Resurge…. 2017 Preview

Credits: BCU Athletics

Resurge……“a rising again into prominence.”

That’s the way Merriam-Webster defines it. In Daytona Beach, Terry Sims hopes to define it as “the return to the summit of MEAC football” as Bethune-Cookman look to amend last year’s sub .500 record and return to the form that saw the Wildcats capture a share of the conference crown in Sims’ first season in 2015.

The “Resurge” theme is attached to everything BCU football. Players and coaches all wear T-shirts with the simple message. It’s on the BCU Athletics webpage. It’s plastered over @BCUGridiron social media sites. In just a little while, we get to see if it is visible in the most important of places…… on the field of play.

There is good cause for the heightened optimism heading into the season. The Wildcats return 8 starters on offense, 7 starters on defense and all of their return specialist from a season ago.


Offensively BCU was sluggish and disheveled for far too many long stretches in 2016. New offensive coordinator and former Wildcat great Allen Suber will look to remedy that by picking up the tempo and adding a few more wrinkles to this year’s offense. He will get a boost at his former position in the form of returning experienced signal callers Arkevious Williams and Larry Brihm. Williams will get the nod as the week one starter but we expect both he and Brihm to share snaps throughout the course of the season. Whether it’s a shared responsibility or someone steps up and claims the position as their own, production at the quarterback position is a must if BCU wishes to RESURGE.

Mike Jones

Running backs

The do-it-all Michael Jones was a Preseason 1st Team All-MEAC selectee in 2016 but missed the entire season with a foot injury. Jones, who can run with power, run with speed and catch the ball out of the backfield, seems to be back at full health. If Jones is fully recovered from his injury, the running game should be much improved. Jamaruz Thompkins, Camron Rigby and Tupac Isme all saw significant minutes due to Jones’ injury last year and each will vie for carries and look to redeem their time in the crowded backfield.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The receiver position is perhaps the best and deepest position on the field for BCU. Frank Brown and Jawill Davis individually are as good as any receivers in the conference. As a tandem, it would be hard to argue that you will find a better duo in the MEAC. Brown has above average hands and good route running ability while Davis is more of the traditional speed receiver who can take the top off defenses. Add to the mix junior receiver Keavon Mitchell and converted quarterback Anthony Cruz and you have a bevy of dynamic receivers who are electric with the ball in their hands. Ja-Quan Lumas is an outstanding pass catching tight end. Look for Lumas to move around more in Suber’s offense and try to present match up issues for the opposition.

Offensive Line

The immediate impression you get when looking at this year’s offensive line is they are still big but a lot leaner than in years past. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are still some “big-uns” up front with guys like Job Buisserth who checks in at 6’4”, 315. However, you’re likely to see some lineman like Jerry Beauchamp play 40 pounds lighter than Buisserth. There seems to be more of a primacy  on technique, footwork and mobility as opposed to sheer girth and size from the guys up front.

Defensive Line

Defensive ends Kevin Thompson and Todney Evans anchor the defensive lines. Thompson and Evans offer great athleticism and speed coming off the edge. The biggest question mark for Earl Lane’s defensive front will be trying to replace DeMarcus Womack’s behemoth size and production. Dishawn Ray and Malik Slaughter offer the size and experience; let’s just hope they offer similar production.


The linebacker corps must improve from a season ago. It is as simple as that. Trenton Bridges is a really good football player at middle linebacker but there was a noticeable drop off after Bridges in 2016. Alexander Morales had to be moved from safety to outside linebacker to stabilize the position in the middle of last year. Thankfully Morales made his share of plays and we are hoping he can continue his maturation at the position. Marquis Hendrix is another guy who has a chance to solidify his name as a playmaker at linebacker. Hendrix originally signed with Boise State and he has all of the physical attributes needed to excel at the position. Veion Robinson, Atreyu Farrior and Deonte Mayo all saw frequent action at linebacker last year but all need to show improvement in their positioning, finishing of plays and consistency.

A Williams and D Richardson


Diquan Richardson, Arthur Williams and Elliott Miller are all returning starters and good players in the secondary. The veterans will look to anchor a defense who finished middle of the pack in the MEAC in both scoring (25.2ppg) and total defense (349.2 ypg).


There is a lot riding on this season for Bethune-Cookman. A successful campaign could very well see the Wildcats “Resurge” and reestablish their dominance in the conference. However, another mediocre year could spell trouble for the years ahead.

The pieces are all in place for the Wildcats to compete for another MEAC crown. They return all of their key offensive skill players from last year’s squad including their leading passer, leading rusher and leading receiver. A similar thing can be said about the defense as the top tackler, edge rushers, and cover men all return. The teams picked ahead of BCU all have their own share of serious question marks heading into the year too:

  • NCCU must replace QB Malcom Bell and several other key performers;
  • NCA&T graduated Tarik Cohen;
  • SCSU is still unsettled at the quarterback position;
  • Etc.

