Wildcat football kicks off spring camp in year 2 of Dorrel era

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Football is back -- well, least for a few weeks.

Thursday afternoon under bright blue skies, the ACU football team hit the turf at Wildcat Stadium for its first of 14 scheduled spring workouts to open the 2018 season.

Dorrel’s squad returns 10 starters from last year’s squad (five on each side of the ball), including redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony, who took over as the starter with three games left in the season and threw for 642 yards and seven touchdowns in two starts against Northwestern State and Sam Houston State. He missed the final game of the season at Central Arkansas after an injury against the Bearkats.

Aside from Anthony on the offensive side of the ball, the Wildcats return leading rusher Tracy James, wide receivers Justin Miller (39 catches for 244 yards and 2 TDs) and Josh Fink (27 catches for 335 yards and 2 TDs), as well as offensive linemen Dakota Laws (who could miss some of spring ball after off-season surgery), Bill Weber and Kade Parmelly, whom Dorrel said is “blowing it up right now.” Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kage Hendrix has also been impressive.

On the defensive side, the Wildcats return safeties Bolu Onifade and Brandon Richmond, the team’s top two tacklers with 76 and 72 stops, respectively. Also returning to the defensive side of the ball will be linebacker Jeremiah Chambers, defensive backs Adonis Davis and Erik Huhn among others, as well as defensive linemen Dante Hibbert (2017 team captain), Makoni Pole, Cole Burgess, Corey Smith and Temisan Kuyatsemi.

The Wildcats, however, have some big holes to begin filling as they look for replacements for all-time leading tackler Sam Denmark at middle linebacker, wide receivers Troy Grant (51 catches for 542 yards and 4 TDs) and Carl Whitley (31 catches for 307 yards and 5 TDs), and placekicker Nik Grau, who is among the top three in ACU history in virtually every placekicking category.

Dorrel and his staff are ready to begin finding answers to those and other questions on this team as they begin practice . The 15 junior college and Division I drop-down transfers – as well as some players who redshirted last year – have created a more competitive roster.

"The guys that we have coming back, we know their skill set and we know the things they can and cannot do," said Dorrel before the teams practice Thursday. "So I think that helps us to coach those guys to learn how to compete. That's a big part of our program right now and our strength and conditioning coaches did a great job in the offseason. We want to bring that in to spring practice and compete, chart that competition, and give guys feedback daily."

Spring training will conclude with the Spring Game on Friday, April 6, followed the next day by the annual Don Smith Golf Tournament at Diamondback Golf Club. Admission to the Spring Game will be free.


Practice #1 – Thursday, March 1

Practice #2 – Friday, March 2

Practice #3 – Tuesday, March 6

Practice #4 – Wednesday, March 7

Practice #5 – Thursday, March 8

Practice #6 – Friday, March 9

Practice #7 – Monday, March 19

Practice #8 – Wednesday, March 21

Practice #9 – Friday, March 23

Practice #10 – Tuesday, March 27

Practice #11 – Wednesday, Feb. 28

Practice #12 ¬– Thursday, March 29

Practice #13 – Tuesday, April 3

Practice #14 – Wednesday, April 4

Spring Game – Friday, April 6, 6 p.m.

Don Smith Golf Tournament – Saturday, April 7 (Diamondback Golf Club)

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