Archive for April, 2015

Doggy Day at The Citadel relieves stress during exam week

April 29, 2015
Carson Smith (left) and Carson Gosnell greet Alan, who is up for adoption at Pet Helpers, outside the Daniel Library on The Citadel’s campus as students take a break from studying for exams.

Carson Smith (left) and Carson Gosnell greet Alan, who is up for adoption at Pet Helpers, outside the Daniel Library on The Citadel’s campus as students take a break from studying for exams.

Deanna Pan: Postandcourier.com
Apr 28 10:19 pm

There’s only one day each semester that can turn even the toughest upperclassman into a babbling pile of mush. That’s Doggy Day at The Citadel, or “Puppy Day,” as the cadets call it, somewhat aspirationally. Tuesday, you could hear the howls across Summerall Field.

Finals at The Citadel begin this week. To help students and cadets relieve pent-up anxiety, the prestigious military academy invited local animal adoption agencies and a few of their dogs to campus for a couple of hours. It’s one of the more highly anticipated and popular events of the school year. By 11 a.m., at least 200 cadets risked getting hair on their uniforms and slobber on their shoes to flock to the lawn outside Daniel Library for a fresh Krispy Kreme donut and a chance to pet a pooch.

“Word spreads pretty easily around here about Puppy Day,” said sophomore Daniel Choi. “We get a little lonely. The fact that we get to see some dogs, some puppies relieves some stress.” “Between spring break and winter break, Puppy Day is sandwiched right in between,” said senior Kevin Thornton. “As manly as this school pretends to be, on Puppy Day, everyone shows their true colors.”

“I planned my day around it,” added senior Carson Smith. “Let’s put it that way.” “We were told there were going to be puppies,” protested freshman Brandon Horton. “But there’s not any puppies.”

Admittedly, some cadets felt cheated about the lack of puppies this semester, but most welcomed the midday distraction. Across the country, colleges have begun housing therapy pets for stressed-out students seeking a cuddly study break. “Puppy rooms,” “pet stations” and campus dog programs have popped up at schools like Queens College in New York, Emory University in Atlanta and Kent State in Ohio. Harvard Medical School has a Shih Tzu named Cooper that students can “check out” from the library for 30 minutes of play or snuggle time. Yale has two therapy dogs – Finn and Monty – that hang out at its medical and law school libraries.

Doggy Day at The Citadel started in 2011. The College of Charleston began hosting dogs from Pet Helpers two years earlier. On Friday, students will find dogs on the Rivers Green — in addition to an aromatherapist, acupuncturist, and massage therapist — from noon to 3 p.m. Lindy Coleman, associate director of the college’s Center for Student Learning, says the event is the most popular one during final-exams week, typically attracting about 500 students over the course of three hours.

“It’s just a very calming, soothing thing for them to be around. I think it reminds them of their own family pets,” she said. “They’ll be out there waiting for the Pet Helpers to come.”

The evidence supporting the positive impacts of dogs on campus isn’t anecdotal, either. Plenty of research shows the mental, not to mention physical, health benefits of dog ownership. Studies have linked canine companionship to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease and fewer allergies in children. Spending as little as five minutes with a dog can decrease a person’s level of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and boost levels of dopamine and endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in our brains.

“In general, the unconditional love that people receive, particularly at finals time, can be beneficial,” said Gretchen Carlisle, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri’s Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. And for a few moments, the pressure to get good grades, please parents and impress professors melts away. “People don’t have to worry about that when they’re interacting with a dog. They can be themselves and they can relax.”

Ella, a coonhound, from Carolina Coonhound Rescue gives sophomore Marlin Campbell a kiss as dozens as of cadets surround the Daniel Library on the Citadel campus for Doggy Day. all photos by  Grace Beahm/Staff

Ella, a coonhound, from Carolina Coonhound Rescue gives sophomore Marlin Campbell a kiss as dozens as of cadets surround the Daniel Library on the Citadel campus for Doggy Day. all photos by Grace Beahm/Staff

At Daniel Library, Ella, a floppy-eared black and tan coonhound from Carolina Coonhound Rescue, yelped and panted while sophomore Jeremy Fiedler barely held onto her leash. He’s got two dogs, Abby, an Australian shepherd mix, and Whitlock, a pale brown mutt, back home in Columbia. He usually gets the jitters before finals, but, standing in the sunlight with Ella, he didn’t think once about his upcoming English exam. His first Puppy Day, he said, lived up to the hype.

