers nearly 60 degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,300 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation.
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