A VERY early look at Trojan football 2012 – Offense

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, December 15, 2011

I’ve been trying to knock this out for a week now after seeing I was already behind on making 2012 forecasts. Finally finished it up. Here is a look at what Troy has coming back and what to look for in 2012 offensively.


Corey Robinson returns for his junior season. Robinson had a down year statistically in 2011 (62.2% comp., 3,411 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs) that compared to his freshman season (63.6% comp., 3,726 yards, 28 TDs, 15 INTs) but I wouldn’t call it a sophomore slump. With the lack of explosive talent at the wide receiver position and an injury prone offensive line, Robinson struggled as coaches felt he was putting pressure on himself to do too much during games. The thing that stands out to me is that he threw for 315 fewer yards, seven fewer TDs and had the same INT total on basically the same number of pass attempts from the previous season. One thing Robinson will nee to do is learn to become a true leader. 3-9 isn’t fun for anyone but at times Corey’s vibe was just down right depressing. Rain or shine this team needs a vocal leader as well as one on the field and what better position than at quarterback. Robinson is on pace to shatter all kinds of Troy passing records next season.

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Backing up Robinson will be redshirt freshmen Luke Barnes and Dallas Tidwell. K.D. Edenfield is also in the mix. Edenfield is a smaller, quicker signal caller than Robinson, Barnes and Tidwell.

Projected Starter: Corey Robinson


Troy will return all running back from 2011. Shawn Southward, Chris Anderson, D.J. Taylor, and T.J. Mitchell will all be seniors. Southward saw the majority of the action and was the team’s leading rusher 556 yards on 123 attempts and four TDs. The bruising Taylor finished second on the team with 367 yards and six scores (three of those came against UAB). Taylor, at 6-foot, 229 pounds, was Troy’s short yardage guy in 2011. Brian Exley (5-11, 220), a redshirt sophomore, didn’t play much last season but will be another option when Troy need to pound out a few yards. Troy finished 117th in the nation in rushing offense and last in the Sun Belt. A more balanced attack will be needed to be successful in 2012. Daleville commit Brandon Burks (5-8, 183) will likely redshirt but with the same build will be a Shawn Southward protege.

Projected Starter: Shawn Southward, D.J. Taylor


Eric Thomas emerged as Troy’s go-to guy in 2011 as a sophomore hauling in 67 passes for 875 yards and nine touchdowns. Troy will need Thomas to produce again  in 2012 as the Trojans continue to nurture their young core of receivers. Jamel Johnson and Chip Reeves could return from academic ineligibility and could be significant contributors right off the bat. Chandler Worthy proved he could stretch the field. As a freshman, Worthy caught 22 passes for 392 and four scores including a 75-yard touchdown reception against Middle Tennessee State. Jaquon Robinson and Corey Johnson return for their senior campaigns. B.J. Chitty, Felton Payton and Justin Albert will also be in the mix. After converting from running back, Albert was the fourth leading receiver with 338 yards. Johnson was second with 440. Troy has picked up several commitments at the position that will battle for playing time. Brandon Brooks (First Coast HS), Bobby Walker (Bartram Trail HS) and Andre Allen (Arnold HS) are all 3-star recruits. Cody Core (Auburn HS) at 6-3, 175 could be a bit of a sleeper for the Trojans if he doesn’t retract on his commitment to accept Kentucky’s offer.

Projected Starters: Corey Johnson, Jaquon Robinson, Eric Thomas, B.J. Chitty


Jim Teknipp (6-5, 244) and Gavin Ellis (6-6, 265) will both return. Neither contributed much in the passing game in 2011. While each caught three passes, Teknipp recorded the most yardage (51) thanks to a 21 yard grab against UAB. Ellis is a big target but looked a little timid when thrown to.

Projected Starter: Jim Teknipp


Troy will look to replace a couple of key names. Left tackle James Brown and center Zach Swindall will both graduate. The good news is that overall this unit is in good shape. Several young players have game experience including guard  Zach Johnson (So.) and tackle Terrence Jones (r-So.) both are on the right side and should be familiar with one another. Andrew Phillips (Sr.) was Swindall’s backup in 2011 but left guard Kyle Wilborn (Sr.) expressed his willingness to move there if needed. Jimmie Arnold saw action this season at guard and Jerred Fleming started two games last season. The Trojans do have a solid junior college commitment in Chris Hawkins (6-3, 295) that could get slide into a starting role.

Projected Starters: Kyle Wilborn, Jimmie Arnold, Zach Johnson, Terrence Jones, Andrew Phillips