2018 College Football Team Previews: North Alabama Lions

North Alabama Lions
Location: Florence, AL
Coach: Chris Willis(5-5), 2nd year at UNA
Stadium: Braly Municipal Stadium (Capacity: 14,215)

CSJ Projections:
3rd: FCS Independent
10th: Alabama
111th: FCS
241st: Division I

2017 In A Sentence: The Lions faced Division II’s toughest schedule and overcame a rash of key injuries to emerge with a 5-5 overall record and a 5-3 Gulf South Conference mark–the last DII season before moving up to Division I.

Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Dre Hall is UNA’s all-time leading receiver with 201 career catches for 3,144 yards and 25 touchdowns. His 11 games with more than 100 receiving yards are also a school record. He signed with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in a free agent contract this spring.

Courtesy of UNA

Key Player: S Chris Johnson was a D-II All-American last year after he was UNA’s fourth leading tackler with 50 stops (31 solo, 19 assists). He also added 2.0 tackles for loss and six interceptions for 14 yards. He also led the Gulf South Conference in interceptions and ranked seventh in NCAA Division II in interceptions with 0.6 per game.

Fearless Prediction: The Lions enter their Division I transition this year as an independent and will play six of is 11 games against DI competition. The defense should be the strong side of the ball after giving up just 17.5 points last year and return 18 of the top 23 tacklers this year. The offense will be the question mark but expect around a .500 record again this year.

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