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Johns Hopkins Football Preview

August 15, 2017
Previews:  Maryland  |  Navy  |  Towson  |  Morgan  |  McDaniel  |  Stevenson 

Head Coach:
Jim Margraff (28th season)
2016 Record: 11-1 overall, 9-0 Centennial Conference; NCAA Tournament second round. 
Key Returners: WR Brett Caggiano, RB Ryan Cary, DL Keonte Henson, OL Cameron Little.
Key Games: Sept. 1 at Washington & Lee; Oct. 28 at Muhlenberg.

Outlook: Margraff enters his 28th season at Johns Hopkins with some decisions to make.

He figures his depth chart will require plenty of tinkering before the season opener at Washington & Lee Sept. 1.

"There's a lot of jobs to be won," Margraff said. "That's the exciting part."

Johns Hopkins has to replace some decorated players as it tries for a ninth consecutive Centennial Conference title and seventh straight NCAA Division III playoff appearance.

Quarterback Jonathan Germano is gone after leading the Blue Jays to a 22-2 mark during the past two seasons. So are his top two receivers and All-America center Chantz Anderson.

The defense lost seven starters, including all of its linebackers and All-America safety Jack Toner.

Margraff has managed to reload on the fly to keep piling up wins, but this season provides perhaps his toughest task yet. This group will have to come together quickly to extend the program's 40-game regular-season winning streak.

Zack Baker entered preseason camp with the inside track to replace Germano. The junior from California impressed in limited action last season, completing 39 of 47 passes for 346 yards. He might not be as athletic as Germano, but he probably has a stronger arm.

He'll have to hold off senior Drew Tomaini and a couple of younger players to keep the job.

"He hasn't been out there where we've asked him to win a game yet," Margraff said. "That's going to be the big question in the preseason, seeing how he reacts to the starting role."

Expect the Blue Jays to lean heavily on running back Cary early. The senior seized the starting spot last season and rushed for 943 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for 518 yards and four scores.

It helps that he's running behind a deep and experienced line, anchored by Little at left tackle.

The line also figures to be the strength of the defense, with Henson (Broadneck) and Lance Hammond clogging up the middle.

Margraff will be watching closely in camp to slot out many of the other roles. Most in the mix played a decent amount last fall but not necessarily in crunch time.

The 2016 Blue Jays went undefeated again during the regular season and won a home playoff game before falling to mighty Mount Union (Ohio), 28-21, at Homewood Field during the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

It's a tough act for so many new faces to follow, but Margraff believes this group has the right attitude.

"I don't think they're daunted by the task of filling those shoes -- I think they're excited about it," Margraff said. "It's not just next in line. They feel it's their turn. I think they feel that responsibility of being a great team with great players."