Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Captain, My Captain - Hobart Announces 2017 Captains

Hobart OC Jon Drach tweeted out the 2017 Captains of your Hobart College Statesmen Football team last Thursday. It's a smaller group than in previous years, but still an accomplished one.

The Captains are (all rising):

SR LB Almamy Conde - Conde led the Statesmen defense with 96 total, including 46 solo, stops in 2016. He started all 11 games after starting five as a SO. Conde earned 2nd team All-League honors for finishing fifth in the LL overall in tackles.
SR DL Zack Robak - Robak overcame injuries early in his career to start all 11 games in 2016 and produce 47 total tackles, including six TFL and three sacks. Robak has tallied 91 total tackles, 10.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks for his career.
SR QB Shane Sweeney - Sweeney rewrote many Statesmen passing records, throwing for nearly 3,500 yards and 36 passing TDs last season. Sweeney earned LL OPOTY, 1st team All-League, 1st team All-ECAC and D3football.com All-American Honorable Mention, among other honors.
SR TE Zach Withers - Withers is an excellent blocker and receiver, scoring two TDs in the NCAA playoffs against Mount Union. He has 42 receptions in the 31 games he's appeared in for the Statesmen, gaining 484 yards and scoring six TDs.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shed Works Out for NFL Scouts, 6 Earn NFF Honors

The "Boz" was packed and rowdy a week ago, Wednesday, April 5th, as the Hobart College Statesmen hosted local rival, and (then) #2 ranked Syracuse in lacrosse. A great picture of that capacity crowd can be seen below:

During the Spectrum broadcast Hobart Football D3football.com 1st Team All-American and rising SR WR Brandon Shed was interviewed by Mark Collins (who also happens to be an alumnus, Class of 1982). He commented on how he was going to be looked at by NFL scouts on Monday, April 10. Hopefully that workout went well.

HWSAthletics.com also announced on April 11 that six members of the Class of 2017 earned recognition from the National Football Foundation for their excellence in the classroom. A link to that announcement can be found here.

The student athletes honored were:

SR FB Sean Bright
SR RB Bradley Burns
SR WR Sean Cunningham
SR DE James Hedger
SR WR Jack Pfohl 
SR OL Nick Testani

Congratulations to these soon to be Hobart graduates on a great academic (and football) year!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Behind Enemy Lines (LL 2017 Schedule News)

At this point pretty much all of Hobart's Liberty League (LL) rivals have released their 2017 football game schedules. Ithaca, Saint Lawrence, Union and RPI published theirs either via social media and/or directly on their athletics websites in the last couple of weeks. In case you missed it, I reported on Hobart's 10 game schedule back on 2/13/17 and once again on 3/21/17 after the exciting announcement of adding Saint John Fisher.

The only holdout is Rochester at this point, but we can expect the Yellow Jackets to likely announce their dates later this spring. Their LL game schedule is easy to deduce with the five other programs already out there, but it remains to be seen if OOC games with Catholic (who recently joined the NEWMAC), for example, will be in play again for 2017? I have read online that UofR has agreed to play Alfred (although they did have a game against Alfred State last season, but the Pioneers have joined the ECFC, so that series may be off now that Alfred State has landed in a new conference) but that's about it. I emailed their SID today and will provide an update when I hear back from him.

Without further ado, let's get started taking a look at SLU's schedule:

Wk 1 @ Utica
Wk 2 @ Norwich
Wk 3 vs. Ithaca* (update as of 4/20/17 - this date is confirmed)
Wk 4 Bye*
Wk 5 @ WNEU (defending NEFC, now CCC, Champions, 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 6 @ Union
Wk 7 vs. Buffalo State (who we now know should be a LL member by next season)
Wk 8 vs. Rochester
Wk 9 vs. RPI
Wk 10 @ Hobart
Wk 11 vs. Brockport

That's a pretty tough schedule for the Saints, but it shows they realized that their strength of schedule (SoS) probably kept them out of an at-large (aka Pool C) playoff bid in 2016 even after going 9-1. They definitely won't have SoS issues this fall pairing up with three Empire 8 teams and an OCC game against a 2016 NCAA playoff team in WNEU.

