The top 10 players returning to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Asher O'Hara, QB
2. Reed Blankenship, S
3. Jimmy Marshall, WR
4. Dq Thomas, LB
5. Kylan Stribling, S
6. Robert Jones, T
7. Will Gilchrist, T
8. Jarrin Pierce, WR
9. Decorian Patterson, CB
10. Rakavian Poydras, DI
Honorable Mention: Zack Dobson, WR; Eric Seay, G; Gregory Grate Jr., CB
O'Hara is one of the best Group of 5 quarterbacks returning as he does it all and does it all at elite levels. He can hit all levels of the field but really dominates over the middle. He sees routes breaking open before they're there, routinely, and throws with great poise in the pocket. He doesn't get rattled and finished the season with nearly identical stat lines from either a pressured pocket as when he was kept clean. He'll stand tall and deliver no matter what.
And, if all else fails, he'll just run for another 1,000 yards on you instead. He totaled 1,177 yards on the ground last year on 119 designed carries and another 57 scrambles. O'Hara belongs in the conversation of best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
Marshall returns after hauling in 35 balls for 513 yards and leading the team with six receiving touchdowns. He'll churn out first down after first down and has great hands as does Pierce, who led the team in receiving yards last year. And O'Hara has a solid bookend set of tackles to boot.
On defense, Blankenship does everything extremely well but is perhaps at his best in coverage. Despite seeing just 21 targeted passes as the primary coverage defender in 2019, he made five plays on the ball and limited receivers to a long reception of 23 yards. He'll stuff you in run defense and he'll blast you if he gets a chance to blitz. He's the triple threat.
Thomas should lead the team in tackles this season as he was second a year ago and is a talented pass-rusher as well. Stribling is a ballhawk himself and Patterson recorded three pass breakups while limiting YAC on all but maybe one pass last year (sorry, Decorian, that 96-yarder hurt).
MTSU will go as their QB goes this year -- and fortunately for the Blue Raiders -- O'Hara is set to go far.