Football edition — Salisbury team info

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Coach: Brian Hinson (2nd year)

2017: 7-4 overall, 6-2 in the CCC (3rd place). Lost 19-7 to Red Springs in first round of 2A state playoffs.

Returning starters: 5 offense, 3 defense

Key players

Offense (spread option)

Mike McLean, sophomore QB (5-9, 165) — Converted middle school quarterback was a workhorse running back in 2017. Rushed for 436 yards and scored eight TDs as team averaged 147 yards per game on the ground. Water-bug mobility makes him susceptible to bumps and bruises, but tough enough to withstand punishment.

Jaden Hiligh, junior TE (5-10, 220) — Physical and strong, but not a deep threat. Will use doorway-sized shoulders to throw blocks and clear paths. Unsung hero, good for small but necessary accomplishments.

Raheim Walker, senior RB (5-10, 165) — Cerebral runner lacks breakaway speed, but sees the field and gets there. Team’s most prolific rusher a year ago with 454 yards (6.6 per carry) and five TDs, including two in a Week 2 rout of Carson. An emerging team leader who has bought in.

Patrick Taylor, junior WR (5-9, 170) — Junior varsity QB by default in ’17, but a better fit here. Great hands and fast, he gained nearly 15 pounds in off-season. Hinson’s summer surprise.

Defense (3-4)

Blaine Shellhorn, junior LB (6-1, 200) — Returning starter will bookend with do-it-all Jabril Norman. Physical, hard-nosed kid who plays with high level of intensity. A bedrock on the perimeter and an explosive, read-and-react defender.

Jadarius Wood, junior LB/S (5-8, 165) — Eight-quarter call-up last year, had one INT and a fumble recovery in limited action. A bit undersized, but rugged and strong with a nose for the ball.

Luwon Blackwell, junior S (6-1, 175) — Another eight-quarter player and a staff favorite. Huge wingspan in secondary prompts what’s-not-to-like queries. Plays hash-to-hash and disrupts with vigor. Big upside that will soon draw interest from college recruiters.

Cameron Gill, senior DB/CB (5-10, 160) — Best known as basketball ballhawk, it’s his competitive spirit and velvet hands that make him stand out. Provides much-needed senior leadership for a young, re-tooling defense. Had a 69-yard touchdown reception against West Davidson and will likely double as a situational wide receiver.