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A team-by-team breakdown of the AAC – Boston Herald


Last year’s record: 13-1, 8-0 AAC

  • With QB Desmond Ridder off to the NFL, sophomore Evan Prater will compete for the starting job. Ohio’s “Mr. Football” in 2019, Prater will battle transfer Ben Bryant, who’s back after a season at Eastern Michigan.
  • Notable departures also include AAC DPOY CB Ahmad Gardner and RB Jerome Ford, DL Curtis Brooks, DE Myjai Sanders, LB Darrian Beavers, LB Joel Dublanko, CB Coby Bryant and S Bryan Cook.
  • New offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli replaces Mike Denbrock, who left for LSU.

East Carolina

Last year’s record: 7-5, 5-3 AAC

  • Key departures on offense include two of the team’s top WRs in Tyler Snead and Audie Omotosho, both of whom turned pro.
  • To replace Snead and Omotosho, the Pirates added Toledo grad transfer Isaiah Winstead and Georgia transfer Jaylen Johnson.
  • A loss on defense is CB Ja’Quan McMillian, who started 29 of 33 games played in three years. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive back.


Last year’s record: 12-2, 8-0 AAC

  • ProFootballNetwork ranked all 131 FBS starting QBs and put Clayton Tune third overall. After throwing for 3,546 yards and 30 touchdowns last year, the senior is back for more.
  • Tune’s top target from a year ago, WR Nathaniel Dell of Daytona Beach, is back after leading the AAC in receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions.
  • A notable departure includes Marcus Jones, who won the 2021 Paul Hornung Award given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.


Last year’s record: 6-6, 3-5 AAC

  • OC Kevin Johns left for the same position at Duke. He’s replaced by Tim Cramsey from Marshall.
  • DC Mike MacIntyre was named head coach at FIU. His spot is filled by Ohio State secondary coach Matt Barnes, who took over defensive play-calling duties from Kerry Coombs after three games last season.
  • A key addition on offense is Northern Illinois RB Jevyon Ducker, the 2021 MAC Freshman of the Year.


Last year’s record: 4-8, 3-5 AAC

  • The biggest departure on defense is first-team all-conference linebacker Diego Fagot, who had 94 tackles last season. He received clearance from the Department of Defense to pursue the NFL.
  • QB Tai Lavatai returns after making 10 starts last season as a sophomore. He threw for 449 yards and picked up another 371 on the ground.
  • The Midshipmen have only won 7 games combined in the last two seasons after finishing 11-2 in 2019.


Last year’s record: 8-4, 4-4 AAC

  • SMU coach Sonny Dykes replaced longtime TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who stepped down last season.
  • Rhett Lashlee left the Miami Hurricanes as OC and is back at SMU as the new head coach. He served as OC here when the Mustangs averaged almost 500 yards in 2019.
  • A key departure is starting RB Ulysses Bentley IV, who transferred to Ole Miss. SMU reloaded at RB with Alabama’s Camar Wheaton, who was a 5-star prospect in the 2021 recruiting class.


Last year’s record: 3-9, 1-7 AAC

  • The Owls fired head coach Rod Carey and hired Stan Drayton, who spent the last five years at Texas as associate head coach and running backs coach.
  • Former Georgia QB D’Wan Mathis, who threw for more than 1,200 yards for Temple last season, will battle North Dakota State transfer and dual-threat QB Quincy Patterson for the starting job.
  • WR Randle Jones is a key departure on offense after leading the team in receiving yards, touchdown catches and receptions.


Last year’s record: 2-10, 1-7 AAC

  • OC Chip Long left for the same job at Georgia Tech after just one season in New Orleans. He’s replaced by Jim Svoboda, who resigned as Central Missouri head coach.
  • The Green Wave lost multiyear starter DL Jeffery Johnson, who transferred to Oklahoma, but added DL Patrick Jenkins from TCU where he played in all 12 games a year ago.
  • Tulane also will miss punter Ryan Wright, who earned first-team all-conference honors last season.


Last year’s record: 7-6, 5-3 AAC

  • Tulsa defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie left for TCU. Luke Olson, who worked closely with Gillespie, was promoted from nickel safeties coach.
  • DT Jaxon Player, who led Tulsa with 15 TFLs, transferred to Baylor. Other key losses along the DL include multiyear starters Tyarise Stevenson and Cullen Wick.
  • K Zack Long led the country in field goal percentage (95.7%) by making 22 of 23, including a 50-yarder. He’s only missed two extra points in his college career.


Last year’s record: 9-4, 5-3 AAC


Last year’s record: 2-10, 1-7 AAC

  • South Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. departed for Ole Miss. He’s replaced by Travis Trickett, who most recently served as the inside receivers/tight ends coach at West Virginia.
  • The Bulls fired defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, after they allowed 501 yards to a one-win Tulane in an embarrassing 45-14 defeat late last season, and hired veteran coach Bob Shoop to fill the role.
  • A notable addition on offense is Baylor transfer QB Gerry Bohanon. He started 12 of 14 games and totaled 2,523 yards of offense with 27 touchdowns last year for the Bears.

Email Jason Beede at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.


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