TU Football: Offensive Position Breakdown
College football season is rapidly approaching and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane has big plans in their new conference. As Tulsa kicks off play as a member of the American Athletic Association, it will look to shake off the negativity from a disappointing 3-9 campaign last season.
Over the next two days, we're taking a look at TU position-by-position, examining who might make an impact in 2014.
We'll start with the offense then move on to the defense on Friday.
Cody Green (2 seasons): 3,931 yds, 24 tds, 19 ints, 356 rush yds, 5 rush tds.
After two seasons with the oft-criticized Cody Green at the helm, many Golden Hurricane fans are ready for a change – but be careful what you wish for. The favorite for the job will be redshirt sophomore Dane Evans, who played a bunch last season but didn't look particularly good.
Dane Evans will get the first shot at the job, but he'll need to show significant improvement if he plans on keeping it. Evans' stats in 2013 were pretty poor, even for a freshman. He completed just 43.1 percent of his passes for 898 yards and 10 interceptions. Evans tossed just four touchdowns in 195 pass attempts.
The positive viewpoint here is that Evans can use his experience (8 games, 5 starts) from last season to work out the kinks. He did make some excellent throws and showed a little bit of mobility along the way.
If Evans will receive any heat, it will likely be from incoming freshman Jabe Burgess. The Greenwood, Ark. product was a three-star recruit who received an offer from Illinois among others.
Trey Watts (2013): 286 car, 1,329 yds, 11 tds, 46 rec, 395 yds, 1 td.
Ja'Terian Douglas (2013): 113 car, 379 yds, 2 tds, 11 rec, 117 yds, 1 td.
The ground game has carried this ball club over the past few seasons with stars such as Trey Watts, Alex Singleton and Ja'Terian Douglas, but those days are over. TU may never see a three-headed attack like it had back in 2012, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. A few holdovers will compete for carries while a true freshman and a JUCO transfer should give those guys a run.
Holdovers Zack Langer and James Flanders will likely compete for the starting job, but this isn't exactly ideal. Langer had just 18 carries for 58 yards last season, while Flanders carried twice for five yards. The two combined for just one catch for six yards.
Transfer Tavarreon Dickerson put up huge numbers in limited touches last season at Trinity Valley Community College. Dickerson dashed for 555 yards on only 65 carries for an 8.5 average per, showing exceptional big-play ability. If Dickerson can translate that explosiveness to the AAC, TU might just have a legitimate threat in the backfield.
Incoming freshman Ramadi Warren is the Golden Hurricane's other option. Warren, who was offered by both Arkansas State and UNC, is a three-star recruit who appears to be ready to step in. Somewhere among Langer, Flanders, Dickerson and Warren, TU should find a consistent ground attack.
Jordan James (2013): 39 rec, 471 yds, 2 tds.
This should be the Golden Hurricane's strongest collective unit on either side of the ball. TU has four returning wide receivers along with tight end Tyler Wilson. With such a question mark existing at the quarterback position, a lot will fall on the shoulders of the TU pass catchers in 2014.
Redshirt junior Keyarris Garrett returns from injury to lead the Golden Hurricane's air attack. Garrett, who received a medical hardship after suffering a season-ending injury against Colorado State last season, is one of the most talented receivers in the American Athletic Conference. Garrett caught 67 balls for 845 yards and nine touchdowns in Tulsa's rush-heavy attack during the 2012 season. Look for Evans to key in on Keyarris throughout the season.
Garrett won't have to shoulder the load alone.
Sophomore Keevan Lucas returns after a promising freshman campaign in which he grabbed 32 balls for 442 yards and a touchdown. Lucas got off to a slow start, catching just four balls for 32 yards in TU's first four games, but found his stride soon after. In Tulsa's next four games, Lucas recorded 20 catches for 315 yards while rushing for 56 additional yards. Lucas excels with the ball in his hands, so keep an eye out for some big plays in 2014.
TU also returns senior Thomas Roberson and sophomore Derek Patterson. Roberson grabbed 27 balls for 363 yards and a team-high four touchdowns last season and should provide consistency and depth for TU this season. Patterson showed some promise, making 12 catches for 144 yards and a pair of scores last season while displaying a unique ability to elude defenders.
And don't forget about Wilson. The sophomore tight end hauled in nine balls for 79 yards last season, but could get more opportunities with improved offensive line and quarterback play. He'll compete for playing time with three-star recruit Payton Prince. Prince, the 6-foot-3 former Norman North High star, received offers from Illinois and Memphis among others.
Jake Alexander, OG
Stetson Burnett, OT
Gabe Moyer, OG
Tulsa had a rough season up front in 2013. TU just couldn't run or pass the ball like they had hoped to, and part of that was lack of offensive-line execution. But with three returning starters and a host of solid recruits entering the fray, the Golden Hurricane will look for improvement in 2014.
Junior LT Garrett Stafford returns to anchor the line and protect Dane Evans' blind side. Stafford started every game on the left side last season and is one of the AAC's top offensive linemen.
Sophomore center Dylan Foxworth also returns to the middle of the line where he started eight games last season. Alongside Stafford and Foxworth will be senior tackle Davis Walton, a transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M. Walton will be the only senior on the Golden Hurricane's young offensive unit.
Those three guys are likely set, but there are plenty of candidates to fill in the holes. A pair of guards, sophomore Chris Wallace and junior Billy LaFortune, return to the mix and will likely see heavy playing time (especially Wallace).
TU also successfully recruited a strong crop of lineman. Guards Mildren Montgomery (Douglass High, OKC) and Willie Wright (Cypris Ridge High, Houston) were both three-star recruits and should help solidify the interior of the line.
In addition, tackles Tyler Bowling (Yukon High, Yukon, Okla.) and Isaac Johnson (Har-Ber High, Springdale, Ark.) were also both three-stars. Neither will likely see starting time this season but should provide TU with excellent depth during the long season.