“I was surprised they didn’t have puppies, but that’s about it,” he said. “Other than that, all of my dreams were fulfilled. I just love playing with dogs.“ Before heading back to the barracks, he bent over, puckered his lips, and kissed Ella on top of her head while she craned her neck to lick his face.

“Can we do this forever?” asked one cadet, as he nuzzled a lab mix named Addie. “I’d never stop,” said another.

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Lt. Gen. John B. Sams elected chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors

April 29, 2015
Lt. General Sams during his USAF career

Lt. General Sams during his USAF career

The Citadel’s governing organization will soon have a new chair. Lt. Gen. John B. Sams, Jr., USAF (Retired), will begin his term as chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors (BOV) July 1, 2015. Sams was elected to the position today in a unanimous vote by his fellow board members. Sams will assume the role when current BOV chair, Lt. Gen. W. Michael Steele, USA (Retired), completes his term June 30.

“John Sams has a proven track record of leadership in the military, business and The Citadel community,” said Steele in a written announcement to alumni. “He is a key contributor, most recently serving as chairman of the Education and Leadership Development Committee. We are fortunate to have his leadership for the BOV.”

Sams, who graduated from The Citadel in 1967 with a degree in history, has served on the 14-member BOV since being elected in 2011. He is owner and president of JBSJ & Associates, LLC, an aerospace consulting company. Sams has more than 45 years’ experience as a leader in the military and commercial aerospace enterprises. He was a six-time commander in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in 1999. He joined The Boeing Company and rose through the ranks to become vice president of Air Force Programs for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems before retiring from that company. Additionally, Sams is chairman and chief operating officer of the Aerial Refueling Systems Advisory Group, the Joint Standardization Agent for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, for all matters pertaining to service and international aerial refueling specifications, processes and procedures. His term will end June 30, 2017.

“It is my honor to continue the excellent work of Gen. Steele—in association with my esteemed BOV colleagues, the college president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, and our broader campus community—to direct our great college toward the achievement of its LEAD Plan 2018 goals,” said Sams. “I am deeply proud of The Citadel’s contributions to our nation and will work to ensure we continue producing men and women of character.”

Steele has been active with his alma mater since his graduation in 1967. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2001 after 34 years of service where he led every level, eventually rising to commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific. He is a Vietnam Ranger Battalion and Ranger Group combat veteran. Following retirement, he served as a senior executive in the defense industry and started a defense services company, Osprey Bay, LLC. He also served as a senior mentor for the Army General Officer Strategic Leader Development Program from its inception in 2001 through 2014. He will continue to be involved with The Citadel.

“Spending time with cadets and engaging with faculty, staff and alumni has strengthened my respect and appreciation for our alma mater and has been a tremendous personal learning opportunity,” said Steele. “The Citadel’s lofty reputation as a producer of principled leaders will continue to be enhanced during John Sams’ tenure as BOV chair.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Lt. Gen. Steele. He has taken The Citadel to new heights and will be missed,” said Citadel President John W. Rosa. “Lt. Gen. Sams is a proven leader, and I look forward to serving with him during this important time at The Citadel.”

Col. W. Dylan Goff, The Citadel Class of 2002, will continue as vice chair.

About the Board of Visitors
South Carolina law and college regulations define the role of the Board of Visitors. The Citadel’s Board of Visitors has 14 voting members. Ex officio members include the governor, the adjutant general and the state superintendent of education; the other 11 members are graduates of The Citadel. The board also has a non-voting secretary and can appoint individuals who have served at least 18 years on the board as emeritus members. The General Assembly and the governor must elect members “based on merit regardless of race or economic status and shall strive to ensure that the membership of the board is representative of all citizens of the state of South Carolina. Elections take place in the session prior to the expiration of a board member’s term

Findings announced from Citadel investigations

April 28, 2015

The Citadel has concluded its investigations of hazing allegations that were reported in February. The majority of cases investigated were training violations against freshman cadets (primarily unauthorized physical activity), not hazing. Capt. Geno Paluso, the commandant of cadets, initiated the investigation into allegations of misconduct and hazing after ordering freshmen to report possible hazing incidents they had experienced or witnessed. At a media availability held March 4, Paluso shared the initial findings from the probe which included 85 allegations.

