2018 College Football Team Previews: Western Illinois Leathernecks

Western Illinois Leathernecks
Location: Macomb, IL
Coach: Jared Elliott (0-0) 1st Season
Stadium: Hanson Field (Capacity: 16,368)

CSJ Projections:
7th: MVFC
5th: Illinois
31st: FCS
146th: Division I

2017 In A Sentence: The Leathernecks won eight games, 5-3 in the always tough MVFC, to make the FCS playoffs but lost in the opening round to Weber State and will have to work through some changes in the coaching staff though after Charlie Fisher joined the staff at Arizona State.

Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Jaelon Acklin caught 84 passes for 1,369 yards and ten touchdowns last year in being named to the All-MVFC squad. He was the favorite target of quarterback Sean McGuire and will be a tough receiver to replace this season.

Key Player: QB Sean McGuire will need to find a new receiver as his key target but should again put up some nice statistics. Last year, the now-senior threw for 2,852 yards and 25 touchdowns and completed 64% of his passes with just seven interceptions.

Fearless Prediction: WIU just may have the most daunting schedule of any FCS team for new Coach Elliott. Western Illinois travels to Montana State and Illinois before hosting Montana in their non-conference slate. The Missouri Valley Football Conference is always tough as well. A seven-win season will undoubtedly get the Leathernecks into the FCS playoffs but it will be a tough task despite being a very talented team.