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npklemm

[2023] Season in Review: Akron

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Coached by: @Garappogoat

Pre-Season Projection: 4-8

Final Record: 5-7 (4-4), 3rd in MAC East

 

The Zips came into the season with lots of questions. With graduations at QB and at ILB (All-American Devin Frazier), we weren't sure where the offensive and defensive production would come from. And, that fear proved to be well founded. The Zips were forced to start a true Freshman at Quarterback, with poor results. The defense took a noticeable step backwards as well.

 

Schedule

 

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The Zips went 1-3 in their OOC, with their lone win being against FCS James Madison in a close game. They then went 4-4 in Conference, with a chance to win the Division in Week 15. But Ohio was far too talented for Akron, and they fell to 5-7 on the season. They won a surprise game in Week 8 over the Toledo Rockets, and then again in Week 13 against Bowling Green. They lost tough ones close against Kent State, Wisconsin, and Ball State. Anyone of those goes the other way, and Akron potentially goes to a Bowl Game.

 

Key Players

 

QB Cole Richter FR - 123/226 1,416 Yards 54.42% 7 TD 9 Pick 109.31 QB Rating  34 Rush Yards 4 Rush Touchdowns

RB Shontrell Driver JR - 221 Carry 1,102 Yards 11 TD 4.99 YPC

WR Julian Kimball (JR) - 36 Rec 459 Yards 1 TD 2 Drop

WR Damani Harris FR - 35 Rec 413 Yards 2 TD 4 Drop

DE Damione Ridley SO - 20 Tackle 3 TFL  6 Sack

DT Jeremiah Clarke (SR) - 22 Tackle 6 TFL 2 Sack

ILB Elliot Arnold JR - 41 Tackle 1 TFL

CB Christian Washington FR - 17 Tackle 6 Pick 2 PD

 

Richter really struggled this year, and the offense was limited as a result. Shontrell Driver was mostly solid, but did have a couple games were he fell flat. The offense could not afford a down game from Driver. Kimball and Harris could only do so much with the QB play they had. But, 3 TD to 6 Drop does not bode well for the Zips Offense in 2024. Ridley and Clarke were a solid tandem on the DL. A combined 9 TFL and 8 Sacks isn't elite, but it was the best on the team. Elliot Arnold was forced to fill in for Devin Frazier and did all he could. But, it just wasn't enough. Christian Washington was fantastic however. He was 2nd in the conference with 6 Picks, and added 2 PD. He clearly was the best player in the secondary, and the Zips will luckily have him for 3 more seasons.

 

Impact Recruits

 

DT Kwanzaa Frazier JR (3.5/4.0)

DT Nathan Lombardo FR (1.5/4.0)

FB Ivan Hayden FR (1.5/4.0)

OLB Shaun Tate FR (1.5/4.0)

DT Messiah Brooks FR (1.0/4.0)

 

With both Jeremiah Clarke and Olivier Ponder graduating, the Zips needed to load up there. Kwanzaa is a 2-Year JUCO Starter who'll step right in. Nathan Lombardo and Messiah Brooks will be the duo long-term, Lombardo may get the start year one. I expect Brooks to RS. Hayden and Tate should RS, I don't think the Zips need to rush these guys out on the field.

 

Season Awards

 

CB Christian Washington - All-MAC 1st Team

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