The Gamecocks are back for a new season of football with a new coach.
Now that the summer is over, Coach John Grass looks to lead the gamecocks to a successful season in his first year as head coach.
Last season, Coach Bill Clark led JSU to an overall 11-4 record. Jacksonville State lost in the FCS Quarterfinals to Eastern Washington with a final score 24-35. The Gamecocks finished 3rd in the Ohio Valley Conference. After an impressive first year as head coach with JSU, Coach Clark decided to move on to coach UAB while Coach Grass moved up to Head Coach.
This season, the Gamecocks return with a total of 18 starters from last season. Nine starters return from offense. Eli Jenkins returns to lead the offense at quarterback. DaMarcus James, who was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, is back for his senior year at running back. Josh Barge, Telvin Brown and Anthony Johnson all return at wide receiver. Max Holcombe returns as the center and is joined on the offensive line with Adam Wright, Blake Burks and Nick Johnson. Six starters return from defense. Sean Watson and Caleb Lawrence return to the defensive line with Chris Landrum at defensive end. The two starting linebackers returning are Dustin Gayton and Jermaine Hough. Rashod Byers is back in the secondary as one of the starting cornerbacks. There are three specialty starters returning. Hamish MacInnes returns as punter, Andrew Dean returns as long snapper, and Telvin Brown is back at kick returner. Alongside the 18 starters, the Gamecocks also have a total of 18 seniors this year.
The Gamecocks are ranked No. 6 in the 2014 Sports Network FCS Top 25 and No. 8 in the FCS Coaches Poll. They are predicted to finish first in the OVC with a total of 10 first-place votes.
The first game will take place in East Lansing, Mich. where the Gamecocks travel to play Michigan State for the first ever meeting between the two. Michigan State only lost one game last season. They are ranked No. 8 in the FBS standings. Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 29.