By SAM McGAW
After capturing their third consecutive state title with a 12-0 record last year, the Brentwood Academy Eagles approach 2018 with several holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
However, despite their inexperience, the Eagles have the tools to extend their dynasty by one more year.
BA’s passing attack will endure a complete makeover.
At quarterback, junior Wade Williams and sophomore Tayler Montiel are battling to replace Gavin Schoenwald (Vanderbilt), who recorded 1,592 passing yards, 416 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns (6 run) last season.
Tahir Annoor, Jack Victory and Preston Sagan are expected to fill the void at receiver following the departures of Camron Johnson (Vanderbilt), Mike Archie (Austin Peay) and Daniel Taylor (Navy).
Johnson, a 2017 Mr. Football finalist, had 48 catches for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall, while Archie and Taylor both eclipsed 300 receiving yards.
Sagan is the team’s returning leading receiver after catching 10 passes for 94 yards last season.
With so much inexperience in the passing game, the Eagles will likely need to lean on running back Tomario Pleasant.
The senior rushed for 1,372 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2017.
He’ll run behind an experienced offensive line that returns three seniors starters in tackle Nate Clifton, guard Thomas Gore and center Will Collins.
Sophomore Eli Sutton will also start at tackle. He has scholarship offers from LSU, Louisville, Ole Miss and others.
Junior Devyn Curtis and sophomore Damon Owens will both see time at H-back.
Much like its offense, BA’s defense will possess strength in the trenches.
Gore will anchor the 3-4 unit at nose guard, while Clifton will play defensive end. Collins, Sutton, sophomore Phil Husband and sophomore Javon Nelson might also see time at defensive end.
Gore registered 50 tackles (7 for loss) and a forced fumble last season.
Victory and Owens are expected to play outside linebacker, while Curtis and senior Grant Stacy will man the inside linebacker spots.
Curtis racked up 57 tackles (3.5 for loss) last season, while Victory had 45 tackles (9.5 for loss) and three sacks.
Tom Husband might also see time at inside linebacker.
Tahir Annoor and Sagan lead the secondary at both safety spots, while senior Collin Taylor and sophomores Amir Annoor, Konata Werts and Caleb Brooks are in line for playing time at corner.
Sophomore Elijah Oatsvall is also expected to make an impact at safety.
Annoor racked up 21 tackles and two interceptions in 2017.