Returning Starters – Offense: 8 Defense: 8
Preview: Kent State has fallen off as a program under head coach Paul Haynes with the team going just 6-17 overall in his first 2 seasons as the head man. This is in contrast to the 11-3 campaign Kent State had in the year prior to Haynes’ arrival. The Golden Flashes are expected to improve this season with 16 returning starters, but this group is still likely to have a difficult time staying out of the basement in the MAC East.
The QB position is likely set with two year starter Colin Reardon back and ready to improve after having a very inconsistent 2014. The O-line was very young a season ago, but the unit should be better as they return experience along the unit. RB could be a position of strength if the oft injured Trayion Durham can return to his old form. Durham mixed with last season’s leading rusher Nick Holley could be a nice 1-2 punch out of the backfield. Reardon losses his top two targets from 2014, but the receiver position has been stockpiled with solid recruits to fill the void.
The key to Kent State turning things around is having their experienced defense take a significant step forward in 2015. The Golden Flashes return their top 11 tacklers from 2014 along with some guys coming back off of injury to add even more depth to the unit. The D-line should be much better with the return of injured players Terhune and Fairchild, along with the addition of JUCO transfer Anthony Johnson. LB is also set with experienced players Dellinger, Strickland, and Refuge back in the fold. The secondary looks to be a strength as the unit builds around talented safeties Holley and Italiano.
Prediction: There’s little doubt that this team will improve this season and the Golden Flashes even have an outside chance at being one of the surprise teams in the conference. The team has continuity coming into 2015 given the amount of returning starters they have including QB Colin Reardon who’s looking to make the next step this year in his development. We’ll get a chance to see where this team stands in the nonconference with tough games coming against Illinois, Minnesota, and Marshall.
Projected Record: 4-8 (3-5)