Last year the Bucs made monumental strides in the 9-3 season that ended just short of a playoff berth. They would jump out to a surprising start to the year by beating Appalachain State in Boone. CSU then solidified their position in the top tier of the Big South by knocking off Coastal Carolina, which gave the Bucs the inside track to a potential first Big South Championship. Unfortunately they would come up just short, losing to Liberty in the final game of the year, which allowed Coastal to take the playoff bid.
The CSU offense will have one of the premier backs in the Big South to work with this year in Christian Reyes. Reyes totaled 1,254 yards on the ground last season, which leads all returning players. Mike Holloway will be the number two back after averaging over 10.5 yards per carry in his freshman campaign. Jamey Chadwell should have no problem running his run heavy offense through Reyes and Holloway this season.
A big factor for the Bucs this year will be sophomore quarterback, Danny Croghan III. The Big South Freshman of the Year had a modest 1,014 yards passing with 7 TDs and 4 interceptions, and also added 225 yards on the ground. Nothing too eye popping, but with three years of eligibility left, could this be the guy that takes the Bucs to the next level? He’ll have Kevin Glears and Nathan Perera to work with. Glears led the team with 456 yards receiving last season and Perera was a first-team all Big South player in 2011 but has only played three games over the past two seasons.
There is some uncertainty this year for the Charleston Southern defense after losing quite a few key players from last year. The linebacking and cornerback groups will look quite a bit different, and it’s hard to say who will step up and take on a large role. CSU will have some leaders to look to though. Safety, Demaris Freeman, led the team with 90 tackles last year, and DE Dylan Black recorded 12 TFL and 3.5 sacks. As a unit, though, the Bucs’ defense is unproven.
Charleston Southern will have a solid squad in 2014, but I don’t think they are legitimate contenders for a Big South Championship. They have to play both Liberty and Coastal on the road this year, and it seems improbable that they could win either game. Even if they could pull off a win in one of those games, there is a good chance that a one loss conference season won’t be enough. CSU will probably find themselves back in the middle of the pack.