Monday, January 22, 2018

Shed Shines in SoCal at NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Hobart College SR WR Brandon Shed showed he belonged with some of the best players in College Football last week and this past weekend in Pasadena, CA.

Although he was only targeted twice in the game, he made both catches - 14 and 9-yard ones - and converted both of them for first downs for his National squad, which won the game, 23-0. He also had a key block on one of the National team's rushing TDs. Shed also appeared on special teams, playing on the National team's punt unit.

More importantly, Brandon also impressed in practice, getting a lot of social media recognition for his route-running and receiving skills.

Time will tell if Brandon's efforts will result in an invite to the NFL Combine, but it should continue scouts' interest and potentially lead to some tryouts over the next couple of months.

Make sure to checkout the Facebook fan page or my Twitter handle @D3FBHuddle for clips of Brandon's catches from last Saturday's game.

Congratulations to Brandon and a job well done! Pride high!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Shed Looking to Shine Saturday in NFLPA Game

SR WR Brandon Shed will update his #5 jersey to wear #85 for the " National" team as part of this Saturday's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

A link on Brandon's selection from gives the backstor and can be seen here. Information on the bowl game, including rosters, can be viewed here.

The game will be televised on Saturday, January 20th at 4 PM ET on Fox Sports One. I'll be tuning in and hoping for a great game by Brandon (aka #Easy6)

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Griffin's Going to Geneva

While it's likely the Statesmen will take to social media in the coming months to announce the Class of 2022, word of a few commitments are starting to trickle in after the initial Early Decision rounds at HWS.

The first student athlete I've heard of joining the Hobart College Football program is SR LB/FB Bryce Griffin from Norwell, MA. Griffin played MLB in the Clippers 4x3 system while also playing FB. The Clippers finished the 2017 with a 9-2 overall record..

His highlight reel can be viewed here.

Please join me in welcoming Bryce and his family to the Hobart!

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year, and go 'Bart!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Shed Gets NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Invite

SR WR Brandon Shed will have a rare opportunity to perform in front of one of the largest groupings of NFL scouts and front office executives with an invite to this year's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Last season 35 participants of this experience were given invites to the NFL Combine.

This All-Star game will be held on January 20, 2018 in Pasadena, CA at the world famous Rose Bowl Stadium. The game, and week leading up to it, is described as "the premier postseason all-star game for any draft-eligible college football players, and is happening at America's Stadium this year. More than just a game, this week-long experience provides players with the chance to showcase their game to NFL scouts and coaches, while learning from the best in the business. The Collegiate Bowl not only prepares players for the speed and intensity of professional football, but also for the business and lifestyle changes that come with it."

You can learn more about the game, its history and more here.

Congratulations to Brandon and we look forward to seeing how he plays against some of the best competition in the nation.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Looking Back on the 2017 Season

There were 23 East Region teams that earned post-season games and Hobart, who finished 7-3 overall and 3-2 in the Liberty League, wasn't one of them. That is disappointing considering the Statesmen came into 2017 as the 14th-ranked team in the Preseason poll and were ranked similarly in the preseason by other publications as well.

These high expectations were due to a large group of returning SR players and outstanding talent on the offensive side of the ball. While that talent did shine at times, breaking several school records, the team made some key mistakes in big games that ultimately cost Hobart a chance at what is the best Eastern NCAA playoff bracket (as far as a true regional set up and basically guaranteeing a trip to the Final Four for whomever makes it through) in years.

So what happened?

I'm an avid follower of this team, but I wasn't able to attend any games in person this season. I did watch several online and reviewed a LOT of statistics. Here's my take, for what it's worth...

The Good:

The Statesmen offense finished the season 1st in the LL in scoring (34.9 PPG), 2nd in rushing (169.1 YPG), 2nd in passing (254.5 YPG), had the #1 ranked QB and 2nd leading RB and WR in SR QB Shane Sweeney, FY RB Dakota Harvey and SR WR Brandon Shed. 

Defensively, SO LB Jedh Downey had another great season, finishing 3rd in the LL and 1st on the team with 85 total tackles. SO OLB Jayson Prince and SR DE Brandon Ball had solid seasons as well with Prince leading the league in FRs and Ball tied for 1st with three FF.

