2023 Louisiana Football Preview: Northwestern State

Northwetsern State Demons

By Grant Chachere

All photos courtesy of Northwestern State Athletics


Northwestern State WR Zach Patterson


Although Northwestern State is coming off of a 4-7 season, they did finish with a winning conference record of 4-2, which was good enough for a third-place finish in the Southland Conference. Considering how hard Northwestern State’s schedule was, their season was an improvement compared to the last few seasons.

The Demons are looking to build off their success with some returning starters from last season’s team along with some key transfers.

Northwestern State RB Scooter Adams


The Demons will have a new starting quarterback in seventh-year senior Tyler Vander Waal (6-4, 220, Gr.), who transferred in from Idaho State. Before he was at Idaho State, Vander Waal was at one point the starting quarterback for the FBS program Wyoming.

Vander Waal will have plenty of options at receiver as the Demons return three of their top five pass catchers from the year before. Leading the group is Zach Patterson (5-11, 180, Sr.) who led the Demons in both receptions and yards with 83 catches and 710 yards with five touchdowns. The Demons also return All-Southland tight end Travon Jones (6-7, 220, So.).

Another name you should watch out for in the receiving corps is Twon Hines (6-0, 185, Jr.), who transferred from Division II Central State University in Ohio. Hines tallied 650 receiving yards and with five touchdown grabs in 2022 while he was with the Mauraders.

At running back, the Demons have Darius Boone Jr. (5-11, 200, Jr.) and Scooter Adams (5-9, 180, R-Sr.).

The offensive line will be led by All-Southland guard D’Andre Richard (6-2, 300, Sr.). Also on the line is offensive tackle Tyler McMillan (6-6, 315, So.), center Brayden Staggs (6-4, 300, Sr., guard Jordan Cooper (6-4, 310, Jr.) and offensive tackle Coby James (6-3, 274, R-So.).

Northwestern State LB Jared Pedraza


The defense will be led by linebacker Jared Pedraza (6-1, 225, Jr.). Pedraza had 70 tackles (11.5 for loss), 2.5 sacks and an interception in 2022. Joining him at linebacker are Trevion Sneed (6-2, 242, So.) and Jaeden Ward (6-2, 220, Sr.)

The defensive line will be led by nose tackle Donovan Green (6-0, 265, Jr.). Green had 31 tackles (2.5 for loss) last season. He will be joined by defensive tackle Nair Sy (6-3, 300, Sr.).

The secondary will be led by All-Southland strong safety Kevin Davis Jr. (6-0, 190, Jr.). davis had 51 tackles (six for loss), three pass breakups and an interception.

Special Teams

Northwestern State will have both a new kicker and punter. True freshman Evan Kearn will handle the kicking duties while Reed Honshtein (5-11, 165, Sr.) will handle the punting duties. Andrew Barnhill (6-0, 225, So.) will handle the long snapping duties. Wide receiver Zach Patterson returns as the return specialist for the Demons.

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