Article by Dominic Minicozzi <email@example.com>
Following a successful 2022 season for Ursinus Football that featured a starting lineup composed of mostly seniors, the biggest question for the Bears this offseason was, “With all of the departures from the 2022 team, who is going to step up?” Now that the 2023 season has officially arrived and the Bears have two games under their belts, these doubts and questions have essentially been answered.
Third year quarterback Jalen Bradford looks as advertised in his first two career starts, posting a combined total of 6 passing touchdowns, 484 yards passing, and 53 rushing yards over the past two games. But you may be asking: “who is he throwing the ball to?” After star wide receivers like Nick Schnaars, Octavius Carter, Zach Throne, Kevin DePrince, and Dallas Evans graduated in the Spring, this receiving core may seem vacant with only sophomore stand-out Justin Collier, who has been out of the lineup for the first two weeks, being the only starter to return from last season’s group. But these vacancies have been filled in impressive fashion by players like Sophomore Cody House (Game 1: 6 receptions, 88 yards, 3 touchdowns; Game 2: 5 receptions, 64 yards, 1 touchdown), Sophomore Markel Roberts-Jackson (Game 2: 3 receptions, 39 yards, 1 touchdown), and Junior Cameron Dennis (Game 1: 2 receptions, 72 yards). Not to mention that the three-headed monster in the backfield consisting of Tony Holden, Dawson Fresses, and Mike D’Amico has made its return and the offensive line seems to be in good hands with sophomore starters Trey Williams and Devin Cope coming back as juniors with more size and experience than last season.
As for the defense, the secondary returns a multitude of talented players like Ryan DiVergilis (recorded an interception in Game 1), Aaron Anderson, and Anthony Esposito. The linebackers room holds on to its captain and four-year starter Brett Gross while including some other experienced rotational players in the mix such as Marc Clayton and Julian Jones. Finally, the defensive line looks stout despite the departure of First Team All-Centennial defensive end Ethan Belville and starting nose tackle Jack Ginley. Players like senior defensive end Ryan Bodolus, who was a First Team All-Centennial Player last season as well and former true freshman starting defensive tackle Sean Spinosa have been wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines, combining for four sacks in two weeks. Some notable new names that have stepped up so far for the Bears’ defense include: senior defensive tackle Mike McCuen (Recorded a sack and tackle for loss against Alvernia), junior safety Patrick McManus (5 tackles against Kean), and junior defensive end Connor Carter (1.5 Sacks against Alvernia).
Overall, if we have learned anything from the past two weeks, the Future of Ursinus Football is in great hands!