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FOOTBALL STARTS SPRING BALL ON TUESDAY MORNING

FOOTBALL STARTS SPRING BALL ON TUESDAY MORNING

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State football team will take the field for the first time in the Troy Taylor era on Tuesday, March 26, with the first of 15 spring football practices. The team will practice from 7:45-10 a.m. on Tuesday morning inside Hornet Stadium.

Taylor was hired on Dec. 17 and completed his coaching staff over the last three months. While he will call the plays on offense, he will be joined by Assistant Head Coach Kris Richardson who will also coach the offensive line. Former Hornet Bobby Fresques returns as the quarterbacks coach and Jeremy LaPan joins the staff as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. James Montgomery is the lone returning coach for the Hornets and will once again mentor the running backs. Tyler Osborne completes the offense staff as the wide receivers coach.

On the defensive side of the ball, Andy Thompson takes over as the defensive coordinator after spending the last 10 seasons leading the Northern Arizona defense. Cherokee Valeria is the team's passing game coordinator and oversees the secondary. Former Montana defensive coordinator Kraig Paulson will serve as the defensive line coach and Sam Cole will coach the safeties.

Quarterback Kevin Thomson returns for his third season as Sacramento State and second as a junior as he was granted two years of eligibility by the NCAA during the offseason. Thomson enters the year with 3,081 career passing yards which places him 14th in Sacramento State history. He currently holds the school record for career pass efficiency as well as yards per pass and ranks among the top 20 in completions, attempts and completion percentage.

Junior Elijah Dotson leads a loaded backfield for Sacramento State. Dotson was named first team all-Big Sky a year ago after rushing for 1,154 yards and averaging 6.2 yards per carry. His average of 115.4 yards per game was the third best in school history and he had five consecutive 100-yard games during the middle of the year. Bryant Perkinson, Isaiah Gable and Ja'Narrick James also return after seeing action a year ago.

Pierre Williams who led the team with 31 receptions, 553 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman highlights the returning receivers.  Johnnie Rucker (17 rec., 274 yards, 2 TDs), Tao McClinton and Dewey Cotton also had receptions a year ago.

Up front, the offense will have four players who have all started games during their Hornet career. Wyatt Ming, who missed the final nine games of last season, returns after earning a medical hardship in 2018 and will likely return at right guard. Thomas Parker started all 10 games at guard as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and Nick Bianco filled in for Ming in the last nine contests. Brandon Bocaleoni earned a pair of starts at center and will contend for a starting position along with returner Brysen Klinefelter.

Defensively, former FCS All-American George Obinna returns after missing most of last season. Obinna was injured in the season opener against Saint Francis (Ill.), returned two weeks later only to be injured again at Northern Colorado. The senior is tied for fourth in school history with 19.5 sacks and is 11th with 27 career tackle-for-loss. The front also features five others who started games in 2019. Seperine Togiai Aumua is the most veteran of the group having started all 32 games of his career on the interior of the line. Dariyn Choates has 58 career stops, including 12.5 for loss in his three seasons and split time last season with Elijah Chambers. On the outside, the team returns David Perales, who started all 10 games, as well as Killian Rosko.

The linebacking corps will feature many new faces as all three primary starters from a year ago expired their eligibility. Marcus Bruce, who was an all-Big Sky selection in 2017 before missing most of last season, is the most experienced of the unit. Bruce had 57 stops in 2017 and also recovered four fumbles. Miguel Garcia also returns after missing nearly all of last season with an ankle injury. Garcia played in every game as a freshman where he had 35 stops in 2017.

Daron Bland and Caelan Barnes were the only Hornet to start all 10 games a year ago in the secondary. Bland, who is also a member of the Sacramento State track and field team, started every game at cornerback and ended the year with 44 tackles and a team-high five pass breakups. Caelan Barnes started nine games at free safety and one at corner. The Antelope HS product set a career high with 71 tackles last season which is the most among returners.

Devon Medeiros was also granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA during the offseason. Medeiros is tied for third with 26 career field goals and ranks fourth in the Hornet record book with 85 extra points.