A quick overview of the Top 7 players that we believe will have the most impact on the 2016 Ball State football season. These guys might not be the most talented players on the squad, but will be needed to step up for the Cardinals to have a great season.
7. Andrew Poenitsch, 6-3 270 R-Fr., OC – Center is one of those often overlooked positions on a field, but as the leader of the offensive line it is the most physically and mentally taxing position in the group. Poenitsch is just a redshirt freshman, so he is starting fresh with no prior experience, add to that, the fact that he is replacing a 5th senior who started a bevy of games and there will be a lot of weight on the young man’s shoulders.
6. Darian Green, 5-8 176, Jr., RB – Green is kind of the do-everything guy for the Cardinals. He runs the ball, catches the ball, even returns kicks, but he is also not the biggest guy, so limiting Green’s touches is imperative to keeping him 100% effective. Green’s ability in space will be a huge key in the new Cardinal offense. Look for Green to get more opportunities in the passing game and share more of the workload on the ground with fellow RB James Gilbert.
5. Martez Hester, 6-3 207, 5th, S – Hester is the Cardinals biggest and rangiest athlete in the secondary. He has long been a mainstay in the Ball State defensive backfield and despite putting up solid numbers as a tackler, he has not gotten his hands on the ball often. Look for Hester to lead a resurgent defense and have his most productive season of his career.
4. Josh Posley, 6-1 252, 5th, DE – Posley is maybe the most important player on the defense. As the leader of the defensive line, Posley’s #1 goal is to pressure the QB and do it frequently. How he performs will go a long way on how the entire Cardinals’ passing defense will go. Posely put up nice numbers last year, but look for increased productivity in a new scheme that puts more emphasis on pressure.
3. Sean Wiggins, 6-3 233, Sr., LB – While Posley is the most important defender, Wiggins is the best. The All-MAC caliber LB has had a productive career both as a 4th LB/backup in his early years and now into his tenure as a starter. Wiggins had an outstanding season for a below average defense a season ago, look for an even larger role in the new scheme DC Tim Daoust brings.
2. Kevonn Mabon, 6-2 219, 5th, WR – Mabon has been a rock solid performer for all 4 of his healthy seasons as a Cardinal. Mabon will now take the reigns as the number 1 target for Riley Neal and the Cardinals passing attack after sharing duties with Jordan Williams last season. Mabon is big, physical and athletic and has a chance to put his name in as the #1 pass receiver in Ball State history.
1. Riley Neal, 6-6 217, So., QB – There is no doubt that the fate of the Ball State offense will rest squarely on the capable shoulders of Neal. After a solid, but up and down freshman campaign, Neal will be looked upon to lead the Mike Neu offense and possibly post some huge numbers. Neu has promised a high paced, action packed offense and Neal has all the tools to make it happen.