In the early season the Rebels may experience some growing pains especially early on defense. Of the nine returning starters only two were on the defensive side of the football. Jamaul Starnes (6-3, 170 pounds) safety will help lead a very young and inexperienced secondary in 2008. The other Rebel defender retained from 2007 will be John Dylan Davis (5-10, 225 pounds) at the defensive tackle position.
Early in the season Franklin will look from a stable of firepower from the offensive skill positions. At the quarterback position, senior quarterback Graham Nichols (6-2, 185 pounds) will return to lead the offense. He will be expecting help from junior tailback Keylo Lee (5-11, 185 pounds), senior slot Ramsey Sellers (6-2, 190 pounds), and junior tailback Alex Ford (5-10, 175 pounds). Another prospect expected to produce this year from the receiver position will be senior Jariel Eaton (6-1, 180 pounds).
Leading the way up front in 2008 will be the three returning starters, senior offensive tackle Andrew Combos (6-1, 235 pounds), senior offensive tackle Connor Walkup (6-2, 280 pounds), and senior offensive guard Alex Endrenkin (6-0, 220 pounds).
Coach Craig Clayton has identified the areas that need the most improvement as, "lack of experience on defense and in the offensive line." He listed the team's strengths as, "returning skill positions on offense."
The Rebels kick off the season with a tough first game against Chattanooga – McCallie and then go down a tough stretch of region games including rivals Brentwood and Ravenwood. The key to a playoff run will be based upon the defense and their growth over the season.
Players to Watch in 2008
Graham Nichols - Quarterback
Ramsey Sellers - Slot
Jamaul Starnes - Safety
Keylo Lee - Tailback
Players Who Will Need to Step Up in 2008
John Jervis - Defensive Tackle
Nick Gordon - Defensive End
Andrew Combos - Offensive Tackle
Alex Endrenkin - Offensive Guard