Location: Elon, NC
Coach: Curt Cignetti (8-4) 2nd Season at Elon
Stadium: Rhodes Stadium (Capacity 13,100)
8th: North Carolina
125th: Division I
2017 In a Sentence: Elon played in a lot of tight games in 2017, with 9 games ending within one score. They came out on the winning side in most of those games, earning a playoff spot for the first time since 2009.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: Elon was fairly young team in 2017 in many spots. S Chris Blair was one of the leaders on defense. Blair was impactful against the run and the pass with 88 tackles including 4.5 for loss, an interception and two forced fumbles. Elon will look to many players to fill the gap in 2018.
Key Player: The easy answer to this would be QB Davis Cheek, but RB Malcolm Summers was clearly the catalyst while he was healthy in the first half of the season. The Phoenix will need Summers to pick up where he left off if they want to win those close games again this year and make a return trip to the playoffs.
Fearless Prediction: Elon will play a lot of close games again in 2018, but will their end-of-game luck that they had last year continue? The Phoenix won’t be sneaking up on anyone in 2018, and that might be a problem.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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