- Gabriel Burns
Coming off a 12-2 season that tied them for the most wins in Big South history, the Kennesaw State Owls welcomed 16 recruits and two transfers to their roster during the 2017-18 cycle.
“We got a bunch of great young men,” coach Brian Bohannon said. “Our coaches did an outstanding job. They’re the ones who are out on the road, meeting with families and talking to coaches and different people in the schools to find out about these young men not only as players but really more as people, to see if they fit the culture, to continue to build on the success we’ve got here.”
KSU redshirted its entire class last season, but the Owls are expecting some immediate contributors this time around, while preparing for several departures along the lines after next season.
The priorities: After not landing a quarterback last cycle, Bohannon identified that perhaps the most important goal this time around. He and the program addressed the need with Tye Mintz, one of the more dynamic quarterbacks from North Carolina.
Mintz became the fourth player in North Carolina history to total over 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his career. He once committed to Gardner-Webb, where his father, Chris, played, but flipped to KSU.
“He was just looking for the right fit for him,” Bohannon said. “I’ll tell you what, from the moment you watch his tape, the moment you get around the kid, he fits who we are at that position. He’s tough, he’s hard-nosed, he can run the ball, he can throw. He’s one of those guys that if he doesn’t start at quarterback, he’s going to want to be running down on kickoff of the first game.”
Mintz is one of five quarterbacks on the roster, including returning starter Chandler Burks.
Wide receiver also was on Bohannon’s list. They added Will Haigler, Chavis Marshall and Jalen Jackson there. Each receiver is 6-foot-1 or taller, and the team is excited to add a trio of bigger pass catchers.
The transfers: KSU expects two transfers to add an instant boost to its defense.
Defensive end Andrew Butcher of Alpharetta couldn’t get on the field at the University of Tennessee. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, according to ESPN’s rankings. Knee injuries have stalled him.
Butcher’s father, Brian, played at Clemson and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1983. Bohannon praised Butcher and reiterated that they’re hoping he contributes immediately.
“We’ve done our homework,” Bohannon said. “You’re talking about a bigger body. You’re talking about a 250-pound-plus defensive end who can run and is physical. He’s working out on his own, doing everything he can to be ready to go.”
Linebacker Charlie Patrick joins the Owls from Georgia State. Patrick, who played at Mays, played in three games his freshman season. Bohannon expects that Patrick, who is entering his third collegiate season, will play early and often, be it as a starter or backup.
The defense: KSU spread the wealth across its defense. Bohannon wanted to add depth across the board.
“We really touched on every position,” Bohannon said. “We definitely feel like we needed some safeties. We signed two, so we feel good about that. We also got another corner, which will help us depth-wise there. All those kids are really good players.”
Markeith Montgomery, Quae Drake, Jeremiah Compton and Je’Cory Burks are the secondary additions. Tyler Moore, Chance Bates, Jayden Barron, Darion Williams, Desmond Scott and the two transfers joined the front seven.
Bohannon noted they could experiment with some of their offensive linemen additions on defense, including Kelcy Allen, Terrell Paxton and Zion Katina. But they’ll focus on them as offensive linemen first and “see how that unfolds.”