It was a great year for the Troy football program in Neal Brown’s second season as the Trojans recorded double-digit wins for the first time as an FBS program. Now expectations are sky high going into 2017 and Troy’s ultimate goal will be to run the table and achieve the Group of Five bid for a New Years Six bowl berth.
But to do that, Troy will need some immediate impact players from the 2017 class that currently ranks third in the Sun Belt. We predict who will be those dudes this fall. Let’s ride!
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2016 season was the emergence of Jordan Chunn as the junior running back ran for over 1,300 yards and 16 scores. The Trojans will get Chunn back for the fall but they must find a way to develop some depth quickly in the backfield. Billingsley is currently the only back in this Troy recruiting class and he could be called upon to get some snaps sooner rather than later. With the typical build on an Air Raid scat back, Billingsley has potential to be dangerous in screen game as well as hitting the seams on the inside zone.
Clemons is the jewel of the 2017 class and the Trojans will need him to produce immediately next fall. Gone is DE Rashad Dillard and is 13.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. Clemons should step in immediately and be a starter. Good news for Troy is that the pass rusher from the Palmetto State is already on campus and will learn Les Koenning’s scheme this spring. With written offers from Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Iowa State the talent is obviously there for Clemons to be an all-conference performer.
Gone from Troy is the always dependable Ryan Kay as his eligibility has finally expired after an impressive career. Now enters the true frosh Legassey and Troy will be looking for him to contribute immediately. Legassey has the best chance of all true freshmen to start in 2017 and Troy will need him to be steady to keep up their solid special teams play.
The highest rated high school prospect of the class picked Troy over multiple Group of 5 programs. Included in there are league rivals Appalachian State and Georgia State as well as Colorado State and Western Kentucky. The Trojans lost their two best linebackers last season in Terris Lewis and William Lloyd (117 combined tackles). The need for production at the LB spot is there and Nixon has the skill to contribute. Nixon already has the weight needed to play at the FBS level and he’ll get plenty of looks as training camp opens up this fall.
Another player from the East Mississippi Lions of Last Chance U fame is headed to Troy with his teammate Clemons. Willis has an impressive physique and will easily be the best looking wideout coming of the bus next season. Even though Troy returns a ton at that WR position, there is always room for targets in Brown’s Air Raid attack and Troy could have another dangerous weapon on the outside in Willis.