We have reached the end of the football season and for better or worse (really, better in this case) this is our final Cougar football redshirt watch of 2019. Hopefully, the redshirt watch will take a more tertiary role in the coming several seasons.
My apologies for the delay, although I don’t think there were many surprises in the last few weeks. The guys we expected to redshirt are within the allowed number of games and players like Clayton Tune were not redshirted, as expected.
Of course, I did a mini deep dive on returning production looking ahead towards 2020:
· 45 different players started at least 1 game during the 2019 season. The divide is nearly dead even, with 24 different offensive starters and 21 on defense.
· Out of those 45 players, 38 are projected to return in 2020. One of those player’s status is in legal limbo (Ka’Darian Smith) and another we think at least has an outside shot at being granted a medical redshirt (Jarrid Williams).
· The Cougar specialists don’t have “starts” counted, but in terms of departing production the team does lose Ray Guy finalist (hopefully soon-to-be winner) Dane Roy and absurdly consistent long snapper Nick Wildberger. All-conference kicker Dalton Witherspoon is the lone returning specialist.
· As of right now the only position groups projected to lose multiple players who made a start are the offensive and defensive lines. Considering how many different players started and/or were in the rotation I don’t expect these will be crippling losses.
One last caveat is that the players I list as ‘redshirt eligible’ aren’t the totality of who the staff ends up redshirting. I am limiting this to players who have seen at least some game action, because I am only so crazy and/or dedicated.
Announced Redshirts: RB Mulbah Car (Sr.), WR Keith Corbin (Sr.), OG/C Braylon Jones (Sr.), QB D’Eriq King (Sr.)
Redshirt Eligible: WR Quavon Beckford (Soph.), RB Terrell Brown (Fr.), OT Patrick Paul (Fr.)
Not Redshirt Eligible: TE Bo Alexander (Sr.), RB Patrick Carr (Sr.), OT Josh Jones (Sr.), WR Courtney Lark (Sr.), WR Terry Mark (Sr.), P Dane Roy (Sr.), LS Nick Wildberger (Sr.), OT Jarrid Williams (Sr.)**, OG Dennis Bardwell (Jr.), WR Cole McGowan (Jr.), OG Keenan Murphy (Jr.), OG Gio Pancotti (Jr.), RB Kyle Porter (Jr.), RB Chandler Smith (Jr.), WR Marquez Stevenson (Jr.), K Dalton Witherspoon (Jr.), OT Jordan Boatman (Soph.), WR Tre’von Bradley (Soph.), TE Shane Creamer (Soph.), TE Parker Eichenberger (Soph.), WR Jeremy Singleton (Soph.), WR Bryson Smith (Soph.), TE Christian Trahan (Soph.), OT Dixie Wooten (Soph.), QB Clayton Tune (Soph.), OG Max Banes (RS-Fr.), C Jack Freeman (RS-Fr.), WR Ja’Kori Morgan (RS-Fr.), RB Kelan Walker (RS-Fr.), QB Logan Holgorsen (Fr.), K Kyle Ramsey (Fr.)
**- Potential medical redshirt
I don’t have any inside information on Jarrid Williams, so take this as the rank speculation that it clearly is here. This was Williams’ 5th year, which on the surface makes him not eligible for a redshirt. But Williams missed most of the season with a foot injury and importantly, only saw action in 4 games, the current NCAA threshold for redshirt eligibility.
Maybe more importantly, I only have a foggy idea of what makes a slam dunk case for getting a 6th year of eligibility. I am not sure even the NCAA knows their criterion. But, it would be awesome to return a player who when healthy graded out as a good pass blocking offensive tackle.
A new face since the last redshirt watch is another offensive lineman: true freshman Patrick Paul. A season-ending high ankle sprain from the departing Josh Jones, and the general Cougar O Line injury crisis, gave Paul a 3-game tryout at left tackle. Nobody wanted to have a true freshman protecting his QBs blind side less than Dana Holgorsen, but Paul getting some seasoning in a lost year while still keeping his redshirt isn’t the worst thing with Jones and likely Williams departing.
As expected, Terrell ‘Smoke’ Brown made a few appearances playing at running back behind Kyle Porter and Patrick Carr and kept his redshirt. I added Quavon Beckford because he is a true sophomore and Holgorsen regarded him highly enough to mention him in one of his weekly press conferences and play him in 3 games.
Announced Redshirt: NONE
Redshirt Eligible: CB Ka’Darian Smith (Sr.)***, S Gleson Sprewell (Jr.), DT Atlias Bell (Jr.), LB Elijah Gooden (Jr.), DE Willie Smith III (Soph.), DE Nelson Ceaser (Fr.), S Ron Nunnery (Fr.), LB Ken Savannah (Fr.)
Not Redshirt Eligible: NG Aymiel Fleming (Sr.), S Darius Gilbert (Sr.), DE Leroy Godfrey (Sr.), LB Jordan Milburn (Sr.), DT Blake Young (Sr.), S Deontay Anderson (Jr.), DE David Anenih (Jr.), LB Jordan Carmouche (Jr.), NG Olivier Charles-Pierre (Jr.), LB Terrance Edgeston (Jr.), DE Taures Payne (Jr.), CB DJ Small (Jr.), S Grant Stuard (Jr.), DE Payton Turner (Jr.), CB Damarion Williams (Jr.), DE Alexander Duke (Soph.), DT Logan Hall (Soph.), DE Noah Jones (Soph.), LB Zamar Kirven (Soph.), CB Shaun Lewis (Soph.), LB Donavan Mutin (Soph.), DT Jamykal Neal (Soph.), S Gervarrius Owens (Soph.), DE Derek Parish (Soph.), S Amaud Willis-Dalton (Soph.), LB DeKalen Goodson (RS-Fr.), S Jordan Moore (RS-Fr.), S Garrison Vaughn (RS-Fr.)
***- Currently suspended from the team
There’s not much movement here, either.
I added freshman Ken Savannah, who saw action in 4 games despite being a walk-on. The staff’s willingness to let Savannah see the field in the maximum number of games to still be redshirt-eligible may be a positive omen for his future here.
The cameo appearances by Nelson Ceaser late in the season, highlighted by a 4th quarter first career sack in the win over Tulsa, were a bright spot in a dreary season. Ceaser was the highest rated recruit Major Applewhite got to commit and Holgorsen’s staff got a nice early win to keep him after the staff change. Another 2019 recruit, Ron Nunnery, saw some late season action and will also redshirt 2019.
Of the non-freshman defensive players redshirting, I expect Gleson Sprewell, Atlias Bell and Willie Smith III to all be in the mix to play some level of big role next year. Sprewell, who started much of 2018 and the first 4 games of 2019, will compete in an incredibly crowded Safeties group. There are returners with extensive experience like Deontay Anderson, Gervarrius Owens, Garrison Vaughn and Jordan Moore and highly-touted newcomers Thabo Mwaniki and Hassan Hypolite.
Ka’Darian Smith was supposed to be among the group of Cougar upperclassmen redshirting, but off the field problems may mean Smith’s career ends in 2019.
My final piece of speculation relates to Colin Samuel. The grad transfer from UCLA was supposed to play his final season in 2019, but ended up missing the entire season with a knee injury. Holgorsen openly speculated about the possibility of petitioning for Samuel getting a 6th year and logically he seems like the kind of player who would get that extra year.
I am wary of using too much logic as it pertains to NCAA decisions, but adding Samuel to what will be a lot deeper and hopefully more effective cornerback group would be yet another positive for 2020.