2017 Johns Hopkins Football Preview - Special Teams
BALTIMORE, MD – In the third of a seven-part series breaking down the 2017 Johns Hopkins football team, HopkinsSports.com takes a look at the Blue Jay special teams. While newcomers to the program may make an impact this season, the breakdown includes only returning players.
Who’s Gone: The Blue Jays must replace three key special teams performers who all graduated after standout four-year careers. Bradley Munday took his nearly 1,500 combined kickoff and punt return yards with him when he graduated last May, while Nick Campbell finished his career ranked second in school history in career points by a kicker (204) and fourth in field goals (22). Add in the loss of Dan Johnson, a special teams demon who graduated with nearly 50 career special teams tackles to his credit, and there are important roles that must be filled before the 2017 season kicks off.
Sullivan Among Career Leaders: After handling all kickoff duties and sharing the place-kicking chores with Campbell for the last three seasons, senior Jamie Sullivan will handle everything on his own in 2017.
Sullivan hit 42-of-43 extra points and 9-of-12 field goals, including a 50-yarder in a 29-21 win against Moravian, last season. He already ranks among Johns Hopkins’ career leaders in kick scoring (162 points / 5th) and field goals (18 / 6th) and has played in every game since arriving at Johns Hopkins in 2014. His experience playing in big games is invaluable and head coach Jim Margraff is comfortable with Sullivan out to 45 yards under most conditions.
Hong-Dominguez Back for Third Year: Junior Brandon Hong-Dominguez returns for his third season handling the punting chores for Margraff. While he hasn’t been called on a tremendous amount in his career (just 72 punts in two seasons), he has been steady with 25 punts pinning the opposition inside their 20-yard line and 28 resulting in a fair catch. He increased his average punt by nearly a half yard from his freshman to his sophomore year and has been working hard to increase that heading into the 2017 season.
Not to be Forgotten: While kickers get a lot of the credit when things go well, the long-snappers are just as crucial and the Blue Jays have no shortage of experience here as well. Senior Chris Stauch and junior Bill Ferrari are both experienced and comfortable handling these chores. With both also playing regular roles on defense (Stauch – DL) and offense (Ferrari – TE), they are also into the flow of the game and not coming off the bench cold to make a crucial snap
Many Happy Returns: The loss of the aforementioned Munday will be a challenge to overcome, but the heir to his spot on kickoff and punt returns actually arrived last season in the form of now sophomore Dane Rogerson. All Rogerson did last season was average 25.4 yards on 17 kickoff returns with his 431 kickoff return yards ranking as the sixth-best total in school history. In limited action, he also averaged 7.2 yards per punt return; he is a threat every time he gets the ball in his hands and figures to be Hopkins’ top return man for the next several years.
Inside the Numbers
9 – Johns Hopkins allowed just nine punt returns in 12 games in 2016. In the last 24 games (2015 and 2016 combined), the opposition has returned a total of just 17 punts against the Blue Jays.
19.4 – Johns Hopkins has held the opposition to an average of 19.4 yards or less per kickoff return every year since 2009.
45+ - The Blue Jays have eight kickoff returns that have covered 45 or more yards in the last two seasons. Most impressively, those eight kickoff returns have come from five different players.
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