After last week’s offseason rundown and countdown to the 2016 college football season covering the numbers 99-90, we are now 74 days away (sorry, went on vacation) from from September 4th and the season opener versus Northern Illinois. That means it’s time for a break down of the numbers 89-80! This number range covers 8 players at a variety of positions (DE, DT, TE and WR) so bare with me as we break it down because there will be no rhyme or reason to it all.
80 James Price
81 Austin Fort
83 Jake Maulhardt
84 Grant Lewis
85 Tyree Mayfield
86 Adam Kinder
87 Conner Cain
88 Jacob Hollister
This group of players is going to be counted on to keep the offense hoppin’ this year if the Cowboys want to be successful. Jake Maulhardt had a nice season in 2015 and will be looking to build on that success. Austin Fort is returning to the Cowboys as a tight end after a quick leave of absence from the team last year as he sought a team who would let him play quarterback. Jacob Hollister also turned in a nice season for the Pokes and will need to continue his development from the tight end position to keep the ball moving.
James Price, the sophomore from Camas, WA, played as a true freshman for the Cowboys last season and played in all twelve games. When injuries started to settle in he was able to start in four games. During his freshman campaign he was able to catch 12 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. His lone touchdown came in the season finale against UNLV. He’ll be counted on this season to be a big target for Josh Allen. If he can continue his development and improve on last season there’s no reason that the Cowboys won’t have three legitimate receiving threats to keep defenses guessing.
Austin Fort, the talented athlete from Gillette, WY, is returning to the Cowboys after leaving the team during spring camp last year to transfer to Chabot Community College in California. He transferred back to the Cowboys after the season was over in California and will now be a tight end for the Pokes. Given his size and speed it seems like that position would be a pretty natural fit for him. The former two time Super 25 selection played fairly sparingly at quarterback for Chabot, but realized he wanted to be in Wyoming near his family, and maybe overreacted to being switched to tight end from quarterback. He’ll now look to compete for one of the tight end spots available.
Jake Maulhardt, the tall senior from Camarillo, CA is looking to build on a successful 2015 and contribute more to a Cowboys offense who looked lethargic at times last season. Maulhardt led the receivers in receptions and touchdowns last season. He finished second in the Mountain West in total touchdowns with eight. Maulhardt was counted on heavily last season after Tanner Gentry’s season was cut short because of injury. He filled in admirably and will compliment Gentry nicely on the opposite side of the field.
Sophomore Grant Lewis from Memphis, TN was a redshirt in 2014 and did not accumulate any stats in 2015. He will be in the mix for playing time at tight end this season. Another sizable target, he stands at 6’5″ and checks in at 240 lbs.
Tyree Mayfield is a sophomore from St. Joseph, MO and will also be in the mix for playing time at tight end. He appeared in all 12 games for the Cowboys last season. He recorded four receptions for 21 yards and one touchdown. His lone touchdown came in the first game of the season vs North Dakota.
Adam Kinder is a senior defensive end from Newport Beach, CA. He’ll be part of an experienced group of seniors on the team this season. He’s a legacy player for the Pokes, his dad played for the Cowboys in the 80s. Kinder did not record any stats last season.
Connor Cain is a sophomore from Littleton, CO who played in 11 contests last season for the Cowboys. He recorded 12 tackles, four of them solo stops. He also recorded 1.5 tackles for loss last season. He’ll be looking to get additional playing time and experience this season to help out a somewhat thin defensive line.
Last but not least for the 80s block party is senior Jacob Hollister from Bend, OR. Hollister started 12 games for the Cowboys last season and was counted on to be a reliable target as the season went on. Hollister hauled in 26 passes for 355 and three touchdowns. He longest was a 64 yard pass last season against UNLV that proved to be the game winner for the Cowboys.
This group of Cowboys will be counted on heavily this season in some form or another to be successful. The receivers and tight ends will be vital to Josh Allen’s success. The two defensive lineman will need to be effective this season if the Cowboys are going to improve on their rush defense, which was poor last season.
Up next, the 70s!