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Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

2015 Record 9-5

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 2016 Preview

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First year HC Jay Hopson inherits a CUSA championship caliber Southern Mississippi squad in 2016.

Overview: After leading the Golden Eagles from hopeless to the CUSA title game in 2015, Todd Monken suddenly left for the NFL with Jay Hopson getting a team that could make another run at the conference championship.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Shannon Dawson takes over as USM offensive coordinator and the least of his worries is quarterback Nick Mullens who threw for 4,476 yards on 63.5% with 38 TD’s and 12 interceptions. Southern Mississippi loses their top two receiving options  which leaves DJ Thompson, Ito Smith and Marquise Ricard (missed 2015) to pick up the slack with Isaiah Jones and Korey Robertson perhaps stepping up. With Jalen Richard gone, Smith (171-1128) becomes the Golden Eagles primary running back with three starter back on the offensive line while another has starting experience.

Defense: DC Tony Pecoraro was extremely aggressive at Alcorn State where the Braves were the very definition of attacking. DE Dylan Bradley is the Golden Eagles top returning lineman with 12.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks while four others combined for 17.5 TFL. Southern Miss gets back Elijah Parker and Dorian Yancey at linebacker who combined for 13.5 TFL but there are several three star athletes on the roster. The USM secondary is loaded with virtually everyone back with safety D’Nerius Antoine recording 89 tackles including 7.5 TFL with corner Cornell Armstrong breaking up ten passes and picking off two.

Special Teams: Punter Tyler Sarrazin netted just 34 yards per boot while placekicker Stephen Brauchle was strong inside 40 but a non factor at +40 while Southern Miss needs to find returners.

Outlook: The Golden Eagles do have changes in their coaching but the talent on the field is in place to challenge for the conference crown and crack double figures in wins.

Schedule:

9/3                 @ Kentucky

9/10               Savannah State

9/17               Troy

9/24               UTEP

10/1               Rice

10/8               @ UTSA

10/15             @ LSU

10/29             Marshall

11/5               Charlotte

11/12             Old Dominion

11/19             @ North Texas

11/26             Louisiana Tech

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