The only questions I'd have about this schedule would be:

- How will the Saints' defense reload after graduating a very large SR class?
- How will they fare having only one home game in the first six weeks of the season?
- Will this tougher OCC schedule cost them in the hunt for a playoff berth?

Now we go to Ithaca, which interestingly enough, has the game against the Saints pegged for Wk 4, not Wk 3. That's probably a typo, but here's the Bombers schedule:

Wk 1 vs. Alfred (Undefeated Empire 8 Champions and 2016 National quarterfinalists)
Wk 2 @ Brockport
Wk 3 @ SLU*
Wk 4 Bye
Wk 5 vs. Hobart
Wk 6 @ Rochester
Wk 7 @ RPI
Wk 8 vs. Saint John Fisher
Wk 9 @ Utica
Wk 10 vs. Union
Wk 11 vs. Cortland (Cortaca Jug rivalry game)

Another tough slate, especially for a program with a new coaching staff and questions coming off a disappointing 5-5 campaign in 2016. It's possible the Bombers could be 0-3 when they host the Statesmen in Wk 5 (mostly likely off a bye) but Hobart can't be too overconfident as the Statesmen have never won a game at Butterfield Stadium. All five of Hobart's wins in the series (1983, 2000, 2002, 2014 and 2016) have only happened in Geneva.

A couple of comments, questions I have regarding IC's schedule included:

- Are the Bombers setting themselves up for failure with basically 3 teams that finished in the D3football.com Top 25 in the first half of the season? I suppose if they can beat SLU it sets up a potential elimination game with Hobart in the following week.
- Although they never leave NYS, the only back-to-back home games come in Weeks 10&11. That's tough to say the least.

Union College surprised many with their 2017 schedule. This is probably due to the program's recent struggles (no winning seasons since 2012 and only eight wins overall in the last four seasons). Without a bye week until late in the season, the Dutchmen will have to try and grind out some wins against a relatively weaker OOC slate before getting into LL play. A couple of long road trips to Bangor, ME and Washington, DC are probably for alumni support and a win over Husson would be considered an upset by many.

Union's schedule is as follows:

Wk 1 @ Husson (defending ECFC Champions and 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 2 vs. Coast Guard
Wk 3 @ Gallaudet
Wk 4 @ Curry
Wk 5 @ Morrisville State
Wk 6 vs. SLU
Wk 7 @ Rochester
Wk 8 vs. Hobart
Wk 9 Bye
Wk 10 @ Ithaca
Wk 11 RPI (Dutchmen Shoes rivalry game)

While some of these OOC teams should be beatable, having only two home games thru Week 7 is a tough road to hoe for the Dutchmen also. I suppose the one positive is both traditional rivals of RPI and Hobart are home games and the last road trip to Ithaca will be coming off a bye week.

RPI recently released their schedule with HC Ralph Isernia boasting they will have a "Top 10 SOS" (based on the winning percentages from 2016 most likely). Here are the Engineers' opponents for 2017:

Wk 1 vs. William Patterson University
Wk 2 @ WPI (Transit Trophy game)
Wk 3 vs. WNEU (defending NEFC/CCC Champion and 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 4 @ Buffalo State
Wk 5 Bye
Wk 6 @ Hobart
Wk 7 vs. Ithaca
Wk 8 @ Alfred (Undefeated Empire 8 Champions and 2016 National quarterfinalists)
Wk 9 @ SLU
Wk 10 vs. Rochester
Wk 11 @ Union (Dutchmen Shoes rivalry game)

Coach Isernia has a pretty valid argument about the difficulty of this schedule. While opening with WPU isn't a tough match up (they finished tied for last in the NJAC last season), RPI has OOC games with two conference champions / NCAA playoff teams, plus their usual LL schedule, which includes three key games on the road. The Engineers have tripped up Hobart in recent years, having beaten the Statesmen in consecutive seasons (Hobart won three in a row from 2012-14). I noticed RPI has their bye week before they go to Geneva for their LL opener. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

That's it for now. In the meantime, I'll be on the look out for more recruiting news.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

PS - Did hear from UofR, but schedule is still "unofficial". Alfred and Alfred State were listed as well as two more OOC games on their nine game regular season schedule, but hasn't been confirmed at this time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Buff State to Join Liberty League (Probably)

D3football.com reported that Buffalo State is in the final stages of becoming the 7th member of the Liberty League, saving the conference's playoff automatic qualifier and necessitating some inter-league scheduling between the LL and the Empire 8.

