The SWAC football offseason circuit has been an unforgettable chain of interesting events in 2023. From the news that has filed in during Early Signing Day to the ongoing debacle at the campus of Bethune-Cookman, HBCU football fans have gotten their money’s worth and then some on the sporting news side of things.
Below are the pressing questions for every SWAC team as they approach the most crucial part of the off-season; National Signing Day.
BCU is already behind the recruiting trail as the football program remains coachless after the ED Reed experiment completely hits the fan. For them to have a chance to procreate a tangible 2023 recruiting class, they need a SIGNED head coach to lead their team in the coming days.
Considering the internal strife on campus between faculty and the student body remains ongoing, such a demand feels easier said than done at the moment.
Coach Wade has hit the ground running by adding an array of JUCO and high school prospects that present plug-and-play ability for a Delta Devils’ squad desperately needing an upstart. The program has yet to reveal a quarterback prospect that can come to Itta Bena and compete for the starting job.
Jamari Jones is still with the program and projects to be the team’s 2023 starter come week one. It would be good to add some more depth to the room to challenge the former signal-caller following his woeful 2022 37.9 passing grade.
Coach Alonzo Hampton vowed in his introductory press conference to rebuild the UAPB program by recruiting the neglected high school prospects from the Arkansas Delta.
Last year’s class for the Golden Lions consisted of zero signees from the state of Arkansas. The ultimate question is how Hampton can flip that trend and deliver a quality signing day class.
Outside of Donovan Eaglin’s mid-season emergence as the team’s new RB1, the Bulldogs’ offense was a putrid unit throughout 2022. For Coach Maynor to bounce back in 2023, his upcoming recruiting circuit will need an injection of talent at various skill positions.
The program has already added FBS transfers at quarterback (Brian Plummer) and at receiver (Jacolby Hewitt, Da’shawn Brown), so the effort is there to make amends. Only time will tell on the product’s on-field quality and quantity.
The Hornets’ frontline struggled in pass protection during 2022, resulting in quarterback Demetrius Davis being knocked around constantly inside and outside the pocket. Coach Robinson Jr. has proactively addressed their o-line issues by nabbing three-star interior lineman Joshua Daniel during Early Signing Day.
What he’s able to pair with that along the offensive line will go a long way in propelling their 2023 pass game.
Xavier Smith was a second-team FCS All-American this past season and a primary target for the Rattler’s passing game. With him now gone, FAMU’s upcoming offseason will be centered around replacing his offensive presence.
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Loading the running back room may be Coach Willie Simmons’ way of introducing a more run-first style in 2023, but who they add to their WR room will dictate what life after the X-Man truly is. Buffalo Transfer Jamari Gassett is already the first commit in line to compete for some starting wide receiver reps.
The G-Men are on pace to have another quality recruiting class in 2023, thanks to the transfer portal and Coach Jackson’s out-of-state high school pipelines. Quality signees like Bama State transfer Myles Crawley, Southern Miss transfer Dajon Richard and three-star quarterback Jacob Jones are just the prelude of another highly projected 2023 Signing Day Class.
If Hue Jackson can bring more talented additions during this offseason cycle, it will bring the Tigers closer to a resurgence this year.
So far, during Bubba McDowell’s first offseason recruiting class, he’s delivered five JUCO transfers to the Panthers’ football roster, with three being on the defensive side.
Considering PV is amidst a slight retool due to the loss of several veteran defensive players, adding more with in-game experience is the quickest way to stay afloat in the SWAC. The upcoming signing day period will further answer how many more JUCO talents McDowell will add to the team.
After missing out on the Jason Brown sweepstakes, Southern has added UAB transfer Dylan Mehrotra to a quarterback room that still features Grambling State transfer, Noah Bodden.
With the Jaguars’ fan base still reeling from incompetent quarterback play a season ago, one can imagine Coach Dooley will be loading up on the position during signing day. The dilemma is how many Dooley will bring on campus before spring practice.
C.J. Bolar may have had a down senior season to end his career, but he was a solid two-year FBS transfer for Alcorn’s passing game. How he’s replaced will dictate the upside of a Braves’ offense that has promise on paper.
Coach McNair has already added some promising factors out of the high-school ranks, so it’s one of those prospects to shine the brightest and emerge as a WR1 candidate during practice.
JSU has done a phenomenal job adding talent and depth to a variety of skill positions. The only downside is that the offensive line concerns are not adding the same quality.
Coach Taylor has his work cut out throughout the offseason to find the ideal linemen that work in the trenches. What better way to cease the doubts than finding a solution during National Signing Day?
TSU only had 23 sacks through 11 games this past season which spotlights their ongoing issues with getting to the quarterback. Their current recruiting class has addressed other needs, such as quarterback depth, secondary depth, and a legitimate receiving option.
Still, it has yet to include a pass-rushing prospect in the fold. Whether in-house or on the recruiting trail, how they address this issue will legitimately decide their fate in the SWAC West.
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