|J.C. Smith Golden Bulls football eye boost with 2020 recruiting|
|Left tackle, defensive end top priorities|
|Published Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:00 pm|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|J.C. Smith coach Kermit Blount wants to boost the Golden Bulls offense with linemen to open holes for 2019 CIAA Offensive Rookie of the Year Emanuel Wilson (center).|
Kermit Blount likes offensive linemen. Lots of them.
Johnson C. Smith’s football coach annually recruits for line depth, even with four players returning to a unit that paved the way for 1,000-yard rusher Emanuel Wilson. The 2020 goal is to add pieces to a roster that loses seven seniors, including four all-conference picks from a 4-6 squad.
JCSU has needs as Feb. 5 – National Signing Day – looms, including:
• Left tackle. Alvin Brown, a 2019 second-team All-CIAA pick who graded out at 94%, is a major loss. Blount indicated there are candidates on the current roster who can step into the starting role, but all options are open, including signing someone from the junior college ranks.
• Quarterback. There were five underclassmen on the 2019 roster, with Antonio Wallace and Malik Evans completing a combined 81 passes in 181 tries for seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. JCSU is now a run-first offense, but a versatile threat behind center is vital to keeping defenses honest.
• Receivers. Last year’s starters, Janarius Hood (25 receptions, 333 yards, 3 TDs) and All-CIAA punt returner Braxton Gambrell (11 receptions, 195 yards, 2 TDs) are gone, but Damon Rice, who scored twice on kick returns as a sophomore, will get more opportunities on offense. He’s a threat to go the distance at any time, so adding more defense-stretching speed opposite him would be a plus.
• Defensive end. JCSU lacks a havoc-wreaking force. Jabriel Robinson (30 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 6 hurries) had moments on the edge, but in an increasingly pass-first league, the Golden Bulls need more pressure up front.
• Middle linebacker. Top tackler David Francis (58 stops) graduates, which creates a leadership hole on a defense that improved statistically against the run (3.8 yards per attempt).
• Punter: All-CIAA Brandon Howard (42.4 yards a kick last year) was one of the league’s best at flipping field position.
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