This has been a very rewarding season, but what can we expect in 2013? Let's first start with the lineup, and see how graduation will affect the team.
On the defense, the Panthers will lose 8 players
DB Tae Motley
LB Akeem Boyce
S Kenny Tapscott
S Tevin Hardin
DB Raymond Hines
DB Marco McNeal
DE Chris Freycinett
DL Shawn Winfrey.
On offense, the team loses 5 players
RB Tyler Brubaker
OL Cam Bailey
OL Demetri Sawyers
WR Derrick West
WR Makaya Jackson
Special Teams loses 1
K Scott Puschell
From where I sit, these are quite significant loses, on both sides of the ball. My first inclination is that Ferrum will be looking at wide receivers in their recruiting quest. Wide Receivers will be necessary to replace West and Jackson, but could also be transitioned into defensive backs. Of course it would likely be the coaches preference to develop players that had played DB, but Wide Receivers are an option. The roster shows that Ferrum is heavy in the WR department, but I would not be surprised to see a couple of new faces at that position. I also expect that linemen will be a priority. The loss of Cam Bailey on offense, and Chris Freycinett and Shawn Winfrey on defense will necessitate some replacements.
Linebacker Akeem Boyce, Running Back Tyler Brubaker, and Kicker Scott Puschell are also leaving. Of those, Ferrum appears to be solid in back ups, but I am guessing they will recruit for those also. Puschell's duties may well be taken over by Wesley Franklin.
At running back, Ferrum has a fairly full stable, and this too is the case for linebacker, but I definitely think running backs will be on the coaches radar...they always are.
Lastly, I would expect Ferrum to look for a quarterback. With Brubaker leaving, they are down to three on the roster. I would think they will grab one in the off season.
Ferrum has a deep roster, and while most would look at the players available to fill in the gaps and say Ferrum will be solid next year, the real question is will they all be back? Retention is always a problem, and while a football team may have upwards of 50 freshmen, by the time that class graduates, the ones that were there from the beginning are in the teens.
I look for Ferrum to be solid on offense, but will have some defensive question marks...especially in the defensive backfield.