Former Matador finds home at TSU

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 11, 2002

Sports Editor

Only Drew Amerson could wear the No. 1 for Troy State this season.

For two seasons, the first numeral on the Trojans’ roster was occupied by all-everything athlete Demontray Carter. Carter, who came to Troy following two seasons at Auburn, graduated last year following two outings as a Troy State running back, wide receiver and kick returner. The Pensacola, Fla., native accumulated 1,448 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago.

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No doubt, Amerson, a senior transfer from Cal-State Northridge, brings some impressive numbers to the field also. In three years as a Matador, Amerson caught 239 passes and compiled 2,958 yards receiving. He earned first-team All-America honors from the Associated Press, Sporting News and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette.

But can Amerson replace Carter?

Can anyone replace Carter?

Trojans’ offensive coordinator John Shannon said during the spring that Carter’s absence would be hard to overcome, as would that of four-year starting quarterback Brock Nutter.

"Last year coming out of the spring, we knew who would make plays for us," he said. "Coming into this season, it is a completely different story. We have returning depth on the offensive line, and we are better at wide receiver, but our biggest question is at quarterback. We need our players at that position to bring their best to the table each game."

Sophomore Hansell Bearden and JUCO transfer Matt Ray should see equal time under center this year. Along with Amerson, the Trojans return top wide out Heyward Skipper (60 catches, 995 yards, nine touchdowns) and part-time starters Jason Samples, Eric Felton and Chris Day. There’s more then a few talented freshmen waiting in the wings as well.

Amerson enters the year as a potential All-American candidate, but knows – with the talent the Trojans have returning – his touches may be limited this season.

"I just want to continue to do what I’ve been doing my entire career," he said. "I just want to step in and do what I can and help the team win."

Amerson showed some of what he could do last season at Memorial Stadium in front of a crowd of 16,000-plus. Cal-State Northridge eventually fell to TSU 44-31, but Amerson, his fellow wide outs, and quarterback Marcus Brady kept the Matadors in it. Brady threw for 350 yards and Amerson caught 11 balls for 115 yards. He also gained 42 yards on a running play.

With the coming demise of the Cal-State football program, Shannon knew several of the Matador players would be seeking future homes.

Amerson thought the same way.

"After playing the game, I talked to Coach Shannon about possibly playing here," said Amerson. "It was probably the first place I looked. I thought there was a good chance I’d probably end up back here so I looked at the schedule and met some of the players on the team."

One of the selling points for Amerson was that the Trojans run an offense very similar to the one Cal-State had fielded.

"I knew they’d have some guys coming back, some great athletes, and I knew I had a chance to step in and play on a good team that had a chance to compete every game. Instead of losing every game like we (C-SN) had," said Amerson.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Amerson hails from San Diego, Ca., and admits that adjusting to life in Alabama is still something he’s getting used to.

"It’s just so much slower," he adds. "There’s really nothing to do except concentrate on studying and football. Which was probably what I needed to do anyway. It may be a blessing in a disguise."

Another blessing? Plying his trade against the top teams in college football.

At Cal-State, Amerson said he played Kansas, Air Force and Southern Methodist, but the Trojans’ schedule is like finding a room full of presents on Christmas morning.

"I get to play with the best college teams in the world, showcase my talents, and have a chance to win every game" he said. "I’m real excited."