Coach: Johnny Sowell, 13th season (120-56)
2017 Record: 5-7, 2-5 in Southern Carolina Conference
Returning Starters: Offense 5; Defense 4
The move from Class 2A to Class 3A and playing in the competitive Southern Carolina Conference was a big one for Monroe. The Redhawks suffered their first losing season in over a decade, and it came just two years removed from a state championship. Injuries hit the team hard a year ago and staying healthy will be key. Monroe also took a hit when wide receiver Traevon Kenion transferred to two-time defending 4AA state champion Wake Forest. Kenion has committed to South Carolina.
Quarterback Trey Shepherd enters his third year as the starting quarterback. The senior was 124-of-210 passing for 1,655 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 239 yards a year ago.
JahTwan Stafford is expected to shoulder most of the load at running back.
Javon Robinson, Elijah Bost and Amir Joseph are expected to anchor the offensive line.
The Redhawks will look to guys like Omar Webb and Jahtwan Stafford to lead their receiving core, which should be a strength in coach Johnny Sowell’s offense.
Linebacker is a strength as Bost and Chris Colon (return. Colon had 81 tackles last season while Bost registered 82 stops. Devin Covington had three sacks a year ago. Ahmad Sanders will also see time at linebacker.
Robinson will double up on the defensive line teaming with guys like sophomores Je’marion Rushing and Omarion Rushing in the trenches. Freshman Issac Thomas has also shown promise on the defensive line.
Salen Streater and Kaliq Sturdivant will be key in the defensive backfield.
Junior Chris Andon returns at kicker. Andon was 26-of-33 on PAT kicks last season. He also averaged 38.5 yards on kickoffs. Stafford will be a return specialist for the Redhawks.