How they stack up
Outlook: The Trojans have some heavy offensive firepower to replace, and will lean on slot receiving dynamo Dupree Hart to shoulder big portions of the production load this year. Hart will be quarterback Harper Woods’ best buddy, a reliable pair of hands close to the line of scrimmage that can create yards after the catch. Sizable sophomore receiver Logan Rudolph should help in that regard too. Cory McCoy, Davion Blake and Weston King are three more receivers who could catch a lot of passes this fall.
Northwestern has a solid set of backs in junior Julian Shockley, senior Chris Bowler and sophomore Jerry Howard. Up front there are more questions but Richardson has some replacements ready to step in for Junior Williams, Raydonn McCloud and J.P. Titus, who all graduated.
Defensively, the cupboard was also cleaned out a bit. Defensive end Chris Bouyer should be a pain in opposing teams’ side up front. Junior Trae’von Hinton, who transferred from South Pointe, will make an impact at linebacker, along with senior Gabe Gresham, while Desmond Leak, Andarius Whitlock and T.C. Caldwell will have to step their games up to make up for talent losses in the secondary.
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Departed: QB Mason Rudolph, LB Russell Hubbs, LB Josh Miller, WR Quadarius Fair, OL J.P. Titus, OL Raydonn McCloud, DB Corey Seargent, DB Jaquavious Mackey, DB Brayon McCoy
Key players: RB Julian Shockley, WR Dupree Hart, LB Gabe Gresham, LB Trae’von Hinton, DE Chris Bouyer, DB Desmond Leak, WR Logan Rudolph, OL Jeremiah Trotter, OL Damontre Buckson, QB Harper Woods
Richardson said: “There’s no pressure on these guys. At Northwestern you get a chance to play on ESPN, which is really the norm now. The pressure on anyone, is really with the coaching, to make sure the players do not feel that pressure or the anxiety of ‘I need to do this because of what’s happened in the past.’
Did you know? Northwestern and Rock Hill will not play in the regular season finale for the first time since the 2009 season. The Trojans closed out that season with Gaffney, and will do so again this year after the Indians rejoined the region during realignment. Northwestern hasn’t lost a season finale since Rock Hill won 21-6 in 2005’s last regular season contest.