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Concord football starts tomorrow. This is a look at the team before the season starts.

The Mountain East Conference preseason coaches poll has the Mountain Lions ranked seventh among 12 teams despite a two-game winning streak at the end of the 2021 season. I guess they looked at the talent losses before making their determination.

One advantage CU has is returning quarterback Jack Mangel, the All-MEC second team quarterback from 2021. He had the third-highest season total passing yards in program history with 2,846 yards and 18 touchdown passes, He is a senior. Record-setting wide receiver Twyan Pearce has graduated and the two players who essentially split the other receiver position last year will be the favorites to start. Junior Jarod Bowie, who had 427 yards receiving in four games before being injured for the season, and converted defensive back Zion Barnette, who had 246 yards receiving in four games after his conversion, will be major factors in the passing game, CU has several contenders for the other receiver spot (they have a one-back, three receiver offense) in Western Carolina transfer Solomon Butler, juco transfer Cayden Chambers, Wingate transfer Zane Hillstock, Presbyterian transfer Mack Simmons , Tyson Jarrell from Norcross (Ga,) High School and Dejuan Malpress from Baldwin (Fla.) High School,

The returning running back is Kris Copeland who rushed for 573 yards and had 269 receiving yards, Two transfers from Tusculum: Gerald Hearst, son of NFL veteran Garrison Hearst, and Thurman Wilkins, are expected to join the running back rotation.

The offensive line has fifth-year returnees in center Davis Robertson , Saul Robles at left guard and left tackle Josh Ramos. They are joined by junior Bo Rowland and sophomores Derrick Battle and Devin Luckett,

The defense also has a number of fifth-year veterans in defensive back Rashon Lusane (68 tackles), linebackers Ty Maust (62) ànd Tylen Fowler (48) and defensive linemen Dajor Davenport (seven sacks) and Nathan Lease (18 career tackles for loss).

Former West Virginia Wesleyan players John America and Mike Sawyer along with Western Illinois transfer Donovan Lacey are expected to shore up the defensive backfield.

Up front, junior transfers Manny Azolin and Tyree Martin from Monroe College are expected to bolster the defensive line.

In addition to the transfers, there will be 39 true freshmen in the program.

Concord opens at Emory & Henry tomorrow, The Çallaghan Stadium opener is September 10 against Glenville State. Both games kick-off at 1 p.m

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com,

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