HAMPTON PIRATES

COACH: Robert Prunty, 7-3, second season at Hampton

2018 RECORD: 7-3

POSTSEASON: none

» A LOOK BACK

Hampton’s messy divorce with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference necessitated the Pirates play the 2018 season as an independent, and the administration put together a 10-game schedule on the fly. Hampton, heading to the Big South Conference, got some help from a couple of the teams in that conference, and the Pirates made the past season worthwhile.

The Pirates ended the season on a six-game winning streak, including a win over Presbyterian, to close the campaign with seven wins. Two of the three losses came against Monmouth and Charleston Southern, teams HU will get accustomed to playing in the Big South.

It also marked Prunty’s first season at the helm. Prunty should be a familiar name to those in Lynchburg after the Chatham native turned around Gretna High’s program and then churned out Division I talent with Hargrave Military Academy’s postgraduate program. Prunty has been a successful assistant coach at the FBS level with Texas Tech, Cincinnati and East Carolina.

» LOOKING AHEAD

Hampton returns a strong nucleus that hopes to contend in its first season in the Big South. The team’s success, especially on offense, rests on the impact Deondre François makes at quarterback. The former Florida State starter is expected to be at the top of the depth charter and replace Delmon Williams at quarterback. Williams finished high on the Pirates’ single-season record book with 2,035 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes last season. He fit perfectly into Prunty’s offensive schemes with his strong decision making in the pocket, and François fits that mold.

The running game will be aided by François' arrival with former Virginia Tech tailback Shai McKenzie being granted a sixth year of eligibility. He teams with Will Robinson as the top two running backs.

Once François is entrenched under center, the focal point will be filling out a defense that was gutted through graduation. The top five players on last year’s team graduated, including Kapri Doucet and his nine sacks, and Prunty needs to identify the next crop of linebackers who can be playmakers.

» WHO’S BACK?

• SKILL PLAYERS

RB Shai McKenzie (34 carries, 199 yards, 5.9 average)

RB Will Robinson (113 carries, 799 yards, 7.1 average, 7 TD)

WR Antonio Graham (24 catches, 341 yards, 14.2 average, 3 TD)

WR Marcel Paul (11 catches, 198 yards, 18.0 average, 5 TD)

• OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

T Malik Mackey

G Gibril Ghee

G Michael Joseph

C Albert Carlisle

• DEFENSIVE LEADERS

DT Desmond Sturdivant (40 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 1 QBH)

FS Caleb Brown (39 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU)

DT Norman Oglesby (34 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FR)

CB Donald Smith (27 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 PBU)

DE Kentrelle Groom (15 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 2 QBH)

• SPECIAL TEAMS

K Evan Lomax (5-8 FG, 46 long, 0 blocked; 36-37 PAT)

P Ivan Oraha (34 punts, 39.6 average, 62 long, 1 TB, 7 FC, 11 I20, 4 50+, 0 blocked)

» WHO’S GONE?

• SKILL PLAYERS

QB Delmon Williams (137-216 passing, 2.035 yards, 22 TD, 9 INT; 91 carries, 330 yards, 3.6 average, 6 TD)

WR Byron Barney (36 catches, 574 yards, 15.9 average, 9 TD)

• OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

T Messiah Rice

• DEFENSIVE LEADERS

LB Davonte’ Spruill (65 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 FF)

FS Chaka Diarrassouba (58 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR)

LB Jayso’n Davidson (53 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 FR, 1 FF)

S Dereon Carr (49 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 6 PBU)

LB Kapri Doucet (49 tackles, 17.5 TFL, 9.0 sacks, 4 QBH, 3 FR, 3 FF)

• SPECIAL TEAMS

None

» WHOM TO FOLLOW

Dave Johnson, The Daily Press: @DaveJohnsonDP

Hampton Football: @Hampton_FB

» SCHEDULE

Aug. 31: Elizabeth City State, 6 p.m.

Sept. 7: Virginia Union, 6 p.m.

Sept. 14: vs. Howard in Chicago, 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 21: at Liberty, 6 p.m.

Oct. 5: North Alabama, 2 p.m.

Oct. 12: at Gardner-Webb, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 19: at Campbell, 4 p.m.

Oct. 26: Virginia University of Lynchburg, 2 p.m.

Nov. 2: Presbyterian, 1 p.m.

Nov. 9: at Charleston Southern, 6 p.m.

Nov. 16: Kennesaw State, 1 p.m.

Nov. 23: at Monmouth, noon

» THE SERIES (home team in CAPS)

Liberty leads 4-2

Sept. 1, 1979: LIBERTY 41, Hampton 20

Nov. 15, 1980: LIBERTY 51, Hampton 18

Nov. 4, 1995: LIBERTY 28: Hampton 14

Nov. 2, 1996: Liberty 34, HAMPTON 30

Oct. 11, 1997: Hampton 33, LIBERTY 27

Oct. 10, 1998: HAMPTON 21, Liberty 0

Liberty Sports newsletter sign-up

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.

Recommended for you

Load comments