After a thorough review of each case, the investigation has concluded:
•53 of the allegations were fourth-class (freshman) training violations and resulted in on-campus punishments.
•19 cases were considered hazing and those cadets have been recommended for suspension, dismissal or expulsion and are in the appeals process.
•Nine cadets withdrew or resigned.
•Three cases were dismissed as they involved no violations of Citadel regulations.
•One case will be adjudicated next semester due to extenuating circumstances.

“There simply is no place for hazing at The Citadel,” said Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa. “It does not represent what we stand for, it is not consistent with our core values, and it does not prepare our cadets to be leaders of character.”

Lt. Gen. John Sams , USAF, Ret. elected chairman of BOV

April 26, 2015

Citadel Alumni and Supporters—
It is my pleasure along with Lt Gen John Rosa to announce the next Chairman of The Citadel Board of Visitors. Lt Gen John Sams, USAF (Ret), was elected by our Board of Visitors (BOV) this morning by unanimous vote.

John Sams has a proven track record of leadership in the military, business and within our community. A short biography is attached for your information. He was elected to the BOV by The Citadel Alumni Association and began serving a six-year term 1 July 2011. He has been a key member of the BOV serving most recently as Chairman, Education and Leadership Committee. He will take his seat as Chair 1 July 2015 and serve through 30 June 2017. We are fortunate to have someone with John Sams’ qualifications lead the BOV, collaborate with Lt Gen Rosa and team with The Citadel Foundation and Alumni Association for the next two years.

It has been my honor to serve The Citadel as BOV Chair. Spending time with cadets and engaging with faculty, staff and alumni has strengthened my respect and appreciation for our alma mater and been a tremendous personal learning opportunity. The Citadel has a unique status as an institution of higher education… one committed to the development and education of principled leaders in a disciplined military environment. Our lofty reputation will continue to be enhanced during John Sams’ tenure as BOV Chair. Colonel Dylan Goff has agreed to continue serving as our very capable and respected Vice Chair.

Thanks to all of you for your support and commitment to our Citadel. I know you’ll provide Lt Gen Sams the same support , commitment and encouragement.

Go Dogs!!
W. Michael Steele
LTG, USA (Ret)
Chairman, Citadel Board of Visitors

THE CITADEL AND VMI RESUME SOCON BASEBALL RIVALRY

April 24, 2015

diamondbulldogs

CHARLESTON, S.C.

The Citadel and VMI meet for the first time as Southern Conference rivals since 2003 when the Keydets visit Riley Park for a three-game series beginning Friday at 4 p.m. The series continues on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games can be seen on the SoCon Digital Network.

The teams have played only once since VMI departed the SoCon, with the Keydets taking 4-3 and 12-1 victories at Riley Park in 2010. In the last SoCon series in 2003, the Bulldogs won two of three at Riley Park, but VMI took a 2-1 win in the conference tournament.

The Bulldogs (18-21, 3-9 SoCon) hold a 64-18 lead in the series since 1965 including 36-9 in Charleston and 8-4 at Riley Park. VMI records show The Citadel with a series advantage of 75-25. Fred Jordan has a record of 33-8 against the Keydets (12-22, 5-7) including 21-5 in Charleston.

James Reeves gets the start for the Bulldogs on Friday. The redshirt junior southpaw has a record of 5-3 and ranks third in the SoCon in ERA (3.12) and strikeouts (77) and second in opposing batting average (.217). His average of 11.42 strikeouts per nine innings ranks 17th in the nation.

Reeves will be opposed by sophomore left-hander Austin Heenan (0-5, 6.25). Saturday will be a matchup between Bulldog freshman lefty JP Sears (4-3, 3.46) and Keydet senior righty Andrew Woods (4-1, 4.93). Sears ranks fourth in the SoCon in ERA and tied for sixth with 55 strikeouts.

Freshman lefty Brandon Barbery (4-2, 3.61) will pitch for VMI on Sunday. The Bulldogs have not decided on a series finale starter.

The Citadel American Society of Civil Engineering student chapter wins first place in concrete canoe competition

April 23, 2015
The winners!

The winners!

by: Megan Campbell

Have you ever tried to make concrete float? If you ask a group of civil engineering students, they will probably answer with a resounding ‘yes.’ Making a slab of concrete float is exactly how The Citadel’s American Society of Civil Engineering student chapter won first place in the concrete canoe event at The Carolinas Conference over the weekend of April 9th-11th.

