New Brockton comes into 2019 with a good mixture of veteran players and young, hungry Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks will have to fill the void of departed senior running back Drew Simon – who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in 2018 – and a number of defenders, and plans to do so with a bit of “iron man” football with numerous players playing on both offense and defense.
Jake Holloway, Sr., Defensive Tackle/Offensive Tackle: For the first time in his high school career, 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound Holloway will be playing on both sides of the line of scrimmage as a tackle on both offense and defense.
“It’s rare you have a kid that has the desire to move from a skill position to the line but Jake is an emerging leader on the line,” Holmes said. “He’s going to wreak havoc on the defensive line and be a leader on the offensive line, too.”
Holmes missed the majority of 2018 with a back injury but still managed 19 tackles in just four games. In 2017, he totaled 82 tackles at linebacker. Holmes said one of Holloway’s biggest advantages is his tenacity and endurance.
“He gets tired but he can still play at a high level,” Holmes said. “We’ll have to make him come out (of the game) and make him rest because he would just assume keep playing.”
Kaden Hood, Sr., Wide Receiver/Safety: Hood was a big play receiver in 2018 catching 14 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot, 160-pound receiver averaged nearly 15 yards per catch, but in 2019 he’ll also be serving as a starting safety next to Colton Marsh.
“He’ll play more on defense than he has in the past,” Holmes said. “I think he’ll make a lot of big plays for us in the passing game, though. He has some great hands and can really scoot. He’s really fast.
“On defense, it’s hard to run away from him, so he’ll be able to prevent a lot of big plays on defense, too.”
Matthew Speigner, Sr., Outside Linebacker/Tight End: An Enterprise transfer, Speigner is moving from receiver to outside linebacker and tight end at New Brockton.
“The offensive stuff comes naturally for him but the coolest thing has been watching him turn into a really good player on defense before our eyes,” Holmes said. “I think he will really shine on defense but he’ll also make some play for us on offense, too.”
Speigner is one of New Brockton’s tallest players and that length and size has helped in summer workouts in pass coverage.
At 6-foot-3-inches and 200 pounds, Speigner is one of New Brockton’s biggest linebackers.
Drew Cashin, So., Inside Linebacker: As a freshman, Cashin got plenty of playing time and recorded 28 tackles with two tackles-for-loss, two sacks and a touchdown off of a fumble recovery.
In 2019, the 5-foot-10-inch, 205-pound Cashin will be called on to be one of the leaders of the defense at one of the inside linebacker spots.
“He’s just a sophomore but he’ll make a lot of plays at his spot for us,” Holmes said. “He’s done a great job adapting to how we play inside linebacker and directing traffic there.”
Ryder Tetreault, Sr., Cornerback/Wide Receiver: Teatreault will be one of New Brockton’s starting cornerbacks in 2019 but will also be called on to make plays on offense, as well.
“He’s a great teammate and a really smart player,” Holmes said of his 6-foot, 165-pound receiver. “He does an outstanding job making sure everyone knows what they’re doing (in the secondary). He’ll also catch some balls for us on offense and score touchdowns, but he’ll really make a lot of plays on defense, too.”
CJ Wilkerson, So., Running Back/Cornerback: Wilkerson bounced around the New Brockton defense as a freshman but has settled in at cornerback on defense.
“He’s a young player and when we need a big play he can be that guy,” Holmes said. “CJ could play anywhere we needed him to, there’s no doubt in my mind, but right we need him at cornerback and he’ll be a really good player for us.”
Wilkerson – at 5-foot-7-inches and 165 pounds – will also be called on to carry the football in the Gamecock running game, as well.
De’Shawn McLeod, Sr., Wide Receiver: Injuries forced McLeod to spend the majority of 2018 as a cornerback on defense and he ended the year with 10 tackles and two pass breakups. In 2019, he will revert back to his natural position of receiver.
“We count on him to go get the football,” Holmes said. “We really think he’ll be a big play receiver for us. He can run and with him and Kaden (Hood) on the outside that gives us a lot of speed at that spot.”
The 6-foot, 150-pound receiver is also one of New Brockton’s quickest players.
Kyan Horne, Sr., Running Back: Horne was New Brockton’s No. 2 tailback in 2018 and totaled 262 yards and three touchdowns, but a knee injury sidelined his spring and has threatened his 2019, as well.
If healthy, Holmes expects his 6-foot, 205-pound running back to be the top dog in the Gamecock running game, however.
“If he’s healthy, he’s the dude there,” Holmes said. “He can be a big playmaker for us on offense.”
Julian Noble, Jr., Inside Linebacker: Noble earned playing time as a sophomore and totaled 14 tackles with one tackle-for-loss and two fumble recovers in 2018, but his role will expand in 2019.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Noble will serve as a starting inside linebacker next to Cashin and is expected to be a key contributor this season.
“He’s really taken to the inside linebacker spot and will just continue to get better and better for us,” Holmes said.
Michael Holder, Sr., Offensive Lineman: Holder is coming off of a shoulder injury that has hampered his offseason, but he spent 2017 and 2018 as a starting offensive tackle.
If healthy, the 6-foot-2-inch, 310-pound Holder will be able to play a number of different roles on the offensive line for the Gamecocks, including center, as a key veteran player, as well.