Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
Today marks one week until the start of JMU football’s 2019 season. That makes this the last weekly countdown post leading up to the start of the college football season. Last week we looked at two position matchups to watch when JMU plays West Virginia next week. This week we’ll look at one key to JMU football’s 2019 season: FBS transfers.
Let’s start by saying that JMU’s 2019 roster is comprised of much more than talented FBS transfers. The Dukes have players like Percy Agyei-Obese, Riley Stapleton, John Daka, Dimitri Holloway and Rashad Robinson who started their careers at JMU and developed into FCS forces.
The Dukes aren’t good because of FBS transfers, but FBS transfers will play a role in the team’s success this season.
Clearly, FBS transfers help make JMU’s 2019 roster special. Ben DiNucci, Jawon Hamilton, Brandon Polk, Ron’Dell Carter, Landan Word and Wayne Davis are six of the team’s best players.
While it’s unlikely, there’s a scenario where FBS transfers led JMU in passing yards, rushing yards, receptions, sacks, tackles and interceptions. I doubt this happens, but the team’s FBS transfers are all major players. Antonio Colclough, a Temple transfer, should also see the field this season.
When FCS teams play at Power 5 foes, they rarely bring with them JMU’s level of FBS talent. The Dukes have a fascinating combination of FBS transfers and FCS superstars. DiNucci to Kyndel Dean is a great FBS-FCS combination and Holloway and Word form an incredible FCS-FBS linebacker combination. The Dukes have used FBS transfers incredibly well when creating their roster.
Although FBS transfers don’t make up the Dukes’ entire roster, they will play a major role in JMU’s success this season. DiNucci needs a strong season for JMU to win the national title, and Hamilton and Polk will be asked to contribute in major offensive roles. Carter, Word and Davis are critical pieces, and Colclough is a key depth piece at defensive end. JMU’s season rests heavily on the performance of a few former FBS players.
Using FBS transfers to find success isn’t new for JMU either. Vad Lee, a Georgia Tech transfer, starred for two seasons as the Dukes’ quarterback. Marcus Marshall, another Georgia Tech transfer, was an important piece at running back the past two seasons.
David Eldridge made solid contributions from the wide receiver position as a Virginia transfer, and Ish Hyman was originally a member of the Kansas football program. Terrence Alls came to JMU from Duke. JMU uses FBS transfers well, and it has for years.
Former offensive linemen Austin Lane was an important player who came to JMU from Syracuse. Darrious Carter, a talented defensive end, made his way to Harrisonburg from Virginia.
Transfers don’t make or break JMU’s football program, but fans shouldn’t deny that FBS transfers are important to the Dukes’ overall success. It’s impressive how successful the Dukes have been at bringing in key FBS transfers who fit on the field and in the locker room, especially in the past 3-5 years.
JMU’s 2019 success is reliant on the entire team performing at a high level, but it’s worth keeping a close eye on the play of the team’s FBS transfers.