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January 2020
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John Carroll Blue Streaks, definite threat to Mount Union, picked 2nd in 2019 OAC Football Polls

The John Carroll University Blue Streaks are predicted to finish second in the league standings. That’s according to both the coaches and the media present at the annual Ohio Athletic Conference Football Media Day Tuesday, August 6, in Canton, Ohio.

In the coaches poll, Mount Union received 81 votes including nine of ten first place votes. John Carroll was next in line with 71 votes and one first place tally.

The order was the same in the media poll, with Mount Union taking in 259 votes and 26 first place marks. John Carroll was second with 233 tallies and one first place vote.

“We are excited for this year,” said third year head coach Rick Finotti. “We are sad to see this super group of seniors leave. They left their mark on the program in so many ways, and now they pass the torch on to team 97″.

Finotti noted that this will be the smallest senior class in quite some time, but what they lack in numbers they make up for in immeasurable qualities.

Tyler FrederickChad StalnakerAriel Jimenez and Cal Reynolds really stepped up and made sure that we were doing what we needed to do this off season as a team. Not only holding people accountable but also looking to include everyone, whether it was workouts or eating dinner together or service opportunities. That’s the first step toward any good football season, building that chemistry.”

The Blue Streaks return four full-time starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that finished 9-2 a season ago.  While acknowledging the team will be younger than it was in 2018, there is reason for optimism in 2019.

“In the places we lost people, we had depth,” said Finotti. “It will now be a matter of who steps up and takes the places of some of those veterans who left us. We anticipate camp to be a very competitive situation in many areas of our football team, and that goes for the returning starters as well.”

On defense, two bonafide All-American candidates - Conner Bogard and Tyler Frederick – anchor the interior line.  Bogard was a first team All-OAC and first team All-North while Frederick was second team All-OAC in 2018.

Stalnaker anchors the linebacker corps along with Brian Robinson, while Jimenez, Tyshawn JonesNate Leopold and R.J. Rosario were all starters in the defensive backfield during the course of last season. Stalnaker and Jones would become all-conference performers.

Offensively, Michael Canganelli is the focal point as the Blue Streaks look to reload at quarterback, tight end and along the offensive line. Canganelli rushed for over 1,200 yards and amassed over 1,900 all-purpose yards in 2018 in earning all-league and all-region accolades.

No starters return in the receiver group, with Evan Nugent the top producer among the returning players.

All-OAC honorable mention performer Blake Herideen and Andrew Clemente are the full-time starters back in the trenches, with part-time starter Nathan Westrich returning as well.

The quarterback situation is such that only one player on the current roster has thrown a collegiate pass. Jake Floriea, the one who threw that pass (a 35-yard touchdown), appears to be the front runner for the starter’s job.

Finotti will have to find a kicker in camp, but his punter situation is stable with Andy Han back in the fold.

The Blue Streaks are gearing up for the opener against Wisconsin Stevens Point on September 7, but even before that, Finotti has a different focus.

“We are concerned first and foremost about ourselves,” said Finotti. “There is so much to do and so much to learn between now and that first game. We need to figure out who were are and what we are capable of before we worry about that first opponent. Camp is going to be tremendously important for us this year.”

2019 OAC Preseason Polls

Coaches (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Mount Union, 81 (9)
2. John Carroll, 71 (1)
3. Baldwin Wallace, 70
4. Ohio Northern, 52
5. Marietta, 47
6. Heidelberg, 43
7. Otterbein, 29
8. Muskingum, 27
9. Wilmington, 18
10. Capital, 12

Media (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Mount Union, 259 (26)
2. John Carroll, 233 (1)
3. Baldwin Wallace, 214
4 .Marietta, 184
5. Ohio Northern, 171
6. Heidelberg, 136
7. Muskingum, 89
8. Otterbein, 85
9. Capital, 74
10. Wilmington, 40