| @Towson_FB Prospects Compete For Playing Time
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 04/08/2012
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By MAT SCHLISSEL
TowsonTigers.com

Last spring, there were a lot uncertainties on the Tiger football team. At quarterback, Peter Athens was coming back off a redshirt season and was the only player who had seen significant time. At wide receiver, Tom RyanErron Banks and Alex Blake were the most experienced players but somebody needed to step up and an improved quarterback situation could help their situation. The running game was waiting on the offensive line to gell, but there was some major talent and depth that was just waiting to be unleashed.
 
On defense, Towson had to replace all-CAA defensive tackle Yaky Ibia and there were concerns about the depth and quality of the cornerback position.
 
Most of those questions were answered during preseason practice in August when Grant Enders arrived from Lackawanna Junior College to take over at quarterback. They also added UConn transfers Gerrard Sheppard and Leon Kinnard to supply more speed and size to the receiving corps.

The offensive line, with four sophomores and a senior, gelled into a more aggressive, run-blocking unit. When that happened, along with the emergence of tight end James Oboh and fullback Tyler Wharton as additions to the passing game, Towson was able to display their talented array of running backs led by Terrance West and Dominique Booker.
 
At cornerback, the Tigers started senior Justin Harris, who played wide receiver and moved to to the defensive backfield in 2010. True sophomore Corey Ford was back for his second year and they had to play Tye Smith, a first-year freshman.
 
This year, the Tigers probably won't have to play a first-year freshman at cornerback. That's because they added junior Jordan Love from Georgia and redshirt freshman Ben Harvey from South Carolina.
 
Love was recruited by head coach Rob Ambrose coming of high school. He played at Gilman H.S. in Baltimore and then moved.

Coach Ambrose says, "I recruited Jordan (Love) in high school. He played at famed Gilman HS and then moved on to Virginia's Deep Run H.S. where he was named number one cornerback in the state. Harvey walked on at South Carolina after playing at Montgomery County powerhouse Good Counsel H.S."
 
"Jordan ended up finishing as the nickel," said Ambrose.  "He wanted to be an every down corner. Ben walked on at South Carolina and they loved him. He didn't
play much in high school. He was going to play eventually but he didn't' want to wait (at South Carolina)."
 
Love will likely start at one corner spot while the other spot has Smith, Ford and Harvey all pushing for the starting job.
 
"We have some guys that are beat up but we definitely raised the talent pool all around at corner," said Ambrose. "If we had to go to (play) today, we'd have a lot
of guys that can play. It's better than only having a couple that can play."
 
At strong safety, the Tigers must replace senior Nick Oates and are looking to find somebody to play next to All-CAA senior-to-be Jordan Dangerfield. Towson brought in junior transfer Darrell Givens (6-1, 195) from Rutgers, but redshirt sophomore Thomas Bradley (6-2, 200) isn't ready to give up his spot.
 
"Givens was so good in high school," said Ambrose. "When he was a true sophomore, he would go to the combines with the juniors and kick their (rear end). He could have
gone anywhere in the country and went to Rutgers. He did ok. He wasn't focused on the true important goals. He has talent and needed a second chance. We had a very good closed door meeting. I told him if you (throw) it away, I'm going to boot you out the door.  He's been fantastic in the last two months."
 
At defensive tackle, Towson has to replace Marcus Valentine, who graduated. Matt Morgan (6-3, 280)  returns for his senior season, while Towson brought in sophomore Western Michigan transfer Brendan Gannon (6-2, 260) to compete for playing time.

He earned All-MIAA honors twice at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore and led the team with 98 tackles as a senior. He moved on to Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) for one year and made 64 tackles with eight sacks in one year. Junior Arnold Farmer (6-1, 325) is one of the strongest players on the team and might be ready to play full-time. Redshirt freshman Jon Desir (6-5, 310) will also be in the mix.
 
"The interior is going to be a dogfight," said Ambrose before spring practice began. "Matt Morgan is already 280 and he'll do both (end and tackle). I expect us to be
better. He likes the idea of his versatilitiy. He's more excited. It's not easy. It's a different mentalilty inside than outside."

On offense, Towson needs to replace All-American right tackle Hank Glackin Junior college transfer Jake McDowell (6-5, 290) arrives from Golden West Junior College and played his high school back at Los Alamitos (Ca.). He's batting redshirt freshman Jake. Schunke (6-5, 300) and Cory Kirby (6-6, 285) for the right tackle spot.
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"McDowell has great feet and is big enough," said Ambrose. "He's a 300-pounder that moves likes a 260-pounder."
 
With two-time All-CAA fullback Tyler Wharton trying to make at the next level, the Tigers have big shoes to fill. True freshman Dreon Johnson (6-0, 235) is getting a shot along with sophomore Josh Joannides (5-11, 235), who played on the defensive side of the ball. Fullback is one of Ambrose's biggest concern this spring.
 
"We're not nearly as far long as long as I'd like to it to be," said Ambrose after last Saturday's scrimmage. "We're competitive. But at right tackle, we're probably a little more competitive. I feel a little stronger about the result.".
 
 
 

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