Joe Moglia has done a tremendous job in his tenure at Coastal Carolina and the Chanticleers are primed for their debut in the Sun Belt this season. However Moglia will take a medical leave of absence and former Charleston Southern head coach Jamey Chadwell will coach the Chants in 2017. Coastal has some key spots to replace in 2017 as the team will rely on a good portion of young players for 2017.
The position that all eyes are on is kind of a mess for Coastal as they have yet to name a starting quarterback for 2017. Reports say that there could be upwards of seven guys vying for the spot. Josh Stilley opened the season as the starter for the Chants in 2016 but lost his spot just three games in due to injury. Tyler Keane provided solid play through the next eight games as he would have a 7-1 record before being limited down the stretch due to injuries.
Coastal did bring in graduate QB Austin Wilson from Syracuse who played in the Orange’s matchups against Clemson and Florida State. One could suspect either Stilley or Keane will be the starter on Week 1 vs UMass but we’re less than a month away and apparently at this point it is still a close call between the coaching staff.
Coastal Carolina is losing its all time leading rusher from a year ago in De’Angelo Henderson, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos. Coastal still seems to be in good hands at the running back position as senior Osharmar Abercrombie will be the lead back for the Chants in 2017. Abercombie’s primary backup will be Boston College transfer Marcus Outlow, who sat out 2016 due to transfer rule.
Coastal will also suffer a big loss within its receiving corps as they lose all conference receiver Bruce Mapp. Explosive return man/receiver Chris Jones returns as a playmaker for the Chants. A name to also watch will be sophomore Ky’Jon Tyler who is also a threat in the return game as well as a wide out. Without a doubt wide receiver will be the young spot on the Coastal team for 2017 as upwards of six or seven redshirt freshman could emerge and have a impact.
The big guys up front will also look a little different for Coastal in 2017 as they lose two All-Americans in Voghens Larrieux and Sam Ekwonike from a year ago. Guard Adam Lawhorn will be the leader of this group along with Jamarion Mcbride at center.
On defense Coastal Carolina has some guys to replace also but this is by far a more stable unit than the offense. Senior linebacker Shane Johnson will be one of the leaders of the unit as he will have to replace All-American Alex Scearce. Rounding out the linebacking core will be a pair of young guns in sophomore Laqavious Paul and redshirt freshman Silas Kelly.
The Chants play a 4-3 defense and upfront Coastal has some pretty good talent. CCU returns both defensive ends in Marcus Williams and Myles White who combined for over 15 tackles for loss a year ago. The interior of the defensive front will be manned by Ja’ree Tolbert and Dwayne Price who combined for 47 tackles in 2016. One interesting fact is that Coastal Carolinas front four is under sized by FBS standards as they only average out around 250 pounds.
Anthony Chesley is by far the leader of the secondary. CCU has a good amount of returning players at the DB roles but the problem is not many of them have game experience. Coastal had a secondary that intercepted 21 passes on the year in 2016 and Chesley is the only returning player who had more than one of those interceptions from a year ago.
As mentioned above Ky’Jon Tyler will be a guy to watch in the return game for CCU along with Chris Jones. Coastal will have to find a replacement for place kicker Ryan Granger who went 17-21 on kicks a year ago and set school records in 2015 and 2016 for kicks made in each of the last two seasons.
Kickoff specialist Masamitsu Ishibashi is a possible replacement for Granger. The specialist round out with returning long snapper Connor Kubala and punter Evan Rabon both of whom are two year starters. Rabon is also another possible replacement for field goal duty.
Man is the Sun Belt giving Coastal Carolina a rude welcome. CCU must travel to Arkansas State and Appalachian State in back-to-back weeks in October. Games against Troy, Georgia Southern and Idaho are very tough as well. The only winnable game I see in Sun Belt play is Texas State and possibly Louisiana Monroe, as I believe Georgia State might have just a little too much talent for CCU to handle in 2017.
Non-conference wise there are a few winnable games for the Chants. I see a win against FCS Western Illinois, with UMass and UAB both being contests that Coastal could pull W’s out of also. Arkansas however will be a different story as the Hogs will have too much for CCU to handle.
The over/under for CCU is four wins on the year and that is right on par with where I see the max win total ending up. The team will be motivated to play strong football with Moglia out for the season so anything is possible.