Before the college football season starts I want to go over some of the position groups and players I’m going to be watching for WMU. First, let’s talk about the offense.
This unit underperformed/disappeared at times last year. Without Corey Davis WMU’s passing game was basically nonexistent. (They also were paired with a QB who was starting for the first time in Jon Wassink and a true freshman who was thrust into action after Wassink got injured, but more on that later.) Dee Eskridge is really fast but he’s small. The other wideouts don’t have much to their names. One guy to look for is Jaylen Hall (h/t Andy Pepper on Twitter).
Insert Drake Harris. The Michigan transfer and Grand Rapids Christian product should be well known on the west side of the state – he was a freak two sport recruit in high school. Drake steps into a position group that’s begging for someone with his prototypical WR frame. His size alone will help the group, and he could be dynamic in shaping the offense’s passing game.
I’m very excited to watch Jon play this year. He got steadily better each game before his season ending injury. A second year in the offense and a second year with coach Lester should result in growth for Jon’s game. Keep in mind Lester is taking over play calling duties, so the overall direction/play of the offense could look different. The o-line and running game will still be strong which will help, and I expect Lester to let Jon be more aggressive. Now, on to the defense.
Notable returners to the front seven include Eric Assoua and Antonio Balabani. The Bronoco defense will feature new starting linebackers after losing guys like Robert Spillane and Asantay Brown to the NFL. I’ll be looking to see how new guys like Rutgers transfer Najee Clayton step into their roles. There might be some growing pains but it’ll be great to watch the next wave of guys step in.
Just as the front seven lost guys to the NFL, so did the secondary. Obviously, Darius Phillips has moved on and the Broncos will miss his impact on defense and special teams. Additionally, Sam Beal – who was entering his senior year and was going to be ‘the guy’ back there – left the team during the summer and entered the NFL’s Supplemental Draft. Thankfully, safety Justin Tranquill is back after an injury last year and will provide experience and leadership.
I trust in the coaching staff and this team to improve on last year’s record and performances. I love the mantra put forth by coach Lester of being the toughest team in America. If the Broncos can be tougher, they will be better. I think the team has great talent again and an opportunity to win the conference. I’m really looking forward to watching them play this year.