Coach: Cory Smith, third season (4-19, 3-7 in Rocky River 2A)
2017 Record: 3-9, 2-3 in Rocky River
Returning Starters: Offense, 7; Defense, 8
The Yellow Jackets are heading in the right direction under Smith and should continue that trend this year. There’s a lot of talent back, and the Jackets will use their immense team speed to put points on the board. If they can develop depth up front, they should see a big increase in the win column.
Jai Rorie returns at quarterback after getting several snaps last season. Cannon Davis will get a shot to compete there as well.
Kendrick McLaurin ran for nearly 400 yards last year and will be the main ball carrier with Elijah Funderburk, Ahmad Stafford and Lamont Thomas figuring in.
Keeshawn Tyson was the team’s leading receiver last year and will be joined by speedy playmakers Jayden Avalos, Tyquan Rushing, Marion Holmes, Jontez Fant, Quayshawn Blakeney and Christian Ortega.
Jaqulin Burch, Romel Wright and JJ Williams will see time at tight end.
Harrison Hinson, Trent Griffin, Brian Smith, Jake Mullis and Luke Baker will man the offensive line.
Raul Giron, Jaquan Williams, Jamal Barnes and Thomas will start up front defensively.
Williams, the team’s leading tackler last season, will join Wright, Burch, Jacob Deason, Brent Springs and Sean Hunter in the rotation at linebacker, which is a big strength.
Funderburk, Stafford, Holmes and Rushing return to the defensive backfield, where McLauren and Avalos will also see time.
John Breeden will be in the mix for the kicking duties. Funderburk and Holmes are sure-handed return men.