When you add all of this up, it says the path to the MEAC crown is more open than the claim to the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. It is not a stretch to argue Bethune-Cookman can bounce back and earn a trip to Atlanta by winning it’s 6th MEAC crown in 8 years. The crazy thing is we can also envision a very real scenario in which BCU finishes around the .500 mark again. The Cats open the year with 4 straight road games including games against FBS opponents Miami (Florida) and Florida Atlantic in the first three weeks. Sandwiched between the FBS games is an out of conference matchup with Southeast Louisiana.

For the sake of all that is maroon and gold, we hope to see the former of the two scenarios.

It all begins at 12:30 P.M. Saturday, September 2nd when BCU take on 18th ranked Miami at Hard rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.



LOCATION: Daytona Beach, Florida

STADIUM: Memorial Stadium

COACH: Terry Sims (13-8, two seasons)

2016 RECORDS: 4-6, 4-4 MEAC (Tie/5th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense/7 defense)

KEY LOSSES: Trevin Huff, OL; DeMarcus Womack, DE



Sept. 2, at Miami (Florida)

Sept. 9, at Southeastern Louisiana

Sept. 16, at Florida Atlantic

Sept. 23, at Howard*

Sept. 30, Savannah State*

Oct. 14, South Carolina State*

Oct. 21, at North Carolina A&T*

Oct. 28, Hampton*

Nov. 4, Morgan State*

Nov. 11, at North Carolina Central*

Nov. 18, Florida A&M* (at Camping World Stadium, Orlando)

* – MEAC game




Wildcat defense blankets FIU in 14-12 season open win

T Finnie and BCU defense blankets FIU

T Finnie and BCU defense blankets FIU

The Vegas betting lines closed on Saturday with FCS Bethune-Cookman listed as three point road favorites against FBS Florida International. The Wildcats’ narrow 14-12 victory didn’t quite cover the Vegas point spread or much resemble the 34-13 drubbing they put on FIU a season ago but it thrilled BCU’s coaches, players and fans nonetheless.

“All I can say is thank you. The Good Lord was on our side tonight. My hat goes off to this FIU team (they are) majorly improved” a relieved Brian Jenkins exclaimed at the end of the contest.

The Wildcats’ stifling defense limited FIU to just 186 yards of total offense and was largely to blame for the win. Erik Williams led the defensive charge accounting for 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, and 8 total tackles in the winning effort.  “Erik is a tremendous player. He has had to fight back through two shoulder injuries. He is back and I think he has proven that he can play at a dominating level. I am glad that he is playing for us” Jenkins stated.

On the other side of the ball, BCU’s offense found it difficult to find its rhythm for large portions of the evening. Quentin Williams got the start at quarterback and helped the Cats sustain a nice opening drive.

Mike  Jones celebrates 1 yard TD run w/teammates

Mike Jones celebrates 1 yard TD run w/teammates

However, the Wildcat offense failed to convert the opening drive into points and remained pedestrian until early in the 2nd quarter when Williams connected with Michael Jones on a 46 yard screen pass on 3rd and 15. After a 17 yard Williams to Darian Baker pass and run, Jones capped the drive with a 1 yard td run to give BCU an early 7-0 lead.

FIU return specialist Richard Leonard set the Panthers up with nice field position after returning the ensuing kickoff 54 yards. The Panthers registered their first points of the season 6 plays later when Austin Taylor successfully converted a 25 yard field goal.

Taylor converted his second 25 yard field goal of the contest near the end of the 2nd quarter and cut BCU’s lead to 7-6 heading into the half.

The Wildcat offense continued to struggle in the 2nd half. In fact, BCU only crossed midfield once in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Thankfully for the Cats, the lone 2nd half venture into FIU territory ended with a 55 yard touchdown toss from Williams to redshirt freshman receiver Frank Brown with 12:26 remaining in the 4th. Williams was forced to scramble to his right on the play to avoid multiple FIU defenders. He spotted Brown breaking free of coverage up the left seam and gave his receiver a chance to make a play on the ball. Brown outleaped one defender, made a 2nd defender miss and outran everyone for BCU’s go ahead score. The td catch was Brown’s first ever collegiate reception.

“I dreamt the last three nights that I would score in this game on a big play so when the ball was in the air I just attacked it like my coaches taught me.” “Right before the game, my (position) coach told me this is your first college game, make your first big play. That stuck with me throughout the game“ Brown stated. “(Crossing the goal line) felt great.”

FIU threaten late when Leonard made another spectacular return, this time on the end of a Jonathan Cagle punt. The 71 yard return gave the Panther’s 1st and goal from the BCU 7 yard line.  FIU punctuated the drive when Alex McGough connected with TJ Lowder on a 5 yard slant on 4th and 5 to cut the BCU lead to 14-12. But that was as close as FIU would get.

Bethune’s defense stood strong once again and held the Panthers’ on the 2 point conversion attempt.

The Panthers had one last opportunity to secure the victory after assuming possession at their own 39 yard line with 2:29 remaining. After converting a 4th and 13 and tacking on an additional 15 yards for roughing the passer, FIU was primed to seal just its 2nd victory since the 2012 season.

FIU lined up for what would have been a game winning 46 yard FG attempt with 5 seconds remaining. However, the snap was botched and BCU held on for the victory.

