EMU Football Camp Outlook: Defense + Special Teams
The strongest defense is always a healthy defense.
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Returning starter: Peyton Price (DT #1)
Listed on two-deep: Mikah Coleman (Leo #1), Carter Evans (DE #1), Tim Grant-Randall (NT #1), Sterling Miles (Leo #2), Ugochukwu Nosike (NT #2), Melvin Swindle II (DT #3), Joseph Zelinsky (DE #2)
Also returns: Maliek Bogard (DE), Jaden Gaines (DE), Carter Gilbert (DE), Adrian Gonzalez (DT), Mikey Haney (DE), Alex Merritt (DT)
Incoming transfers: Ugochukwu Nosike (DT, Butler C.C.)
Incoming freshmen: Messiah Blair (DE), Gary Dorsey Jr. (DL), Luke Fletcher (DE), Malik Tullis (DT), Kevion Wellington (DL)
Eastern’s All-American pass rusher is graduated to the NFL, but it’d be very unfair to say that this team’s D-line is much weaker because of it. Yes, Jose Ramirez was an absolute monster in the backfield — 19.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks — and yes, on paper, there’s only one returning starter coming back from the 2022 unit.
Peyton Price returns to lead the middle of EMU’s D-line with 24 career games played and 7 starts, backed up by the still-young talent Melvin Swindle II. Tim Grant-Randall, in his third year with the team after a move from Blinn College, was a steady part of EMU’s rotation on the interior last year and he opens up camp as the team’s starting Nose. Listed behind TGR is, likewise, a JUCO transfer in Ugo Noskie.
On the edge, EMU’s done a lot of work to get talented guys to develop in the system. Carter Evans, brother of RB Samson Evans, and Mikah Coleman are listed as the team’s #1 edge defenders with Joey Zelensky and Sterling Miles listed as their respective backups. Miles notably had three kicks blocked last year, including one PAT block in the 2022 Idaho Potato Bowl, which was returned for a 2-point score by the EMU special teams and started its big victorious swing. Messiah Blair, the program’s highest-ever-ranked recruit out of Detroit, is a freshman worth highlighting here.
BACK FROM ‘22 BOO-BOOS
Fingers crossed that nothing bad happens to Mikey Haney and Alex Merritt between now and the start of the season because I’d like to have the pleasure of welcoming back to the season on Sept. 1 against Howard.
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