FY PK Kyle Hackett was literally the best PK in all of CFB, going a perfect 10-10 on FGs (long of 40), which is unmatched across the nation at any level. Hackett also added 43 points via PATs to barely edge Harvey as the scoring leader with 73 points on the year. SR PK Rio Schmidt was also outstanding, averaging nearly 42 YPP and landing 28 of his 32 punts either inside the opponent's 20 yard line, fair caught or go over 50 yards. Both kickers deserve All-American recognition.

A special s/o goes to SR OL Stephen VanHousen who played RT, LG and RG during different parts of the season. His versatility helped the offense battle through injuries.

Needs Improvement:

Although the Hobart offense led the league in scoring, they ended up being slow starters which I mentioned in my Union game preview. Leading up to that critical game, the Statesmen offense scored 64% of their points in the second half. It should also be noted that 107 of the 349 points scored came against two teams, Shenandoah and Rochester. The former ended up briefly looked like a contender in the ODAC race, until they faded, losing three of their four final games and finishing 6-4, 3-3. Rochester is still reeling from the 2015 off-season and their future of a program could be in question, depending on what their administration decides to do.

In the Union game, Hobart's offense had this performance in three quarters (against a defense that allowed 322 YPG, but to be fair, only allowed a respectable 16.4 PPG):

Turnover on downs
Fumble (led to a Union TD)
Loss on downs

Not exactly what you'd expect from the best scoring offense in the league in a must win game. Especially against a Union team that lost to Husson of the ECFC (one of the weakest leagues in the nation) and barely survived 17-14 against Curry from the CCC (not that much better).

I think the main issues with the offense this season were a combination of factors, namely injuries affecting OL make up and, in some cases, just bad luck. Hobart had two new starters in for the critical IC game on the OL and the 2.8 yards per carry showed it.

The Statesmen also had horrible field position in the first half of the Ithaca game, starting within their five yard line twice. On what was effectively the final few plays of the IC game, SR PK Rio Schmidt had a rare, bad punt which set up Ithaca with great field position, which helped them score and take the lead with under a minute to go. On the ensuing KO, FY RB Dakota Harvey made the rookie mistake of fielding a ball that probably would have gone out of bounds at the five yard line, giving Hobart better field position, and a chance to win it.

Defensively, Statesmen secondary took a big step back this season, showing a lot of soft coverage with DBs 8-10 yards off the LOS all season. Even though that is supposed to prevent the offense from getting behind them, the secondary and LB corps were beat several times on long pass and run (sometimes referred to as "explosive") plays in key games such as these:

Brockport - 68 yard TD run and 67 yard TD pass
Ithaca - 37 yard run early 4th quarter that helped IC take a 17-14 lead
Union - 33 and 64 yard TD passes in the 3rd quarter to push Union's lead to 21-3

The Statesmen pass defense ended up dead last in the LL allowing 251.9 YPG. The loss of JR DE AJ MacFarlane to injury in Week 3 was a big blow to the Statesmen's pass rush and rush defense but the DL did improve after the Brockport game. Still Hobart ended up with the second to last Total Defense in the LL, allowing over 350 YPG. Not surprisingly, the Defensive Efficiency was fifth in the conference, with a 125.4 for allowing opposing QB's to complete 56.9% of their passes for 2,519 yards and 16 TDs.

On the bright side, the Statesmen defense ended up third in the LL with 22 sacks on the season and finished 2nd in the LL with a solid 98.3 YPG rushing and only seven rushing TDs allowed all season. Hobart also improved their interceptions to 10, finishing third in the LL in that category.

What's next?

Hobart will likely enter the 2018 season as a bit of an underdog, something that hasn't happened much in the last seven seasons or so. The Statesmen will need to find new starters at QB, WR, OL and TE on offense, while filling a few positions, like NT, CB and LB on defense. Special teams remains in good shape with Hackett having three more years, but the coaches will need to find a replacement for Schmidt.