The Cats have a bye week next Saturday before playing hosts to Grambling State in their home opener on September 13th.

Team Stat Comparison





1st Downs 11 12
Total Yards 239 186
Passing 149 143
Rushing 90 43
Penalties 10-86 8-47
3rd Down Conversions 5-16 1-16
4th Down Conversions 1-2 3-5
Turnovers 0 0
Possession 32:26 27:34

Passing Leaders

Bethune-Cookman C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Quentin Williams 8/17 149 8.8 1 0
Florida International C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Alex McGough 13/27 117 4.3 1 0
E.J. Hilliard 3/6 26 4.3 0 0

Rushing Leaders

Bethune-Cookman CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Anthony Jordan 19 64 3.4 0 14
Cary White 3 25 8.3 0 15
Florida International CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Alex Gardner 12 46 3.8 0 22
Lamarq Caldwell 10 15 1.5 0 3

Receiving Leaders

Bethune-Cookman REC YDS AVG TD LG
Frank Brown 1 55 55.0 1 55
Michael D. Jones 1 46 46.0 0 46
Florida International REC YDS AVG TD LG
Ya’Keem Griner 3 36 12.0 0 28
Dominique Rhymes 3 32 10.7 0 17

Scoring Summary

  TD 11:26 Michael D. Jones 1 Yd Run (Haden Hoggarth Kick) 7 0
  FG 9:02 Austin Taylor 25 Yd Field Goal 7 3
  FG 3:27 Austin Taylor 25 Yd Field Goal 7 6
  TD 12:26 Frank Brown 55 Yd pass from Quentin Williams (Haden Hoggarth Kick) 14 6
  TD 5:16 T.J. Lowder 5 Yd pass from Alex McGough (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 14 12

BCU signs 24 high school and junior college players

SONY DSCBethune-Cookman football coach Brian Jenkins announced the signing of 24 student-athletes on National Signing Day.

Jenkins stated the goal of this recruiting class was to “build a new team” and “create depth and competition at every position”.

The 2013 class includes: 9 offensive and defensive linemen; 6 wide receivers; 4 running backs, 2 quarterbacks, 1 athlete, and 1 linebacker.

Defensive Lineman Jamal Cooper (Coahoma Community College), Punter/Place Kicker, Johnathan Cagle (Pensacola Pine Forest HS), and running backs Nate Pryor (Sebastian River HS) and Jamaruz Thompkins (Tampa Bay Tech HS) were among those whom Coach Jenkins mentioned as having the potential to make immediate impacts. 

Quarterback Larry Brihm (Delray Beach Village Academy) and wide receiver Frank Brown (Palm Beach Gardens) were the top performers at their positions in talent rich Palm Beach County in 2012.  In addition to Brihm and Brown, BCU also landed speedy and athletic Werley Placide (linebacker) from Boca Raton Olympic HS. The Palm Beach Post referenced BCU’s nabbing of the trio as a bit of a coup d’état for Brian Jenkins and his staff.

The Wildcats landed two local high school standouts in former Mainland High School quarterback Shelton Willis and reigning 8A State Champions Apopka High’s Dazzie Morris.

Four players from Jacksonville Raines signed with BCU all of whom are listed as wide receivers.

This is a deep class of signees who possess a great mix of size, speed, and athleticism.  Several of the signees selected the Daytona Beach institution over larger FBS programs which is a true testament to the growth of the BCU football program. 

2013 Bethune-Cookman Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School

Darian Baker WR 5-10 174 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Larry Brihm QB 6-0 210 Delray Beach, Fla./Village Academy

Frank Brown WR 5-11 176 Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS

Johnathan Cagle P/K 6-3 175 Pensacola, Fla./Pine Forest HS

Jamal Cooper DL 6-4 280 Memphis, Tenn./Kirby HS/Coahoma CC

Jawill Davis WR 6-0 170 Miami, Fla./American HS

Terique Debois OL 6-3 310 Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem HS/Lackawanna CC

Jamal Dozier WR 6-1 160 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Andrew Edouard OL 6-0 290 Philadelphia, Pa./Overbrook HS/Lackawanna CC

Atreyu Farrior ATH 6-1 180 Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen HS

Anthony Green DT 6-1 245 Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson HS

Uriah Horne OG 6-3 260 McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing HS

William Koen III OL 6-4 250 Lawrenceville, Ga./Mountain View HS

Dazzie Morris OG 6-2 260 Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS

Dre’Sean Nelson RB 5-8 160 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard HS

Phillip Norman OG 6-4 280 Sebastian, Fla./Sebastian River HS

Larry Overstreet RB 6-0 200 Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh HS/Fresno City College

Nathaniel Pryor RB 5-9 180 Sebastian, Fla./Sebastian River HS

Dishawn Ray DT 6-4 305 Jesup, Ga./Wayne County HS

Bruce Seymore WR 6-2 171 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Jamaruz Thompkins RB 5-10 185 Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Tech

Devonte Washington WR 6-2 178 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Shelton Willis QB 6-0 165 Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland HS