Prairie View A&M Panthers
Location: Prairie View, TX
Coach: Eric Dooley (0-0) 1st Season at PVAMU
Stadium: Panther Stadium at Blackshear Field (Capacity: 15,000)
4th: SWAC (3rd in West Division)
205th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: The Panthers beat who they were supposed to beat, but couldn’t pull off an upset of the bigger names on their schedule, which was nevertheless good enough for a 6-5 record. After the season, head coach Willie Simmons left the program to take over head coaching duties at Florida A&M, and Eric Dooley, offensive coordinator at Grambling, was hired in his place.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Khadarel Hodge was third in the SWAC in receptions (48) and receiving yards (844), and caught more touchdowns (12) than anyone else in the conference. Hodge caught at least one touchdown pass in seven straight games. He’s currently in training camp for the LA Rams.
Key Player: Speedy DB Ju’Anthony Parker was one of the top defensive backs in all of the SWAC last season, and he’s only a junior. With four interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – he’ll be looking to continue to develop into a shutdown defensive back and continue dominating the SWAC.
Fearless Prediction: The Panthers will be looking to install a new offensive system, and the early schedule – with two FBS schools (Rice, UNLV) and a Top 25 FCS powerhouse (Sam Houston State) – doesn’t look ideal in that respect. If they can navigate those tough waters, they will face off against Grambling in the State Fair Classic looking for an upset. It seems more likely that the Panthers will come close to competing for the SWAC West regular season title, but, like last year, come up just short again.