The Maroons lost a lot of talent from a 2014 squad that finished 7-4 overall, but Coach Cameron Pettus instead is looking ahead to what he hopes is an even brighter future.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces and a lot of young kids are going to be playing this year, but we’re excited about them because we feel they’ve got a shot to be pretty good,” Pettus said.
The Maroons boast Division I recruits on both sides of the ball in defensive lineman DeMarlo Nesbitt (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and receiver-defensive back TeAntez Anthony (5-9, 165).
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Junior Logan Betz (6-1, 180), takes over at quarterback for Boyd. Betz completed 5-of-9 passes for 54 yards last season in limited duty.
Junior Paris Johnson (307 yards, three TDs) and senior Nick Foster are the top threats at running back while sophomores Chris Davis and Sherond Boyd also have been impressive in the offseason.
The top receiver is Anthony, but look for junior Jack Lanxon to become more involved in the offense this season.
Senior offensive tackle Steven Leadlove (6-1, 250) leads what could be a solid line that includes senior guard Keltric Rodgers (5-11, 220), senior center Chris Moore (5-8, 220) and junior Israel Griffin (6-4, 235). Also in the mix are junior tackle Aaron McKinney and guard Sam Watts.
Foster (25 tackles, one sack) is perhaps an even bigger threat on defense at outside linebacker than he is on offense.
Lanxon (5-10, 170) jumped in at safety as a sophomore and contributed seven interceptions, 58 tackles and a sack.
Nesbitt figures to be a disruptive force on the defensive line along with defensive end Reggie Coleman, while Kent Dixon and Adam Harbison join Foster at linebacker. Davis also will see time at defensive back along with sophomore Jarell Anderson, who also will see time at receiver.
— Norm Sanders
East St. Louis
at Belleville East
at Granite City
East St. Louis
Chicago Mt. Carmel