9 JMU Football Players Poised for Breakout 2019 Seasons

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

(Update at 12:27 p.m. on 6/29: For accuracy, we’ve changed Josh Sims’ weight from 148 lbs to 155 lbs.)

Today marks nine weeks until the start of JMU football’s 2019 season. Last week, we started our weekly countdown to the start of the season by sharing 10 reasons why the Dukes should be the national title favorite. This week, we’ll look at nine players poised for breakout seasons in 2019.

9. Ezrah Archie

Year: Redshirt sophomore

2018 stats: Two receptions and 22 yards in four games played

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Ezrah missed much of the 2018 preseason and early season with an injury. In his freshman campaign, he had 16 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Ezrah’s top game was an eight-catch, 90-yard performance against Maine in September of 2017.

While the wide receiver room is crowded, a healthy Ezrah Archie is one of the best receivers on the team. He has good size at 6′ and 180 lbs and the athletic ability to succeed in the slot or as an outside receiver.

He’s poised for a breakout campaign because he’s healthy and going into his third year as a collegiate receiver. He’s ready to make a leap forward in the coming years.

8. Josh Sims

Year: Redshirt sophomore

2018 stats: 15 receptions for 103 yards

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Sims isn’t physically imposing, as he checks in at 155 lbs, but he’s remarkably quick and has reliable hands. He makes plays out of the slot, and he offers an elite third-down threat to whoever wins JMU’s quarterback job.

If Sims doesn’t break out in 2019, he’s a guy to watch in 2020. Expect him to put together a quality career in the coming seasons given his speed and sure hands.

7. Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey

Year: Redshirt sophomore

2018 stats: Six tackles in 12 games

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Tucker-Dorsey plays a bit like Robert Carter Jr. The redshirt sophomore loves delivering punishing hits, and he should be a key special teams contributor in 2019.

The Dukes need someone to set the tone on special teams, and Tucker-Dorsey can be that guy. The linebacker group is loaded, but Tucker-Dorsey adds good depth and can make important contributions for years to come.

6. Mike Greene

Year: Junior

2018 stats: 41 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: With Paris Black gone, Adeeb Atariwa and Greene look entrenched as starters in the middle of the defensive line. Greene put up a solid 2018 campaign, and he’s ready to take the leap to become a dominant interior defensive lineman.

The defensive scheme is expected to be aggressive, and Greene should benefit from talented defensive linemen around him. With other defensive linemen drawing attention of offensive linemen, Greene should have chances to make disruptive plays in the middle.

5. Isaac Ukwu

Year: Redshirt sophomore

2018 stats: Four tackles in three games

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: He’s finally in line for playing time. Ukwu plays similarly to John Daka and will be an elite pass rusher for seasons to come. While he won’t be the top option off the edge in 2019, his future appears bright, and he should receive additional reps with Darrious Carter graduated.

Look for Ukwu to live up to his Twitter handle of @isacktheQB and record his first collegiate sack in 2019.

4. Jawon Hamilton

Year: Redshirt junior

2018 stats: Nine carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. He also added a kick return touchdown and earned Third-Team All-CAA honors for his kick return duties.

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Volume. Hamilton is going to get carries in 2019, and there’s an argument that he’s the most dynamic player on the entire roster. When Hamilton touches the ball, he’s a threat to score.

As a freshman at UCF, Hamilton recorded 495 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Now, against FCS competition and with more experience, Hamilton is poised to become one of the most explosive players in the country.

3. Nick Carlton

Year: Redshirt junior

2018 stats: One reception for 14 yards

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Carlton is arguably the best receiving tight end on the roster. With Dylan Stapleton and Clayton Cheatham in the mix, playing time will be hard to come by, but Carlton is too dynamic a receiver not to exceed one reception in 2019. An injury ended a promising 2017 campaign, but Carlton should be fully healthy in 2019.

If the injury bug hits Stapleton or Cheatham, Carlton possesses the ability to be an All-CAA tight end. If they don’t get hurt, he’s a tremendous third option who should snag a few balls.

2. Nick Kidwell

Year: Redshirt freshman

2018 stats: Played in two games

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: Kidwell adds depth to a talented offensive line. While it’ll be hard to earn playing time, Kidwell is the future of JMU’s offensive line. He’s listed as the largest offensive lineman on the team, and Kidwell was a monster in high school. He’s a physical blocker with tremendous size who should see increased playing time in 2019.

1.Charles Tutt

Year: Redshirt senior

2018 stats: Nine tackles, five pass breakups and one interception

Why he’s poised for a breakout campaign: With Jimmy Moreland graduated, Tutt should be the second outside corner for the Dukes behind Rashad Robinson. After battling through injuries to start the 2018 season, Tutt should be fully healthy. The combination of good health and a starting role for an entire season make Tutt a breakout player candidate.

Teams want to avoid Robinson, which means Tutt should see plenty of balls thrown his way. Expect Tutt to earn All-CAA honors in 2019.

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