Buff State and Hobart have scrimmaged each other in the preseason for the last couple of years but haven't faced off against one another in a regular season game since 1993 (a game which I was in attendance for and was a 10-0 shut out upset of the Bengals who were nationally ranked at the time). The all-time series between the two schools is deadlocked at 3-3. It's likely Buff State and Hobart will resume this match up in the 2018 season, or 2019 at the latest.

Last season Buff State finished 5-5 and 3-5 in the E8.

A link to the article posted earlier today can be seen here.  D3football.com added to their coverage of this topic on their April "Around the Nation" podcast as well. Tune into the entire thing here (or fast forward to the 11 minute mark if your main concern is Buff St's move to the LL).

Thanks for reading (and listening) and go 'Bart!

The Latest on the Class of 2021

Coach Drach kept busy on Twitter earlier this week with another group of student athletes who plan to attend Hobart as part of the Class of 2021. The final tally, including these seven, is a total of 47 new Statesmen joining the squad this fall. With this deep and strong recruiting class, Hobart Football is in good shape for years to come.

Hopkinton HS SR QB Jimmy Adams is "another weapon coming in from New England." Tall, strong armed and able to tuck and run when needed, Adams is another prototypical pocket passer that's a great fit for Coach Drach's #AirShow offense. Jimmy's highlight reel can be seen here.

Another recruit from "Strong Island", Chris earned All-County honors as LT for the Class 1 Long Island Champions, Garden City HS. While probably undersized to play OT in college, Chris' ability to lock down DL will get him looks at guard. A versatile athlete, Ciurina may be looked at for defense as well. Chris' highlight reel can be seen here.

Although he hails from MA, Jack used his PG year to get on Coach Drach's radar at NHS in NH where he starred at RB. With 4.5 speed, Coach is looking for Jack to "[jump] on the I90 train to Hobart" and to convert to WR. With break away speed, Daley will be a coverage match up problem for opposing DBs. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Thomas Hamrah is a stocky and tough nose guard who joins a number of future classmates in this class from NJ. With a low center of gravity and strong legs to push past would be blockers, Hamrah creates problems for opposing team's gap assignments. His highlight can be viewed here.

Nick will join ABHS teammate Cal Sullivan as yet "another defensive back from Acton Boxboro" on the Statesmen squad. At 6' 193 lbs, McCarthy brings size and strength to the Hobart secondary.

Pelow earned the "Section II Defensive Player of the Year" award as a LB for Bethlehem HS. He can cover and is a hitter who plays with a fast motor. His highlight reel can be viewed here.

Last but definitely not least is a student athlete who's committed to Hobart from another alumni, All-American LB and now teacher / coach Devin Worthington '13 (aka the People's Champ ;) JaQuan starred at RB for Chehsire Academy but he also played in secondary which is likely where he'll land in college. Sheals was a sure tackler and will work to get an opportunity to play some special teams as a FY while he learns the system. His highlight reel can be seen here. JaQuan is also the adopted son of NFL HOF Deion Sanders, so I suppose it's "Primetime" up at Hobart.

I hope you've enjoyed these previews of the 2021 recruiting class. I'll have more on Hobart's LL opposition and their 2017 schedules in my next post.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A (Sweet 16) Recruiting Update

Coach Drach has tweeted out another group of 16 student athletes who are joining the Hobart College Football Class of 2021 over the past week. I reported on a couple of these players around national signing day, but we'll dive in and preview them again as part of the latest group below:

Coach Drach describes Gonzaga College HS SR TE Jake Bergmann has his "kind of TE; can play physical at the LOS and split to be a WR". Tall and with a wide wing span, Bergmann brings a lot of versatility to the Hobart offense.

