Middletown, NJ - Camp Compete in has come to an end for the Garden state Herd, & let me tell you something about this team; they are gonna turn some heads in 2024!
After watching every practice from the Herd this offseason, I am once again impressed with what this team is able to achieve with a group of men from all different backgrounds. The offense looks dynamic, defense looks to be in sync and some surprising rookies that look to be stepping up big time.
2021 Offensive player of the Year Joey Callelo has changed positions from receiver to his natural spot running back & so far it looks like the herd plans on using his a exactly that. Callelo looks good taking handoffs from 7 yards deep, seeing the cut back lanes and hitting them with conviction.
RB Corey Wallace missed a good portion of camp, so I didn't get to see much of him but coaching staff stated that they do plan to take a good look at Wallace and see where his skill set is best utilized in the multi faceted offense. Wallace and Callelo will be joined by Thomas Fabyan, Kayin Childress, Keshaun Glenn & Dion Jackson.
Does the name Willie Gross ring a bell to all you Shore Conference football followers? Gross was a standout at Neptune High School graduating class of 2019.
Gross ( @showtime.will )has looked outstanding in camp for the GSH showing pure hands and speed to get open all camp. Gross who looks to be playing mostly the "X" Receiver could be one of those rookies to have a huge year in coach Dabney's offense.
"This Kid can be dynamic for us, especially once he is fully back into the swing of things. I watched his film from Neptune and thought to my self, this is a kid we gotta have; if we can get him to replicate 1/3 of what he was at Neptune High School he will have a big year for us." Head Coach Wayne Dabney ( @coachwayne1212 ) said.
Defensively that defensive line got a huge upgrade this offseason! Adding 2 pass rush specialist in Obi Ogbonnaya (formerly of Central Penn Hitmen) and Frankie Simmons. These two guys should provide the Herd with the pass rush it's been missing the past 2 seasons.
Defensive tackle spot has a familiar but new face in Tyreek Small moving from the offensive tackle spot to The defensive side of the ball. In a short time Small has shown that he should have been on the front line a long time ago. Explosive and excellent hands being displayed, he is going to be great with the rotation of Keven Jean & Josue Collazo.
Speaking Of Small, his brother Ty'Jai Small will be moving back to defensive side of the ball at the Linebacker spot.
Ty'Jai played LB for the Herd year 1 before moving to the offensive side of the ball last year. We asked running backs coach Tysef Meacham what he felt about the move and responded, "Man listen, I love Ty'Jai and had plans to use him in different situations, but when we looked at his skills we determined that he is a guy that needs to be on the field making and impact on every down. It just being a rotational piece in a deep backfield."
Neal, Parrish & Juliano have been the glue of that secondary keeping everyone on their toes and holding every player accountable, them boys came into this year playing no games and has been strictly business from day 1.
But, I must admit the Haynes brothers have stolen the show in camp for the GSH! Javonte & Javonte Haynes (both formerly with the Central Penn Hitmen) have been making play after play after play all camp, I cannot wait to see them in the preseason against other teams, they will be a nightmare along with DiQuill Neal, Tyree Parrish & Nick Juliano in the secondary.
The Herd returns from break January 7th and I'm telling you now all eyes are going to continue to be on this program all offseason long, just the way they operate from coaching staff down to the players really reminds of a being back on a college campus.