The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers football team is in the midst of their first full week of spring drills. CCU head coach Joe Moglia has 106 players in camp.
In his first two seasons as head coach, Moglia has guided CCU to a 20-8 record, two playoff appearances, and a share of two Big South Conference Championships.
The Chanticleers capped off the 2013 season with playoff wins against Bethune-Cookman and #4 Montana before losing to eventual FCS Champion North Dakota State in the quarterfinals.
This year's squad will have to replace six starters on offense and seven on defense.
Leading rusher and Big South Offensive Player of the Year Lorenzo Taliaferro, who ran for 1,729 yards and 27 TD's last season is gone.
De'Angelo Henderson will take over as CCU's feature back. Henderson had 82 carries last season for 599 yards and 6 trips to the end zone.
CCU's top three receivers have departed. Matt Hazel, DeMario Bennett, and Niccolo Mastromatteo accounted for 2,034 yards through the air, with 18 TD grabs.
A new crop of receivers are expected to fill the void. Tyrell Blanks is the top returning wide receiver. He caught 23 passes for 353 yards and 3 TD's last season. Bruce Mapp and John Israel out of Wilson High are expected to step into bigger roles next fall.
At tight end, Thomas Pauciello started only four games last season, but the 6-foot-6 250 pound junior has proven that he is not only a sure-handed pass catcher, but also a solid blocker.
First Team All-Big South offensive linemen Jamey Cheatwood and Drew Herring have graduated. Finding their replacements will be high on Coach Moglia's list during the spring.
The leader of the Coastal Carolina offense will return for his junior season. Alex Ross threw for 3,093 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, starting all 14 games.
Coastal lost two starters up front on their 4-2-5 defense. But All-Big South pick Calvin Hollenhorst returns at defensive end to lead the way.
Two-time All-Big South linebacker Mike McClure is also gone. But leading tackler and two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year Quinn Backus, along with seven lettermen are in camp, including Colton Blackburn and Brett Johnson.
The secondary will be one of the strengths of the team. Denzel Rice and Richie Sampson return, along with Pernell Williams and Samson Baldwin.
Alex Catron, an All-Big South kicker is back along with punter Austin Cain.
Coastal Carolina will finish their spring football schedule on Saturday, April 12 at 1:30 p.m. with their annual Spring Game at Brooks Stadium.