While Harvey lost out on LL ROTY honors to Ithaca's FY QB Wahib Nabi, he showed flashes of bringing Statesmen Football back to the "glory days" when Hobart just beat opposing teams down with a hard-nosed rushing attack. I do think the defense has to stiffen up, and with around 5 new starters this season, the growing pains we saw should hopefully be improved upon in 2018.

The WR corps, other than Shed of course, were fairly inexperienced coming into this year and now have had valuable playing time. While Brandon's skills will certainly be missed, the cupboard is far from bare at WR, including at TE, given JR TE Matt Woods coming back in 2018.

I'm hoping that seeing a team they beat 30-0 in the NCAA playoffs motivates this Statesmen squad to have a better 2018. Most pieces are in place, but another demanding schedule and teams like Brockport, Ithaca and Union likely reloading, there's a lot of work to be done to get Hobart back on top of the LL and considered a top Eastern contender again.

Thanks again to all the readers who've visited the site this season. I'll likely go on a bit of a hiatus over the holidays, but will hopefully have some recruiting and other information to post on as it trickles in over the off-season. Thanks again to the Class of 2018 and good luck in your post-Hobart careers.

As always, go 'Bart!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

19 Statesmen Earn All-Conference Honors

The Hobart College Statesmen may have ended up fourth in the conference standings to end the 2017, but many individual players earned 1st and 2nd team All-LL honors.

For the second year in a row, SR QB Shane Sweeney earned the OPOTY award. Sweeney passed for over 2,400 yards and 18 TDs. FY PK Kyle Hackett earned Co-STPOTY award for leading the LL in scoring with 73 points, including a perfect 10-10 on FGs.

Overall, there were 19 Statesmen that earned All-LL honors, as announced last week:

QB- Shane Sweeney, Sr., Hobart
WR- Brandon Shed, Sr., Hobart
RB- Joe Letizia, Sr., Hobart
TE- Zach Withers, Sr., Hobart
OL- John Deveney, Jr., Hobart
OL- Alex Helm, Sr., Hobart

DL- Brandon Ball, Sr., Hobart
DB- Tom D’Antonio, Sr., Hobart

PK- Kyle Hackett, Fr., Hobart
P- Rio Schmidt, Sr., Hobart

RB- Dakota Harvey, Fr., Hobart

LB- Jedh Downey, So., Hobart
LB- Almamy Conde, Sr., Hobart
DB- Jayson Prince, So., Hobart

OL- Jack Koch, Jr., Hobart
OL- Stephen VanHoesen, Sr., Hobart

DL- Zackary Robak, Sr., Hobart
DB- Kai Brandford, Jr., Hobart

ATH- Tynard Barfield, Jr., Hobart

That's an impressive number of players to earn All-LL honors, and with 8 of them are coming back in 2018, there's a lot to look forward to for Hobart fans.

In addition to the above honors, six Statesmen players (which tied with RPI for most in NYS) also earned CoSIDA All District All Academic team awards. To earn a spot on the Academic All-District team, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum 3.3 cumulative grade point average, be a starter or significant reserve and be at least a sophomore academically. The Hobart players who earned this award included:

SR QB Shane Sweeney (3.47)
SR OL Alex Helm (3.60)
SR OL Stephen VanHoesen (3.46) 
SR DE Brandon Ball (3.63)
JR DB Kai Brandford (3.56)
SR P Rio Schmidt (3.52)

Congratulations to all these individual accomplishments!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and you families, both near and far away.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coach DeWall Out at Endicott

Last night some surprising news hit social media when Hobart AD Mike Hanna '68 tweeted out the following message:

This is disappointing on a number of levels, especially considering Coach Kevin DeWall '00's program had one of the highest SOS numbers (I believe it comes in at 19 out of nearly 250) in the nation and placed over 10 players on the CCC's All-Conference team. The story was later followed up on via formal press release and an article on, among others.

While I am certain Coach DeWall will land on his feet, I am not sure we can hope to get him back to Geneva. President Vincent has alluded to the next AD being an external hire (vs. a promotion of HC Mike Cragg, which is obviously what most Hobart alumni and fans would love to see), but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

There are several other programs at the D3 and upper divisions that would likely be happy to have him on staff in some form or fashion. Either way, we wish Coach DeWall the best and will look forward to reporting where he lands very soon.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!