The student team placed first in the concrete canoe competition, upsetting a Clemson team that has dominated the event for over a decade. The competition asks student teams to create a canoe, made of concrete, which not only has to float while carrying passengers, but that can also be sunk underwater to resurface on its own.The event was only one out of 10 other competitions that The Citadel’s team participated in, and they brought home four additional trophies, including first place in the mead paper; first place in the concrete canoe presentation; second place in concrete canoe men’s sprint; and third place in the overall conference competition. Approximately 300 students from 10 colleges across the Carolinas and Georgia competed in the regional conference, hosted this year by Georgia Institute of Technology.

interiorshotcanoe

Simon Ghanat, a faculty advisor that helped to lead the 32-member team, said, “Our students were passionate about participating in this year’s conference and demonstrated great teamwork. The results are a tribute to the hard work, dedication and commitment of our students and faculty advisors.”
Below is the list of cadets, officer candidates (OC), evening undergraduate students and vets who were a part of the 2015 concrete canoe team.

winningcanoeteam!

Team Captains: Zach Peters and Trent Butler
Quality Assurance and Safety Manager: SSgt Jason McDonald
Design Paper and Compliance Manger: OC Tyrel Stevenson and OC Joseph Page
Mix Design Coordinator: Colt Kirkpatrick
Mold Prep and Construction Coordinator: Charles Parrott
Aesthetics and Theme Coordinator: Hanna Holt
Engineering Notebook and Display Coordinator: Amber Mills
Hull Design Coordinator: OC Tyrel Stevenson
Sanding and Finishing Coordinator: Daniel McCullough
Rowing Captain: Grant Eversman
Fundraising and Student Coordinator: Zach Eulo
Presentation Coordinator: OC Marcus Padilla
Cross-Section Coordinators: Hank Morgan and Joel Mann

Placing first in this completion qualifies the team to compete in the National Concrete Canoe Competition, which will be held in June at Clemson University.

The School of Engineering at The Citadel is the second most sought after discipline at the college, with civil engineering being the top choice for engineering students. The engineering program was ranked 23rd among the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools offering up to a master’s degree by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

Megan Campbell is a graduate assistant in the Office of Communications and Marketing at The Citadel. She is currently working toward her master’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in English.

Citadel Basketball Notes: Duggar Baucom names staff; Chuck Driesell hired, Wright looking

April 23, 2015
Coach Baucom has named his staff

Coach Baucom has named his staff

Jeff Hartsell postandcourier.com
Apr 22 2015 6:57 pm

New Citadel basketball coach Duggar Baucom named his assistant coaches Wednesday, hiring two VMI assistants and a former VMI player. Daniel Willis and Ryan Mattocks, who worked for Baucom at Virginia Military Institute, and former Keydet player Willie Bell will fill out Baucom’s first staff at The Citadel. “All are extremely loyal, dedicated coaches whose main focus is to help our cadet-athletes be successful,” said Baucom, who was hired to replace Chuck Driesell last month.

Willis, who spent the last 10 seasons on Baucom’s VMI staff, will serve as associate head coach. In his first season at VMI, Willis filled in for Baucom in 2005-06 when the head coach was sidelined for seven games. He also worked for Baucom at Tusculum, and was an assistant coach with Baucom at Western Carolina. Willis was an All-America guard at Lenoir-Rhyne. “Daniel has been an invaluable asset, as we have rebuilt two programs together and now will start a third,” Baucom said. “He was a great college player who now provides keen insight in the flow of the game and at practice. Daniel does an excellent job in game preparation, and is totally invested in all areas of our program. He is going to make an outstanding head coach in the near future.”

Mattocks, a Duke graduate and former student-manager for the Blue Devils, spent the last three seasons at VMI with Baucom, and will serve as the Bulldogs’ recruiting coordinator. “Ryan has been a key member of my staff for the last three years and will continue to do so as our recruiting coordinator at The Citadel,” Baucom said. “He is highly organized, a great communicator and has a tireless work ethic which makes him a great recruiter. Ryan will play a vital role in developing our current players as well as bringing in talented future Bulldogs.”

Bell, most recently the head coach at Warwick High School in Virginia, was team captain of Baucom’s 2008-09 VMI team that went 24-8 and beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena. He also has coached on the AAU circuit and at Louisiana-Monroe. “Willie was in my first signing class at VMI and from the first practice I knew he was going to be a great coach in the future,” said Baucom. “He brings tremendous passion and energy in everything that he does. Willie is a natural leader who expects excellence from himself as well as others he is around. He brings a unique perspective to our staff, having experienced the military academic setting firsthand. I am thrilled he is joining our staff.”

