Saturday is senior day and 17 players will be recognized – Tolen Avery, BJ Farrow, Devin Fisher, Ben Fiordelise, Mitchell Hurtado, Corbin Jackson, David Jeremiah, Damian King, David King, Julio Lozano, Kentory Matthews, James Passmore, Jeremy Peters, Josh Tully, Juwan Wells, Rud Yearick, and Daniel Zapata.
“They were the first group to be able to play in the playoffs here in 2014,” Gill said of this group of seniors. “They were a part of some special situations here historically beating the #1 team in the country, Coastal, went to the playoffs, we beat James Madison. These guys were a part of the tradition, a part of the things that got established, and really just did a fantastic job of establishing this program.”
B.J. Farrow, David King, Julio Lozano, Kentory Matthews, and James Passmore have already gotten their bachelor’s degree and are currently working towards their master’s.
David Jeremiah, Josh Tully, Rud Yearick, and Daniel Zapata are all being recognized despite still having eligibility remaining.
“(This is a) very special group,” Gill said of the seniors. “They changed the culture in what were trying to get done, as far as guys believing truly in what we’re trying to get done on the field, off the field, obviously from a spiritual side. There are some strong guys in this group. I’m glad I had the privilege and honor to teach, to develop, to inspire, and to love all these young men, and I thank them for what they’ve accomplished.”
Hall of Fame Weekend
Coach Gill made it a point to highlight the Hall of Fame inductees that will be recognized on Saturday, specifically Rashad Jennings.
“He’s an outstanding person,” Gill said of Rashad. “He’s done a lot of great things for our society, not just the football part of it. It’s great to have him be a part of this family. He laid down the blood, sweat, and tears, and laid a strong foundation.”
Other HOF inductees include Peter Aluma (men’s basketball), Frank Landrey (men’s golf coach), Danielle (McNaney) Detmer (track & field), and Warren Stewart (wrestling).
With the new redshirt rule that allows players to play in up to 4 games yet still retain their year of eligibility, it has allowed Coach Gill to get some younger guys playing time and some older guys an extra year.
Wide receiver Damian King and kicker Alex Probert are two guys that have missed the majority of the season due to injury. Both will not see the field Saturday against Norfolk State, and with King only playing in 3 games and Probert in 4, it gives them the ability to redshirt.
“We will talk about it here,” Gill said in reference to if Damian King will redshirt and come back next season despite participating in senior day festivities. “Give him an opportunity after the season academically and take care of all his things injury-wise, see what’s all taken place. (I) just told him right now to focus on his studies, and we will continue to talk about (redshirting) at the appropriate time.”
On Probert redshirting, Gill said, “That’s a possibility, that’s there. He’s played in 4 ball games, so that’s how we’re going to approach it.”
Linebacker Tyren Dupree and defensive back Marcellous Harris are two freshmen that have seen playing time in 4 games already this season, primarily on special teams, and are not likely to play Saturday as they will likely redshirt.
Other true freshmen who have not seen playing time in 4 games, but could play Saturday include defensive back Hunter Goetz and offensive lineman Jacob Bodden, according to Gill. Wide receiver Noah Frith has played in just 3 games and could play Saturday and still redshirt.
As mentioned earlier in the season, wide receiver Kevin Shaa and defensive back Jimmy Faulks have both redshirted this season. Shaa played in the first 4 games, Faulks has not played at all this season.
Defensive back Kimani Donaldson is a true freshman that has played in just 3 games this season, and would be eligible for a redshirt.
True freshmen that have already played in more than 4 games and will not redshirt are Austin Lewis, Javon Scruggs, and JT Wood.
Tight end Zac Foutz, wide receivers Khaleb Coleman and Damian King, kicker Alex Probert, and offensive lineman Damian Bounds are all out this week.