Hootie Who 2022

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Kennesaw State started playing football in 2015.

The Owls have had immediate success, making the playoffs four times. Head coach Brian Bohannon has been there from the beginning, going 63–18.

They played in the Big South Conference previously. They joined the ASUN Conference this season, formerly known as the Atlantic Sun.

Junior quarterback Xavier Shepherd is on the preseason Walter Payton Award watch list, which is for the best player in the nation in FCS. Shepherd is ASUN Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and ASUN Preseason All-Conference.

He played in seven games last season and passed for 640 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also rushed for 556 yards and 12 scores.

KSU had a very good 2021 season, going 11–2. One of those losses was to a Power 5 FBS school, Georgia Tech. They are trying to focus on having deep playoff runs at this point. The Owls advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs, losing 32-31 to #7 East Tennessee State.

They tried to address some concerns by adding talent in the offseason. They signed 25 players in the class of 2022 and 17 of them are from Georgia. Five of them are offensive linemen so they have added depth up front.

“Every year we are trying to get better, and I think that’s the case with this year’s class. It’s a great group and our staff did an awesome job,” Bohannon said. “When you are playing late in the year and you are balancing recruiting and the playoffs, it’s challenging, but we have gotten used to that around here, which is a good thing. It is a great group of young men that we have signed, and we are also going to add another good group in February. I am excited about what is going on with Kennesaw State football right now.”

KSU should be a well-rounded team with a strong defense, allowing 19.5 points per game last season. The Owls return eight of their 11 top tacklers, led by LB Evan Thompson, who broke the single-season school record with 118 total tackles.

In the FCS preseason Top 25 poll the Owls are ranked sixth.

The season starts Thursday September 1st at Samford. This will be a win.

Things get much harder the following week at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had an undefeated regular season last year and made the College Football Playoffs. They lost a lot of talent from that team but as an FBS team they have more talent and scholarship players. The Bearcats will win big.

After a bye week the home opener is against Wofford. KSU beat them 31-10 in 2021 and I expect a similar outcome in 2022.

The first conference game is October 1st at Jacksonville State. JSU is transitioning to move up to FBS so they do have more scholarship players. They are eligible to win the conference title but not eligible for the FCS playoffs. Kennesaw State beat the #17 Gamecocks 31-6 last season. I think it will be closer this season and Kennesaw gets the W.

The next two games are home conference games against North Alabama and Central Arkansas. Both should be wins but fairly close.

The next three games are non-conference against Tennessee Tech, Charleston Southern and UT Martin, all wins.

The season will end against ASUN opponents Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky. These are both games KSU will be favored in.

Best case scenario is going 10-1 in the regular season. I think they will need to win at least two playoff games to make this season successful.