Driesell hired
Former Citadel basketball coach Chuck Driesell has accepted an assistant coaching position at San Jose State, according to reports. Driesell was hired by San Jose State coach Dave Wojcik, brother of former College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik, a close friend of Driesell’s.
San Jose State was 2-28 last season and is 1-35 in the Mountain West Conference in two seasons under Dave Wojcik.

Wright takes visit
Former Citadel basketball player Jake Wright has taken an official visit to South Alabama, and also is considering New Hampshire, Miami (Ohio) and Utah Valley, according to reports. Wright, a 6-4 guard, decided to transfer from The Citadel after averaging 8.9 points and shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point range last season as a freshman

Citadel basketball coach Duggar Baucom gets commitment from guard Quayson Williams

April 21, 2015
Quayson Williams in action.

Quayson Williams in action.

Apr 17 2015 9:36 pm

New Citadel basketball coach Duggar Baucom has picked up a second commitment for the Bulldogs, adding 6-1 guard Quayson Williams from Gibsonville, N.C., to the fold. Williams, who attends Eastern Guilford High School, had previously committed to play for Baucom at VMI. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.6 assists and 6.8 rebounds for his team last season, said Eastern Guilford coach Joe Spinks.

“His biggest strength is being able to shoot he ball as a point guard,” Spinks said. “He’s got a great m0id-range jumper as well as shooting the three with high efficiency. He loves the open style of play, so he chose a system that really fits his skill set at The Citadel. “Every coach who came through here said they thought Quayson has a college basketball body already. He’s a gym rat and loves to play the game.”

Williams’ team went 20-6 and made the second round of the state playoffs last season. Baucom previously got a commitment from Connor Schroeder, a 6-7 wing from The Miller School in Charlottesville, Va.

Baucom Inks First Members of 2015 Signing Class For The Citadel

April 21, 2015
Coach Baucom is hot on the recruiting trail.

Coach Baucom is hot on the recruiting trail.

The Toledo News: Monday, April 20, 2015 1:36 PM EDT

CHARLESTON, SC –
New Citadel head basketball coach Duggar Baucom announced on Monday that Connor Schroeder and Quayson Williams signed their National Letter of Intent and will join the South Carolina Corps of Cadets as part of the class of 2019.

“We are so excited to have Quayson and Connor join our Citadel Basketball family,” said Baucom. “Both young men will help us immediately on the court and will be great in the classroom and the Corps of Cadets. They will flourish in the military academic setting and understand the value of a Citadel education.”

Schroeder, a 6-7, 195-pound small forward who hails from Blacksburg, Va., was a standout at the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Va. Averaging 14.2 ppg and 4.3 rpg he lead the team in scoring and was named to second team all-district in his senior season. Schroeder topped the 20-point plateau on seven occasions as a senior including a season-high 27 points against New Covenant in late November. Among his standout performances included a three-day stretch in the Benedictine Tournament where he averaged 19 ppg and 44.2 percent from the field en route to capturing tournament MVP honors. “Connor is a stretch four man that can shoot it with unlimited range,” added Baucom. “He is an excellent passer, who will also rebound and defend in the post. Under the tutelage of Ralph Melis and Damin Altizer, Conner has become a multifaceted player who will fit in well with our up-tempo system”.

Williams, a 6-2, 180-pound guard, joins The Citadel from Eastern Guilford High School in Gibsonville, N.C. As a senior, under head coach Joe Spinks’ tutelage, he averaged 21 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.6 apg and 3.3 spg, while leading the Wildcats to a 20-6 record and a spot in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs. This earned him a spot on the first team All-News & Record team by the Greensboro News & Record.

The highly decorated Williams, originally from Trenton, N.J., was Public School player of the year in Guilford County in 2013-14 after a season that included 19.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.8 apg and 3.2 spg. He also managed back-to-back Mid-State Piedmont Conference player of the year honors following his junior and senior seasons. The Wildcats’ team MVP in each of the last three seasons, Williams was named as an all-region performer in 2013-14 and 2014-15. “Quayson is an athletic, scoring point guard who makes everyone around him better,” said Baucom. “He’s a tremendous leader who played in an excellent high school program led by coach Joe Spinks. Quayson will be the engine that will allow us to play at the pace we want and he can finish at the rim, as well as shoot a high percentage from three.”

Bulldogs get NO Respect from Prognosticators!

