By Suleyman Hakim
After finishing last season 8-3 and coming up a game short of making the PSAC playoffs, the KU football team is preparing to contend for a possible PSAC title in the fall.
Senior running back Craig Reynolds and quarterback Colin Digalbo return to lead the offense, while linebacker Tajier Jefferson is back to head up the defense for the Golden Bears, who wrapped up their spring season with a scrimmage on April 21.
The team also expects to return other key players, including defensive back Ahkee Cox-Cowan, guard Matt Cella and linebacker Luke Snyder.
“As an entire offense, if we can stay healthy this season and execute, we can be a dangerous group,” Reynolds said.
This past season, KU honored 11 members who were selected to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) teams. Five players from the team have also been selected to the Don Hansen Gazette All-Region Team.
This fall, all eyes will be on the Reynolds. This past season, he accounted for 10 offensive touchdowns and 456 yards of total offense despite missing three games with injuries. In 2016, he tallied 14 total touchdowns in comparison to only have two the season before.
“I thought a lot of guys stepped up for us this season as guys went through injuries – not having Colin and Craig hurt,” head coach Jim Clements said. “Not discrediting the teams who made the playoffs, but I thought if we got in we could’ve made some noise.”
Going into his fifth season at KU, Clements has had a winning record every season, been named coach of the year and delivered a 2016 PSAC East Championship. The opportunity to deliver the schools second-ever PSAC championship is often in his thoughts.
“For the first time in a while we’ve brought in a recruit for every position on the roster, so we will be adding about 25 to 30 new players,” Clements said. “I’m also very confident in Colin’s abilities to lead the offense with Craig this season. We just need those two guys to stay healthy and that starts with putting in the work in the weight room.”
The team is set to play Assumption University on Sept. 1.
“I think this season the fans will see a hungry team against Assumption and in general,” Clements said. “We have to take pride in the work we will put in (in minicamp) and embrace the grind.”
Some key games this season for the Golden Bears are the Sept. 8 home opener against California, a Sept. 29 home game against conference rival Bloomsburg and Senior Day against West Chester on Oct. 27. The Golden Bears host Lock Haven for Homecoming on Oct. 13.
The team will play six of its 10 games on the road, including the opener at Assumption Worcester, Mass., on Sept. 8. The team is slated to end the season with a Nov. 10 visit to Edinboro – or the PSAC Championship.