A "1st Team All State from Virginia coming up to Hobart to be a Big Dog" is how Coach Drach described Stone Bridge HS SR OL Dillon Carey. A team leader, Dillon was a captain of the Bulldogs who earned a 9-2 overall record in 2016.

Nick Cosgrove is another "versatile athlete that can run and catch the ball out of the backfield" according to Coach Drach. While he was a good ILB for Shenendehowa HS, he "sounds like a FB" for college, according to Coach.

"Coming from way out on Strong Island" is Westhampton Beach HS SR OL Sal DiBennetto. Big and strong, Sal is a solid T prospect who played both RT and LT in HS. Sal's highlight reel can be viewed here.

Coach Orlando Patterson '10 has helped Hobart land another member of last year's Evergreen & NESPAC Champions in Tabor Academy's PG LB Sean Donovan. Donovan has the ability to quickly read and pursue the ball and he was often used on blitzes. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Portsmouth Abbey School SR DE Will Ensign is the first player in the Class of 2021 from my home state of CT. Listed as a DE, Will plays more like an OLB given his pass rush skills. He seems to have a big motor and plays with a lot of emotion / fire. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Jon'Avin Freeman joins Hobart from the City of Brotherly Love, having played at and attended the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia. A QB/OLB prospect, Coach Drach say Jon'Avin "can sling the rock and knock some heads." He covers well and closes in on ball carriers quickly. His highlight reel can be seen here. 

Hoffman is staying close to home "representing the 315". He was part of a Braves squad that finished the 2016 season with a 6-3 record.

I previewed Matt a few weeks ago (see post on 3/3/17) based on an article from the Eagle Tribune. He was an all star at Safety, a position of need for the Statesmen, in HS and will look to earn time at that position this fall.

One of four Spartans coming to Hobart, SR RB Alex Milliken was rated a "Top 100" player in the state of NJ and Coach Drach says Alex "can [really] fly." He reads blocks well and can go to another level when he breaks off a run. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Yves was an interior DL for the NJ State Champion Saint Joseph Regional HS. With a low center of gravity and a quick first step, Montissol can get under and shed would be blockers in pursuit. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Jabbar Morris is another OLB / RB recruit that has athleticism and speed. He has good vision, scrape technique and is quick in closing in on ball carriers. His highlight reel can be seen here.

Keaton Nichols is "like a rock" according to Coach Drach and I believe the first member of the Class of 2021 from the "Granite State" of NH. Nichols will be looked at as DE given his size, but he also played LB at Salisbury.

SR WR Tyler Pierson who I also previewed earlier in the year (see post on 2/2/17). Coach Drach says Tyler can "jump through the roof" and at 6' 5", there won't be many jump balls he won't come down with.

Last but not least are twin brothers Michael and Ryan Rossiter who are joining two other Sparta HS classmates as part of the Statesmen Class of 2021. Michael, who goes by Mike, bring "intensity in the middle of the defense" as a LB. His brother Ryan was a WR who was an "offensive talent". Mike's highlight reel can be seen here and Ryan's can be viewed here.

Congratulations and welcome to all of these future Statesmen.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hobart Lands 10th Contest for 2017

Hobart College will avoid a nine game season with what's a blockbuster scheduling move, adding area and national powerhouse Saint John Fisher College to the 2017 slate.

This is quite a bold move considering Fisher's recent success, and the fact Hobart hasn't beaten the Cardinals since the 2011 season. The Statesmen lead the all-time series by a 11-7 margin but SJFC has beaten Hobart four of their last five meetings, the last by a 27-6 margin in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Playoffs. With this addition the Statesmen will likely have one of the strongest schedules in the East Region, if not the nation.

A link to the updated schedule can be seen here.

The contract is for a home and home series with the initial game happening in Week 2 of the 2017 season. Look for more of these LLvsE8 match-ups as both leagues look to retain their AQ access to the NCAA tournament.

Congratulations to both schools on setting up a real treat for D3FB fans!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!