Troy spring wrap

2009 overall record: 9-4

2009 conference record: 8-0

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 3, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

RB DuJuan Harris, RB Shawn Southward, WR Jerrel Jernigan, WR Tebiarus Gill, OL Tyler Clark, OL James Brown, LB Daniel Sheffield, CB Bryan Willis, P Will Goggans, K Michael Taylor

Key losses

QB Levi Brown, DE Brandon Lang, DE Cameron Sheffield, LB Boris Lee, LB Bear Woods, DT Kevin Dixon, DT Eugene Kinlaw

2009 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Shawn Southward* (110-602-12), DuJuan Harris* (151-583-10)

Passing: Levi Brown (321-504-9, 4,254, 23)

Receiving: Jerrel Jernigan* (71-1101-4), Tebiarus Gill* (47-581-6)

Tackles: Bear Woods (143), Boris Lee (127)

Sacks: Brandon Lang (8.5), Cameron Sheffield (7.0)

Interceptions: Bryan Willis* (4)

Spring Answers

1. Linebackers are again a strength: The Trojans lost stars Bear Woods and Boris Lee, but juniors Xavier Lamb and Donnell Golden have served as apprentices under Woods and Lee for two years and are experienced and talented. Daniel Sheffield missed the spring after shoulder surgery, but will be back for his senior season, and several of the younger players will fill out the depth, including redshirt freshman Johnny Thompson, sophomore Jacoby Thomas and sophomore Kanorris Davis.

2. The offensive line looks stout: Tyler Clark, who has been a three-year starter at guard, moves to center this season. Junior James Brown is back at left tackle and sophomore Kyle Wilborn is back at right tackle, although he may move to right guard if junior college signee Demarkus Underwood beats him out. Former Florida State player Tyler Graves could be the starter at left guard.

3. Improved receiving corps: Junior college transfer Brett Moncrief will be a nice addition to a receiving corps that already boasts Jerrel Jernigan, who has a chance to become the all-time Sun Belt Conference leader in receiving yards and receptions, TeBiarus Gill, Jason Bruce, Austin Silvoy, Chip Reeves and Josh Jarboe. This receiving corps will help in the transition to a new quarterback.

Fall Questions

1. Replacing record-setting QB Levi Brown: Four players went into spring with the chance to be the starting quarterback and two came out. Junior Jamie Hampton, who was the starter in 2008 before a knee injury turned over the offense to Brown, and redshirt freshman Corey Robinson will continue the battle into the fall.

2. Filling holes on the defensive line: The Trojans lost four starters on the defensive line and have yet to come up with a permanent solution. Senior Mario Addison and sophomore Jonathan Massaquoi played well on the outside, but the inside tackle spots are still up for grabs. Because there is so much uncertainty on the line, Troy might switch to a 3-4 defense.

3. Shoring up the secondary: Junior college transfers Willard Ross and Barry Valcin both spent time at corner in 2009, but will both be at safety in 2010. Bryan Willis, who was thrown in at corner as a redshirt freshman last season, is expected to start. The emergence of junior college transfer Jimmie Anderson and the return of KeJuan Phillips from academic ineligibility should help fill out the secondary.