I apologize if I “wear out my welcome” by beating this drum: this is a place you can improve special teams quickly. There are quite a few names with some playing experience on that list from Dudley. Special teams need speed and tend to focus on DBs and LBs…2 of our 3 shallowest rooms (TE being the next, imo). Smith, Morris, Warren, Hammonds, Edwards…all are players who could be on the two coverage teams and the PR team without a problem. Warren is a KR option again - you don’t risk the health of a younger player.
Before anyone notes that several of these are offensive players and I mention DBs and LBs for coverage teams…we had Hammonds, Knox, and Morris on coverage teams this year. Trying to get some speed and some playmakers on the field vs. going deep into the walk-ons/scout team.
It doesn’t leave you with 3-4 true frosh filling those spots. It doesn’t risk having a bunch of defensive starters having to pull double duty. Poor Jonathan Marshall - playing 88 of 91 plays on defense AND being on the punt coverage team.
Morgan & Cunningham not only have a tough as nails body but a heart of gold as well in my opinion.And I truly don’t think they’ll regret it. Another 365 under the tutelage of these coaches will be invaluable.
DD, I think you’ve listed that just about in terms of playing time and that’s where I’d start. I thought the most likely to return and still do was the two linemen in Cunningham and Clary, then Kern, then Warren. Was unsure about Morgan and didn’t have him in my first 4 for that reason. Next up should be Kern. Warren’s recovery will affect his decision the most. But why not come back and get the best rehab possible. Clary needs to decide if he’s gonna get pushed around or wants to do the pushing. Hammonds can really start to shine if the line play is improved with this playcaller. Would like to grab a few defensive players like Gerald or Kelley. Just for some added depth. Also need to make sure Mo Brown isn’t try to out his name in the hat. He’s good.
Hammonds seems to have a big Hog Heart and seemed to re-awaken as the season went along. Has talent that is needed and given what he has put himself through and come out of, then he could a wizened old man for the youngsters like Trey Know who got a brain disconnect somehow this year. Darian Turner needs playing time and he will show his talents, including maybe KR. I agree on Devian Warren being maybe our best KR given the need we had to protect Burks from injury this year…
Cunningham is gonna have to show me more dedication and hustle, his talent exceeds his accomplishment on the field. Seems like that could be right in the Pit Boss wheelhouse if he is not afraid of stepping over his OL coach to help.
As far as the tackle position in the middle of the line, there is hope that Jaylin Williams (from Jones College in Mississippi) will be able to play there. He’s 305 and strong. No one is as strong as Jonathan Marshall, but Williams is a stud.
With both Cunningham and Clary coming back, doesn’t this change how the four remaining scholarships are used? Seems we filled the two offensive linemen internally and neither count against any number constraints.