--By Mike Gilpatrick
--File photo by Seth Spalding
With football just over a month away, River City Cards will look at the 2018 Louisville depth chart; unit by unit. This week, RCC will break down Louisville’s special teams, which returns many from last season.
Football season is almost upon us. The Cards kick off September 1st in Orlando, just 33 days from now. When they travel south, one unit that hasn’t hardly changed is special teams. They return players at most positions from 2017’s depth chart.
While there hasn’t been an official depth chart for 2018 that dropped, it’s projected that Russ Yeast will take over for Alexander as punt returner, and Seth Dawkins as the kick returner. Louisville also lost Reggie Bonnafon, who had the most punt returns last year.
Yeast had 10 returns last year, and averaged 3.3 yards. With another year of experience, and more return opportunities, Yeast should improve. The Cards also struggled with blocking, which must improve if they’re to get more return yards.
Dawkins has some experience returning. He had the most of anyone last season, with 12. He returned 26 kicks in his career, averaging 21.6 yards. Dawkins is a big player with experience.
Backing up Yeast and Dawkins will likely be Josh Johnson. The three-star wideout played 10 last year, and made
three receptions on offense. He did show glimpses of being able to get down field.
Aside from returners, much of special teams will look the same.
Mason King will likely start as punter and holder. He was 25th in the nation last season with 43.9 yards per punt. His longest was a 58-yarder against Syracuse last November.
Blanton Creque solidified his role as the placekicker in 2017, and will take over again. He made 17 of 20 last season, and hit a massive 48-yard field goal against NC State. One of his most memorable kicks went against Florida State last season, when he made a game-winning 34-yarder in Tallahassee. He became the first kicker since John Wallace in 2012 to make a game-winner.
Mitch Hall, who took over for long snapper Colin Holba last year, will again assume the role.