The Muskingum University football team, under the direction of veteran Head Coach Al Logan, returns a wealth of talent to the field in 2017. The Muskies have 22 lettermen back, including eight starters on offense, eight starters on defense and two starters on special teams.
The Muskies' spread-option offense, which racked up 260.6 yards and 15.9 points per game, will be led by the receiving core of senior Damon Jones, junior Darius Hayes-Carruth and junior tight end Granger Long
Jones, a captain, led the team last season with 467 receiving yards on 33 grabs. He scored three touchdowns and averaged 14.2 yards per catch. He enters his final season with 943 career receiving yards.
Hayes-Carruth hauled in 24 receptions for 251 yards and two scores. He averaged 10.5 yards per catch.
Long, a Second Team All-OAC honoree, had a team-best 39 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore tailback Benard Johnson and senior Brett Rosen will anchor the backfield for the Muskies. Johnson will make his debut after playing linebacker in 2016 and Rosen will serve as fullback after making the switch from the defensive side of the ball.
The Muskie defense will be the strength of the team with every starter returning. Leading the charge will be senior linebacker Mick Fishel, junior defensive back Cle'Von Burch, sophomore defensive end Tim Ousley, senior defensive end Chris Weck and junior defensive tackle Staci Wilson.
Fishel, a captain, led the team and ranked 11th in the league in tackles with 76. He enters his final campaign with 183 stops. Burch logged 49 tackles, while Ousley racked up 54 stops and ranked 13th in the OAC with 4.5 sacks. Weck, a captain and Second Team all-league honoree, registered 49 stops and Wilson made 38 hits.
Also helping to aid the defense will be junior defensive back Jakob Yost, junior linebacker Traci Wilson, sophomore defensive back Trocon Keneah, junior defensive back Tre'Von Potts, junior defensive back Caleb Gaiters, junior defensive back Chase Longhouser and junior linebacker Nick Thomas.
Muskingum will also benefit from a blue-chip recruiting class that will add talent and depth to the team.
Muskingum opens the season against Waynesburg on Saturday, September 2. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in McConagha Stadium. The Muskies open Ohio Athletic Conference play at Otterbein on Saturday, September 9. Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m. All of Muskingum's home games will feature free HD video, live stats and live audio on fightingmuskies.com.