Now is the time of year when Athlon Sports and Phil Savage begin posting preseason all-conference selections, raising to the public eye players from which you already expect greatness. But you never know who's going to step up until the season starts.
Last year, Red Wolves like Warren Wand and Tajhea Chambers emerged from obscurity's murky ooze to become legit playmakers for the Sun Belt Champs. Who will rise for Coach Blake Anderson in 2016?
1. Logan Moragne, Redshirt Sophomore, RB
The 5'9" bruiser from Little Rock, AR got a taste of backfield action against Texas State last year when the freshman uncorked a 58 run that fell just short of the endzone. Mostly regulated to special teams work, this could be the year we see more from Moragne, who will be competing behind incumbents Johnston White and Warren Wand.
2. Ben Sukut, Freshman, DB
According to ESPN, the 6'1' 185lb athlete out of San Juan Capistrano, CA was the Red Wolves highest rated recruit in 2016. Sukut resisted offers from Utah State, BYU, Navy and others before keeping his early commitment to Blake Anderson. The kid has a load of talent. Will Anderson reward his loyalty with some PT?
3. Armond Weh-Weh, Junior, RB
OC Buster Faulkner needed a bruiser to soften up defensives for White and Wand. He got it in the form of 6'1" 220lb Weh-Weh, a junior college transfer formerly out of Texas Tech. Weh-Weh provides the backfield bulk that was missing from the Red Wolves arsenal in 2015.
4. Daryl Rollins-Davis, Redshirt Sophomore, RB
The speedy 5'9" back out of Knoxville, TN is believed to be one of the roster's fastest players, bringing even more quickness to an already fleet-footed squad. DR-D is a former Mr. Football of Tennessee with 4.41 speed coming out of high school. Could Rollins-Davis be a larger version of Warren Wand?
5. Justin McInnis, Junior, WR
The Red Wolves are getting taller in 2016, led by the 6'6" McInnis, another great find out of Dodge City C.C. The 3-star receiver had offers from Nevada and Southern Miss, but liked the smell of what Blake Anderson is cooking in Jonesboro. Whether it's Justice Hansen or Chad Voytik under center, the Red Wolves offense will be launching darts all year. McInnis has the look of a player who can contribute immediately.
6. Jacob Atnip, Freshman, OL
Atnip is a 6'5" 300lb behemoth from Sheridan, AR who fell in love with A-State's coaching staff and facilities after one visit. A second team high school All-State selection from USA TODAY, Atnip looks to learn behind an impressive group of offensive linemen this year. But maybe OL Coach Allen Rudolph rolls the dice on Atnip's size and give the big man some reps.
7. Matthew Geurvermont, Redshirt Sophomore, OL
Speaking of Allen Rudolph, the former Hamilton Tiger-Cat coach used his Canadian Connections® to locate this 6'4" 320lb hidden gem from Ontario. The junior college giant's size and skills were lost in tundra. But Jonesboro is expecting big things from Geurvermont, whose three years of eligibility should provide stability after 2016's mass exodus of OL talent. Look for him to make a huge impact this year.
8. Omar Bayless, Redshirt Freshman, WR
You may remember the 6'3" Bayless auditioning for the next Power Rangers movie, but Red Wolves fans have been waiting patiently for the 3-star receiver out of Mississippi to become the hero Arkansas State deserves. Bayless was given reps during spring scrimmages, and while Dijon Paschal, Kendall Sanders and Cameron Echols-Luper are getting the attention, Bayless' athleticism may become Anderson's secret weapon.
9. Darveon Brown, Redshirt Freshman, WR
The 247Sports and Rivals 3-star out of Warren, AR was ranked the 8th best recruit in the state in 2014. Now, with a redshirt year behind him, Red Wolves fans are ready to see Brown's 4.47 speed at work on the gridiron. A-State is already loaded at the wide receiver position, but look for Buster Faulkner to find a way to utilize Brown's height and wheels.
10. William Bradley-King, Freshman, DE
William B-K is strong, as evident by his record setting 186-5 discus throw that set a Missouri high school record this year. Bradley-King plans to bring his mad hurls to the A-State Track Team, but his size and skills might put him on the gridiron in 2016. The Red Wolves defense is stout this year, but DC Joe Cauthen will find a way to utilize this big man's talent sooner rather than later.