After a transition from the NEC to the Big South, Monmouth will be entering their first season of full scholarship FCS football. Today we’ll be looking at what the Hawks will be bringing to the Big South in 2014.


Last Season:

The Hawks went 6-6 as an independent last year, led by a strong rushing attack and stout defense. K.B. Asante and Julian Hayes were a two headed monster, both amassing over 1,000 yards on the ground for the Hawks in 2013.

Though not conference foes last season, Liberty and Monmouth squared off in what would be Monmouth’s worst loss of the season in a 45-15 drubbing. Darrin Peterson led the Flames with 124 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the Liberty defense would present the Hawks with the most trouble, intercepting Brandon Hill three times.

Though Monmouth will have to do without their 2013 leading rusher, Julian Hayes, Kevin Callahan, the only head coach in Monmouth’s 14 year football history, will still present a balanced attack on offense. This means K.B. Asante will be carrying the mail for the Hawks this year, something he is certainly capable of. Asante racked up 1080 yards last year (90 per game), while averaging six yards per carry. No one else averaged over five yards per game last year for the Hawks, so it’s hard to say who will step up to offer Asante some relief.

monmouthBrandon Hill will give Monmouth a veteran presence behind center this year. The senior amassed 2,356 yards passing last season, completing 56% of his passing while accruing a 19-11 TD-Int ratio. His leading wide receiver will be Mike McLafferty, who averaged the team high 55 yards receiving per game. Lamar Davenport will be Hill’s second target after a solid 2013 campaign.

It is hard to say what the Monmouth defense will look like without the presence of Dave Damirgian. Damirgian was credited with 81 tackles last year along with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. The Hawks will also miss the pass rush of Leslie Darnell, who recorded 7.5 sacks in 2013.

The Monmouth defense is looking pretty depleted after the 2013-2014 turnover, losing their top four tacklers, their leading pass rusher, and their leading interceptor. They will need some guys to step up big time. Perhaps one guy to keep your eye on is linebacker, John Sieczkowski, who really seemed to blossom on the back stretch of the 2013 season.

2014 Outlook
It’s going to take some time for Monmouth to be a real competitor in the Big South, but it will be interesting to see where they stack up this season. They will get both Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern at home, so those two plus Presbyterian will give the Hawks three very winnable match ups in their inaugural Big South season. Maybe Monmouth will take advantage and surprise some people. That, or it could be a long year for the Hawks.