April 6, 2010
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - After a long weekend to spend the Easter holiday with family, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team is back to the X's and O's of spring ball. The team will spend Tuesday in the weight room, before stepping back on the field Wednesday for and 8 a.m. workout. Wednesday's practice will be the fifth of 15 scheduled workouts.
"The first week of practice went really well," said 2009 Southland Conference Coach of the Year J.C. Harper. "It almost feels like we've had more than just four practices due to the comfort level we have with one another. Along with the number of players we have returning, we also return our whole staff which is rare in this day and age."
Among those key returnees is quarterback Jeremy Moses. The 2009 SLC Co-Player of the Year, Moses enters his final season as the school's all-time leader in completions, touchdown passes, passing yards and total offense, but he will be working with a new cast of characters in 2010. Receivers Duane Brooks, Contrevious Parks and Aaron Rhea, and running backs Vincent Pervis and Tyrone Ross have exhausted their eligibility.
The good news is that injuries at the receiver position late in the year forced SFA to utilize some of its younger athletes down the stretch and they produced. Sophomore Gralyn Crawford started all 13 games last season finishing third on the team with 51 catches for 785 yards and seven touchdowns. Freshman Cordell Roberson benefited from the early playing time. He finished the year averaging 19 yards per catch, and recorded four scores on the season.
Sophomore Romonté Hampton appears ready to take over the reigns at running back. The 5-9, speedster from Tyler carried the ball 71 times for 324 yards and four touchdowns last season, and also hauled in 16 passes during his rookie season.
Defensively, the Lumberjacks return two of the top players in the league in two-time All-American linebacker Jabara Williams and 2009 SLC Newcomer of the Year Andre Banks (corner back). Williams enters his senior season with more than 300 career tackles, and will be a preseason favorite for the Buck Buchanan Award. Banks was key in helping turn an SFA's secondary into one of the tops in the conference.
While SFA returns eight starters on defense from the 2009 season, including eight of its top nine in terms of total tackles, the SFA defensive front will have to replace both defensive ends. Both Andre Hicks and two-time All-American Tim Knicky have used up their eligibility, but the 'Jacks return a trio of seniors who should pick up the slack in Jacob Fincher, Broderick Gaffney and Rainey Sternes.
SFA will host its annual Spring Game Saturday, April 24th at 6 p.m. in Homer Bryce Stadium. The scrimmage will end the team's spring drills.