With the loss of several impact players following the 2015 campaign, first-year head coach Jason Candle and the Toledo Rockets will be leaning on a few guys who are a bit unheard of. These aren't your Kareem Hunt's, Cody Thompson's and DeJuan Rogers' of the team because every Rocket fan knows what to expect from those three. Instead, these are three players who will be a bit newer to the expectation of production and leadership, but are definitely up to the challenge:
Diontae Johnson, Sophomore, Wide Receiver
As Diontae Johnson prepares for his sophomore campaign, nearly everyone around the Rocket program is expecting major production out of him. With the loss of Alonzo Russell to the NFL, Johnson is seen as the guy that could potentially, though difficult, fill those shoes. Johnson had a quieter freshman campaign in 2015, especially to those fans who maybe weren't at most games as he caught 14 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns. However, for those with season tickets and those in constant attendance at the Glass Bowl, they saw an electrifying athlete with explosive speed. Despite having a few crucial drops as a freshman, Johnson was given continuous reps all over the field - on both the outside and in the slot.
Former offensive coordinator and first-year head coach, Jason Candle is big on Johnson's talents and speed. The Florida native also returned kicks for the Rockets last season and has the entire Mid-American Conference watching for a breakout performance, both on the offensive side and on special teams. Watch out for No. 19 this fall in Toledo.
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, RS-Sophomore, Def. End
Although not known to a lot of fans around Northwest Ohio, 'Ola' Adeniyi is a name to watch for this fall. Adeniyi has explosive pass rushing ability with great agility combined with strength to get to the quarterback. The Sugar Land, Texas native was hardly recruited out of high school and signed with Toledo. Now, Adeniyi comes into 2016 with a chip on his shoulder at defensive end after sitting out 2014 due to redshirt and seeing game action in seven games a season ago. Several players and coaches around the program are expecting big things from 'Ola', who while young, should be ready to produce at defensive end this fall. Adeniyi will most likely split reps with John Stepec as both attempt to step in and fill the void left by Allen Covington and Trent Voss with their departures to the NFL.
One thing is for certain, Adeniyi will get opportunities this fall. If you don't know the name, you likely will before the 2016 campaign comes to a close. The under-recruited Texas native has something to prove this fall in the Midnight Blue & Gold.
Josh Teachey, Sophomore, Def. Back
Maryland-native Josh Teachey was someone who burst onto the season as a true-freshman in 2015. Despite only being recruited by a few FCS schools and Toledo, Teachey found a home in the Glass City. Teachey went from one of the lesser-known names of the 2015 signing class to an instant starter in a lot of nickel and dime packages on the defensive side of the ball. Now, entering his sophomore season, Teachey is looking to make an even bigger impact after playing in all twelve games last season, recording fourteen tackles and seven pass breakups.
With the loss of Chaz Whittaker to graduation, Teachey has a real chance to start again this fall at safety or as a nickel which will remain to be seen as fall camp begins in just a few days. First-year defensive coordinator, Brian George will likely use Teachey quite frequently due to his incredible ball skills and ability to break on routes. Be sure to watch out for Teachey this fall.
Aaron Covington, RS-Freshman, Def. Back
Aaron, the brother of former Toledo defensive end, Allen Covington comes from a football family and the Florida-native is ready to breakout this fall at Toledo. Despite redshirting during his true-freshman campaign in 2015, Covington is listed as the co-number one cornerback on the depth chart, although fall camp has not yet begun. Covington, who has extreme speed and burst in the secondary, could be a name to watch out for this season. Covington will be hungry after a redshirt season of getting faster, stronger, and better overall. The Armwood High School (Fla.) native chose Toledo over offers from Baylor, Cincinnati, Maryland and others. Now, it's time to show why he was listed as the 43rd-best South cornerback coming out of high school by us here at Scout. Covington is ready.
Ju'Wuan Woodley, Junior, Linebacker
Some could argue that Jawaun Woodley has already 'broken out' in a Toledo uniform but after filling the big shoes of Jaylen Coleman after he went down with injury in 2015, Woodley is ready to really take a leadership role as a junior this fall. Woodley, of Columbus, Ohio was originally recruited as a runningback but has fit in nicely at linebacker and will likely see constant reps this fall after starting most games towards the back end of the season in 2015. Watch out for Woodley this fall.
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