2012 College Football Preview: Johns Hopkins
By Daniel Gallen
Riding a three-year streak atop the Centennial Conference and boasting a 36-10 record since 2008, coach Jim Margraff will try to keep his recent success alive while integrating 31 new freshmen into his program.
Hailing from 16 different states, the freshmen join the Blue Jays at nearly every position, helping to ease the burden of replacing a senior class that had one of the most successful runs in school history.
At the top of the list of departing Blue Jays players is quarterback Hewitt Tomlin, the program's leader in wins (33), total offense (10,677), passing yards (10,481), attempts (1,375), completions (851), touchdown passes (74), 200-yard passing games (31) and 300-yard passing games (12).
But there is some top talent remaining on the Blue Jays roster. Wide receiver Dan Wodicka, a junior, was named a preseason second-team All-American in Lindy's 2012 College Football Preview, adding to his first-team All-Centennial Conference and first-team d3football.com All-South Region selections last season. Wodicka caught a school-record 87 passes for 1,245 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011.
Offensive tackle Armand Jenifer joins Wodicka as a Lindy's preseason second-team All-American, while earning the same honor from d3football.com. Jenifer started all 11 games in 2011, winning second-team d3football.com All-South, second-team All-ECAC South and first-team All-Centennial Conference honors.
The continued success of Wodicka and Jenifer will be vital if Johns Hopkins wants to continue its offensive success. The Blue Jays set school records last year by averaging 39.8 points and 492.7 yards per game. Johns Hopkins won its 10 games last year by an average of 30.5 points, including an 83-21 thumping of Gettysburg Oct. 22.
The lone blemish of the 11-game schedule came during the NCAA playoffs, as St. John Fisher defeated the Blue Jays, 23-12, at Homewood Field.
Despite the loss of Tomlin, the Blue Jays' cupboard at quarterback isn't bare. Junior Robbie Matey played in all 11 games last season, completing 73 percent of his passes for 598 yards and three touchdowns.
While the offense exploded last year, the defense held strong, holding opponents to a stingy 13.1 points per game and 2.6 yards per attempt rushing. Linebacker Taylor Maciow, the team's leading tackler, returns, along with strong safety Adam Schweyer. Maciow and Schweyer are also the Blue Jays' top returning sack leaders.
It would seem to be a rebuilding year for the Blue Jays, given the loss of Tomlin, center Ed Rodger, defensive end Kale Sweeney and strong safety Michael Milano. Still, perhaps Margaff, with experienced returning talent and a full freshman class, is just reloading for another Centennial championship run.
Sept. 1 -- vs. Randolph Macon
Sept. 8 -- at Susquehanna
Sept. 15 -- vs. Moravian
Sept. 22 -- at Muhlenberg
Sept. 29 -- vs. Juniata
Oct. 13 -- at Dickinson
Oct. 19 -- vs. Gettysburg
Oct. 27 -- at Ursinus
Nov. 3 -- at Franklin & Marshall
Nov. 10 -- vs. McDaniel
Issue 176: August 2012