April 20, 2015
The Bulldogs will need to make the SoCon respect them in 2015!

The Bulldogs will need to make the SoCon respect them in 2015!

Spring SoCon Predictions
By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com

1. Chattanooga Mocs:
The Mocs return the two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Jacob Huesman, who led Chattanooga to a record-breaking 2014 campaign. Anchoring the offensive line will be Jacobs Blocking Award-Winner Corey Levin. The Mocs led the SoCon and were No. 20 in the FCS in scoring offense (34.7). Defensively, the Mocs must replace All-American Davis Tull from a defense that led the SoCon and was fourth nationally in total defense, giving up 277.6 yards per game. Chattanooga returns 16 starters from 2014: six on offense, six on defense and both specialists. The Mocs open the 2015 season at home against Jacksonville State.
2. Western Carolina:
The Catamounts finished tied for second in the SoCon last year, with their seven wins being a program-high since 2001. Western Carolina returns nine starters on defense and all 11 starters on offense, including 10 All-SoCon performers from 2014. Leading the Catamount offense is unanimous first-team selection WR Spearman Robinson. On defense, DB Trey Morgan was a first-team selection in 2014.
3. Furman:
After an injury-riddled 2014 season, coming off the program’s first SoCon title since 2004 in 2013, the Furman Paladins, if they can stay healthy, look to challenge for the league crown in 2015. Furman returns 18 starters from 2014 and 36 players that have starting experience. Offensively, the Paladins will welcome back junior QB Reese Hannon, who missed virtually all of last season after fracturing an ankle in the season-opener against Gardner-Webb. Cory Magwood, an all-SoCon performer in 2014, will look to continue Furman’s deep tradition at linebacker. The Paladins open the 2015 season with a matchup against Coastal Carolina.
4. Samford:
Chris Hatcher takes over at Samford for Pat Sullivan, who engineered Samford to its greatest success since the 1960’s. Samford will be led on offense by first-team All-SoCon RB Denzel Williams, who rushed for 918 yards and led the SoCon in scoring (8.7 ppg) as a sophomore. Defensively, the Bulldogs will be led by LB Justin Cooper, a first-team All-SoCon pick in 2014. Samford returns seven starters on offense and seven starters on defense from the 2014 team that finished 7-4 overall and tied for 2nd in the SoCon with a 5-2 record.
5. Mercer:
Mercer, in its second season in the SoCon, will return all 22 starters from a 6-6 team in 2014. The Bears’ offense will be led by All-SoCon second-team performer Alex Lakes at RB, along with Wilson Heres anchoring the offensive line. Austin Barrett and Kyle Williams will lead the defense, with both being named to the SoCon All-Freshman team in 2014. FCS All-American return specialist Chandler Curtis also returns for Mercer, which opens its season at Austin Peay on September 5th.
6. Wofford:
The Terriers’ 6-5 finish in 2014 was their 11th winning season in the past 13 years. Wofford will suit up 21 returning starters in 2015: ten on offense and nine on defense. Coach Mike Ayers will have to decide between two quarterbacks that shared the duty last year – Evan Jacks started the first six games, and Michael Weimer got the nod in the final five games of 2014. Wofford opens 2015 at Clemson and has a favorable SoCon home schedule with Chattanooga, Western Carolina, Samford and Furman visiting Gibbs Stadium this season.
7. VMI:
The Keydets will line up in 2015 under new head coach Scott Wachenheim and will look to make some noise in their second season back in the SoCon after an 11-year absence. The Keydet offense will be led by SoCon Freshman of the Year QB Al Cobb. Cobb led the SoCon in passing with 2,791 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2014. Defensively, the Keydets are led by all three starters returning along the defensive line, including Joe Nelson and Denton Ensminger. VMI opens the 2015 season on Thursday, September 3rd at Ball State.
8. Citadel:
The Citadel returns 15 starters from last season’s 5-7 Bulldog squad. The Bulldogs will be relying on a pair of redshirt freshmen at QB in Shon Belton and Cam Jackson to lead the offense in 2015. The linebacking corps of Tevin Floyd, James Riley and Myles Pierce will be the strength of the Bulldogs’ defense. The Citadel has four of its first five games at home in 2015 starting with Davidson. The Bulldogs will travel to former SoCon rival Georgia Southern on September 19th and to Columbia to take on South Carolina to end the season.
* East Tennessee State does not play a full SoCon schedule until 2016, and was therefore not included in these predictions.