2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 92 Southern Miss Golden Eagles
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Southern Miss Golden Eagles
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No. 92: Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Prespring Status
It wasn’t the massive season it probably should’ve been, but head coach Jay Hobson still got the team to a bowl game and a winning campaign. Now he and the Golden Eagles have to do more. The passing game is and was too good, and the defense is and was too terrific to be this mediocre. Southern Miss finished 21st in the nation in offense and 15th in defense – so now all the other parts have to be tweaked to take all the production and turn it into more production.
The turnovers have to stop, the positive consistency has to be there, and the penalties have to stop – and the O and D have to continue to be so good. There are just enough key losses to make this an important spring, though. Hobson might have too many holes to fill to expect a massive surge into the Conference USA title chase.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Biggest Issue
Can the Golden Eagles replace Nick Mullens? Three starters are gone off the offensive line, and four of the top six tacklers are done, but finding a suitable replacement for the veteran bomber could be the big problem. He’s gone, and while there are other options, new recruits Steven Anderson and Marcelo Rodriguez will get their chances. No matter who’s under center, he’ll get Allenzae Staggers to throw to and …
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Biggest Positive
Ito Smith. The 1,459-yard, 17-touchdown back returns to carry the offense for another year and help out the new parts in the passing game. Yeah, he loses a few of his key blockers, but he’ll get to split time with George Payne and Tez Parks to help stay fresh and take some of the load off the passing attack. Smith should be one of Conference USA’s signature stars.
Really, Why Are The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Ranked Here?
Losing Mullens really hurts, and taking away center Cameron Tom and the left side of the line is a problem. It doesn’t help to lose the two leading tacklers – Dylan Bradley off the nose of the defense along with free safety D’Nerius Antoine – and P Tyler Sarrazin, who helped USM finish 12th in the nation in punting. There’s enough in place to go back to a bowl, but it’s going to be tough making any big strides forward until a quarterback emerges.