University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
By Grant Chachere
In Terry Bowden’s third year as the head coach, ULM is attempting to seek its first bowl game since the 2012 season. However, there is one massive problem: the Warhawks got torpedoed by the transfer portal.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Chandler Rogers, transferred to North Texas while its left tackle, Victor Cutler, transferred to Ohio State. It also doesn’t help that its No.1 rusher and No.3 rushers, Malik Jackson and Andrew Henry hit the portal as well with Jackson going to Jacksonville State and Henry going to New Mexico, respectively.
Bowden will have a tough task ahead of him in a very tough Sun Belt Conference that has a lot of talented teams while coaching a team that is dealing with a lot of uncertainty.
Although this team will have a lot of uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball, the one thing that is for certain is wide receiver Tyrone Howell (6-2- 202, Gr.). Howell recorded 50 receptions for 852 yards with six touchdowns.
Wide receiver Alred Luke (5-8, 175, R-So.) returns after having 23 catches for 293 yards with a touchdown and will have a much bigger role in this offense.
Jiya Wright (6-1, 202, Sr.) will be Rogers’ replacement at the quarterback spot. He hardly saw any playing time last year as his only appearance was the first game against Texas last season. However, Wright does have some experience as a starting quarterback as he went 9/17 for 158 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a 59-28 loss against Appalachian State on Oct. 30, 2021. He also rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown.
The offensive line will have returning starters in Zaraian McGill (6-1, 314, Jr.), Telleck Lockette (6-3, 335, Sr.) and Keydrell Lewis (6-6, 324, Jr.).
To replace Jackson and Henry, the Warhawks picked up two downhill running backs out of the transfer portal in Miami (FL) transfer Thad Franklin (6-0, 235) and Ole Miss transfer Isaiah Woullard (5-9, 215, Gr.)
While the offense suffered damaging losses to its offense due to the portal, the defense picked up two key pieces in Florida International transfer CB Andrew Volmar (6-1, 166, Jr.) and Kent State transfer defensive tackle Adin Huntington (6-1, 281, Jr.)
Volmar had an interception and six pass breakups in 2022. Volmar will compete with Deuce Mayberry and David Godsey for the starting corner spot. Joining the winner of that battle on the other side of the field will be cornerback Lu Tillery (5-10, 180, Jr.) who started every game last season and picked up 44 tackles and four sacks.
Huntington recorded three sacks and eight tackles for a loss while he was at Kent State the previous three seasons. Joining Huntington on the defensive line will be defensive end Kenard Snyder (6-0, 248, R.So.). Snyder had 61 tackles with 10.5 for a loss and one sack. Another player to look out for on the D-Line is Coffeyville Community College transfer defensive end Joseph Bakhole (6-3, 250, Jr.).
Rover/outside linebacker Tristan Diggers (6-2, 204, Jr.) is the returning leading tackler on this team. Diggers tallied 63 tackles with 3.5 being for a loss, one sack, two pass breakups and three interceptions.
The Warhawks will have both a new kicker and a punter. Junior Derek McCormick will take over the kicking duties while redshirt sophomore Braxton Guilbeau will take over the punting duties.
Wide receiver Alred Luke will be the return specialist for this team.
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