Elon Looks To Continue Upward Trajectory On Strength Of Playmaking Defense


A year ago, Elon was among the few programs around college football nearing the end of its spring practice season. The Phoenix were coming off a strong finish to their first season under head coach Tony Trisciani, which concluded with an impressive win over nationally ranked Towson. 

Then, the pandemic hit. 

Elon will look to reestablish momentum after a yearlong layoff, welcoming back a veteran roster with playmakers on both sides of the ball. The Phoenix are built to emerge as the surprise of the Colonial Athletic Association in 2021, no matter if that’s in the spring or fall. 

Head Coach: Tony Trisciani (Second year at Elon, 5-6; second season overall) 

Offensive Coordinator: Drew Folmar  

Defensive Coordinator: Billy Crocker  

2019 Record: 5-6, 4-4 CAA 


Elon replaces some of the top defensive talents from the 2019 CAA, with interception machine Greg Liggs Jr. and aggressive pass-rushing presence Marcus Willoughby gone.  The Phoenix are not without established defenders, however. 

Linebackers Devonte Chandler and Jamir Malone both have a knack for getting into the backfield and Tre’Von Jones is more than capable of adding some new shots to the Get The Ball Wall

With the unusual circumstances precipitating this season, young members of the Phoenix roster should also see opportunities. Three-star 2020 signee Jaidyn Denis is a freshman to watch, while first-year contributors in the 2019 season like defensive end Marvin Pearson could build on a promising debut. 


In wins during the 2019 campaign, Elon averaged 36.4 points per game compared to 15.7 in losses. Finding consistency on that side of the ball from week-to-week is imperative for the Phoenix — and the good news is that a veteran corps makes up the first string in 2021. 

Quarterback Davis Cheek was lost for the remainder of the spring to a foot injury just days before Elon’s opener. He will again be replaced by redshirt sophomore Joey Baughman, who appeared in nine of Elon’s 11 games last season.

Baughman, who has primarily been used as a runner by Folmar and Trisciani, will now be expected to effectively balance the passing distribution, with six different targets leading in receiving yards over the course of last season. Explosive Kortez Weeks and reliable possession receiver Avery Jones both return, as well as multi-dimensional running back Jaylan Thomas. Elon also welcomes in a pair of receivers with Power Five experience, Corey Bell Jr. (North Carolina) and Jordan Bonner. 

At the end of last spring’s practice season, Trisciani had high praise for the progress of the offensive line. 

Special Teams

Skyler Davis provided the final, lasting image of the 2019 season... 

...and one of the best viral moments of the offseason. 

Davis went 10-of-15 in 2019 and connected on a 50-yarder. Punter Hunter Stephenson, meanwhile, booted 16 punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged almost 42 yards per attempt. 

The Schedule

Feb. 20 vs. Davidson | WATCH LIVE

Feb. 27 at Gardner-Webb 

March 6 vs. James Madison | WATCH LIVE

March 13 vs. Richmond | WATCH LIVE

March 20 at William & Mary | WATCH LIVE

March 27 at Richmond  | WATCH LIVE

April 3 vs. William & Mary | WATCH LIVE

April 10 at James Madison | WATCH LIVE

Delaware Set To Host Maine In CAA Opener


Although Maine’s Nick Charlton and Delaware’s Danny Rocco will be operating on different sidelines when their teams meet in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for each team Saturday, each head coach had the same philosophy with regard to preparation for Saturday’s contest.

Underdogs No More: UAlbany Enters 2021 With Its Fair Share Of Hype


Picked to finish in the cellar of the Colonial Athletic Association in 2019, UAlbany emerged as arguably the greatest surprise of the last FCS season. The Great Danes not only reached the Playoffs, but scored their first-ever Div. I postseason win. 

CAA Rewind: Big Second Half Sends JMU Into League Play Riding High

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Contrasts in the importance of finishing stronger than a team starts shaped the final weekend before Colonial Athletic Association competition kicks off in the 2021 spring season.  

Led By A Disruptive Defense, Dukes Set To Host Robert Morris

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Rarely does a defensive performance get overshadowed when it produces a shutout, but that seemed to be the case with the James Madison defense following Saturday’s 52-0 triumph over Morehead State.

Stony Brook's Sam Kamara Is Back & He's Ready To Wreak Havoc


Sam Kamara plays with a rarely matched ferocity on every snap, in total control of his place in the trenches. But the Stony Brook defensive lineman spent a portion of the past year in a situation beyond his control. 

JMU Running Game Flashes Depth & Dominance In Opener

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Numerous Colonial Athletic Association teams have featured multi-pronged rushing attacks through the years, but perhaps no CAA program has enjoyed the depth at running back that James Madison has this season.

CAA Rewind: Dukes Roll, Baughman Steps Up For Elon

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More than 13 months passed between the end of James Madison’s last season and kickoff of the current, but the Dukes look like they missed no time at all. 

How To Watch James Madison, Elon Open CAA Spring Regular Season

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Elon and James Madison will kick off the unique spring 2021 season with a pair of non-conference games on Saturday. 

Despite Oddity Of Spring, JMU's Title Aspirations Remain Unchanged

Inside The Rise Of Curt Cignetti

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James Madison’s first season under coach Curt Cignetti came just a few yards shy of the pinnacle. The Dukes’ 2019 campaign ended at the goal line with a chance to force overtime against North Dakota State in the FCS Championship Game.