Jackson State Tigers
Location: Jackson, MS
Coach: John Hendrick (2-1) 2nd Season at JSU
Stadium: Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 60,492)
2018 In A Sentence: Assistant coach John Hendrick was thrust into the head coaching position on an interim basis after Tony Hughes was let go after a 41-7 drubbing by Southern. After guiding the Tigers to a 2-1 record (5-5 overall) with wins against Prairie View and Alabama State, Hughes was invited to become the full-time head football coach to the delight of his players.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: DE Malik Hamner notched 64 tackles and 1 sack on his way to becoming an All-SWAC team member last year. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason.
Key Player: LB Keontre Hampton was one of the fab freshmen that helped Hendrick get those two wins to get the Tigers back to .500. His 83 tackles and 10 1/2 tackles for loss were just a taste of what this West Point, Mississippi native can bring Jackson State in upcoming years.
Fearless Prediction: Hendrick inherits a young Jackson State team that was just starting to put things together last season, but the Tigers start the season off with a brutal stretch of Bethune-Cookman in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, FBS South Alabama, Tennessee State in the Southern Heritage Classic, followed by a game against D-II Kentucky State in the Circle City Classic. By the time they make it back for their home opener against Grambling, they could be 1-3 or 0-4. If Jackson State is to contend, they’ll need to go 3-2 or better in all of these games, and it doesn’t seem likely.
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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