SMITHFIELD, R.I. – With the Bryant University football team set to report on Wednesday, August 2, BryantBulldogs.com breaks down the positional outlook for the Bulldogs heading into camp.
The biggest question mark coming into camp will be at the quarterback position. Three-year starter Dalton Easton graduated in May leaving the Bulldogs with just one QB on the roster that had thrown a pass at Bryant. Junior Kyle Presti (Kinnelon, N.J.) appeared in three games last season, including a start at Maine, finishing 0-for-1 in pass attempts.
The Black and Gold have brought in two transfer QBs and signed two more in February. Graduate student Devon Ray (Bedminster, N.J.) joined the Bulldogs in January from Monmouth, while junior Price Wilson (Marietta, Ga.) comes to Smithfield after spending two years at FBS-member Louisiana Tech. Freshmen Chris Hindle (Cranston, R.I.) and Broghean McGovern (Haverhill, Mass.) were both standout QBs in high school, with Hindle leading Bishop Hendricken to back-to-back state titles.
Another big positional battle in camp will be at running back. Bryant is coming off its lowest rushing totals in DI program history in 2016 and there could be a bevy of new faces in the backfield this fall.
Junior Brenden Femiano (Northport, N.Y.) is the most experienced returner, having rushed for 366 yards and four touchdowns in seven games last fall. A big group of underclassmen will battle during camp. That group includes Antonio Giannico (Mahopac, N.Y.), Jake Keenan (Tyngsborough, Mass.), Alfred Dorbor (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Isaac McCray (Middletown, R.I.).
Bryant will need to replace the production that was lost with the graduation of Hunter Taute. The do-everything back was an All-NEC performer last season. The Bulldogs have four fullbacks listed on the roster, with only sophomore Kyle Mann (Cutler Bay, Fla.) having taken snaps there. Senior Jake Wiswall (Great River, N.Y.) has switched to fullback after three years as a linebacker and has appeared in all 22 games on special teams the last two seasons.
Bryant's receivers put up record-breaking numbers last season but will have to replace a few key members this fall. Entering training camp, senior Matt Sewall (Portsmouth, R.I.), classmate Aaron Aryee (Hartford, Conn.) and sophomore Jean Constant (Delray Beach, Fla.) are the headliners. The trio were three of Bryant's top six pass catchers last fall, combining for nine TD receptions.
The fun part of camp will be seeing who else steps up. There won't be a shortage of options, as the Black and Gold currently have 18 listed on the roster and another two that can play multiple positions. One big addition is senior Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.), a Bryant lacrosse standout who is rejoining the football program this fall.
Entering camp, this position appears to be one of the most experienced for the Bulldogs. A quartet of seniors in Joe Fine (Cumberland, R.I.), Pat Danner (Plymouth, Mass.), Ken Blasser (Pembroke, Mass.) and Ryan Carr (East Northport, N.Y.), along with two underclassmen, will make this position battle fun to watch.
A great deal of Coach Perry's "Play Fast" mentality relies on the offensive line. With 16 listed on the preseason roster, the Bulldogs will have the depth going into camp. Two of the key players entering camp will be senior Shawn Gholson (Petersburg, Va.) and junior Andrew Jones (Kennett Square, Pa.). Gholson started all 11 games at left guard last fall, while Jones saw considerable time as Bryant's center last year.
Bryant's co-captains for 2017 both call the defensive line home. Juniors Dillon Guthro (Newburyport, Mass.) and Kevin Lazo (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) give the Bulldogs big-time skill on the edge and up the middle. The thing to watch in camp will be how the rest of the group sifts out. Sophomore Tomas Wright (St. Augustine, Fla.) was one of the best freshmen defensive players in the league last year and could be a force this season.
This position could be one of Bryant's most exciting to watch in camp this August. There are no seniors listed among a group that is headlined by All-NEC performer Thomas Costigan (Stamford, Conn.) and sophomore Jesse Nemerowicz (Hudson, Mass.). The duo could be one of the best in the NEC. Watching the rest of the group mature will be a highlight of the camp.
This group features 17 on the preseason roster. It is a group that has experience in spots but will be very young in others. The upperclassmen quartet of Pat Champagnie (Boston, Mass.), Torrey Dixon (Dumfries, Va.), Danny Hughes (Shoreham, N.Y.) and Malik Streater (Greensboro, N.C.) will be a fun group to watch as camp roles on. This group also features several underclassmen that could see a healthy amount of playing time in the fall.
Bryant is facing the task of replacing the departed Ricky Perez and Drew Chretien this season. Last year, Perez handled kickoffs and place kicking duties, while Chretien was the punter. With that being said, all eyes could be on the kickers this August. Sophomore Gavin Rowley (Hampstead, Md.) saw time in kickoffs last year and will be one to watch.