Nevada Football: The Ten Key Players For The 2020 Season
Here are the ten key player for the Nevada Wolf Pack for the 2020 season.
Nevada Football: The Ten Key Players For The 2020 Season
The Nevada Wolf Pack are scheduled to start the 2020 season in less than a month when they take on UC Davis. But due America being in the midst of a pandemic and Power 5 conferences dropping non-conference games because of the pandemic, who knows if the season starts on time for Nevada or any college football program.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to at least push the start of the season back, I will be continuing my look into the 2020 edition of the Nevada Wolf Pack. This article will look at the top ten players to watch for in the upcoming season. These players will play a factor in whether the Wolf Pack have another successful season in 2020.
Here are my ten Nevada Wolf Pack players to watch out for in 2020.
10. Nathan Edwards- Center
The Nevada Wolf Pack offensive line was at best an inconsistent unit in 2019. The Wolf Pack offensive line gave up 33 sacks last season which was most in the Mountain West. This year, the Wolf Pack does return several offensive line players who had multiple starts in 2019 and one of them is center Nathan Edwards.
Edwards, who is from Reno, Nevada, played primarily at the center position last season as he played in all 13 games and started in nine games for Nevada. For his career, Edwards has played in 26 games for the Wolf Pack.
Edwards is in a competition for the starting center job with fellow senior Tyler Orsini heading into the 2020 season. With the Wolf Pack’s struggles on the offensive line last season, the team could look to Edwards and his experience to bolster the Wolf Pack’s offensive line that is known as “The Union” in 2020.
9. Austin Arnold-Safety
Austin Arnold had a career year at safety for the Nevada Wolf Pack in 2019. Arnold, who played in 12 games for Nevada last year, recorded 51 tackles (39 solo tackles) with five pass break ups and an interception.
Arnold, a senior from Las Vegas, Nevada,is one of the many returning starters from a Wolf Pack secondary that struggled early last season but played well down the stretch. Arnold will be one of the key contributors in the Wolf Pack secondary as they look to continue to improve in the 2020 season.
8. Sam Hammond- Defensive End
In 2019,Sam Hammond had his best season with the Nevada Wolf Pack. Hammond recorded 35 tackles (18 solo) and 1.5 sacks for a Nevada defensive line that really shined late last season. Hammond turned in an very good performance against #24 San Diego State last November where he recorded nine tackles and a sack in the Wolf Pack’s upset victory over the Aztecs in San Diego. Hammond’s performance in the upset over San Diego State won him Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Hammond is back along with Chris Green, Kameron Toomer and Tristan Nicholas as these players look to bolster a defensive line that could be one of the best in the Mountain West in 2020.
7. Lawson Hall-Linebacker.
Heading into the 2020 season the Wolf Pack will be without four of their top six linebackers from the previous season. Some notable linebackers from last season that have moved on are Gabe Sewell and Malik Broady.
One of the few returning linebackers with significant playing time is Lawson Hall. Hall, a senior from Harbor City, California, recorded 56 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Wolf Pack in 2019. Hall is the clear cut lead linebacker for Nevada heading into this 2020 season. Hall is there to go alongside Lamin Touray, Gio Miranda and James Fotofili who is cleared to play after he had surgery to reduce brain swelling following a hit-and-run accident.
Hall is one of the key players on the Nevada defense that looks to continue to improve on their stellar play from late last season into 2020.
6. Romeo Doubs-Wide Receiver
Doubs showed improvement from his freshman season to his sophomore seasons in Reno. In 2019, Doubs caught 44 passes for 649 yards and scored four touchdowns. His best game in 2019 was when he caught 11 passes for 167 yards and scored a touchdown in the win over New Mexico.
With opposing defensive backs focusing on Elijah Cooks, it is up to Doubs to make opposing defensive backs pay for that by turning in another good season for the Nevada Wolf Pack.
5. Toa Taua-Running Back
Toa Taua had a breakout freshman season for the Wolf Pack in 2018 as he ran for 872 yards and six touchdowns. Taua’s great rookie season won him the Mountain West Freshman of the Year award for 2018.
But his sophomore season was a disappointment as his yards per attempt dropped due to the struggling and inconsistent offensive Wolf Pack offensive line.
The offensive line looks to be a year older and better and if that is the case, Taua should be able to return to his fantastic freshman season in 2020.
4. Tyson Williams-Defensive Back
Williams had a breakout season in 2019 as he led the team in tackles with 85 recorded tackles. The Wolf Pack secondary struggled during the season but Williams was one of the few bright spots in that position group.
Williams is back for Nevada and is projected to be one of the leaders in a secondary that is looking to improve and elevate the Wolf Pack secondary to better play in 2020.
3. Dom Peterson-Defensive End
Peterson’s 2019 season was fantastic as he broke out as one of the best defensive line players in the Mountain West conference. Peterson finished second in the Mountain West in tackles for loss (15) and sacks with nine for the year. Peterson was the main reason why the Wolf Pack defense improved late last season.
Peterson, who was named to the preseason All-Mountain West team last Wednesday, should be the driving force along with fellow defensive linemen Sam Hammond in making the Nevada Wolf Pack one of the best defensive units in the Mountain West in 2020.
2. Elijah Cooks-Wide Receiver
Elijah Cooks had a terrific 2019 season for Nevada as he caught 76 passes for 926 yards and scored eight touchdowns last season His eight touchdown catches placed him tied for fourth in the Mountain West last season.
Cooks is primed to be one of the best wide receivers in the Mountain West in 2020 as he along with wide receivers Romeo Doubs,Melquan Stovall and Cole Turner along with true freshmen receivers Jamaal Ball and Issac Jernigan look to be one of the best if not the best wide receiver units in the Mountain West this season.
The key player for Nevada to watch for in the 2020 season is sophomore quarterback Carson Strong.
Strong started ten games last season and as most freshman due, struggled early on in the season. But Strong played well to end the season as he threw eight touchdowns and only one interception. For the season, Strong completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,335 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As we get ready to possibly start the 2020 season, Carson Strong, who was named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list, is the projected starter at quarterback. And given that Nevada lacks depth at the quarterback position, Strong will need to stay healthy and continue his stellar play from last season in order for Nevada to possibly play for a Mountain West title in 2020.