Jackson State Tigers
2018 Record: 5-5 (4-3 SWAC) 3rd in the SWAC East
Head Coach: John Hendrick
Look no further than 2018 Jackson State for the definition of a roller-coaster season. Hal Mumme was brought in to install his “air raid” system but it stayed grounded and Mumme resigned four games into the season, then head coach Tony Hughes was relieved of his duties three games later. Interim head coach John Hendrick led the Tigers to a 2-1 record in their last three games. Hendrick is now the head coach and he is tasked with improving a Jackson State program that hasn’t been the same since Rick Comegy was fired after the 2013 season.
Offensively the Tigers have struggled in the past few years including last season where they ranked 115th nationally. Tigers brought in some key talent including Florida QB transfer Jalon Jones to improve those numbers. Jones will be a part of a four-way QB battle with Derrick Ponder, Jack Strouse, and another FBS transfer Matt Little who came in from Western Michigan. Both leading rushers from a season ago return and the Tigers added D.D Bowie from Ole Miss to the collection of weapons on the outside.
Defensively the Tigers were solid a season ago. The “Dark Side Defense” finished the season ranked 2nd in the SWAC in total defense and the leader of that unit, Keonte Hampton, returns for his sophomore season at linebacker. If the Jackson State offense can make modest improvements then the defense is good enough to keep then in every game in SWAC play.
Jackson State starts the season in Atlanta for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge against Bethune-Cookman who is expected to compete for the MEAC title. This game is a statement game for JSU and will tell us about both teams. After a visit Mobile, Al to play South Alabama the Tigers return to Memphis to play Tennessee State. JSU doesn’t start the meat of its schedule until October 5 th when the G-Men of Grambling pay them a visit.
JSU will host Alabama State the following week. The Tigers’ last three games could possibly define their season as Jackson State will play Alabama A&M, Southern, and Alcorn State consecutively.
Key Games: September 1 st vs Bethune-Cookman (2019 MEAC/SWAC Challenge), September 14th vs Tennessee State (Southern Heritage Classic), October 5th Grambling State, October 26th @ Prairie View, November 9 @ Alabama A&M, November 16th vs Southern, November 23 rd vs Alcorn State.