Dean College Hopes for Healthy '02

Dean College (Mass.) head coach, Jack Charney, put a solid defense on the field last year -- but his offense featured nine newcomers. Then a rash of season-ending injuries hurt their chances of finding any kind of rhythm. The Bulldogs finished 2-6 with season ending wins over an impressive Erie team and Alfred State. Do they have the guns to continue the winning momentum into 2002?

Dean's most significant losses are on the defensive side of the ball. Charney has several key players returning from injuries, however, that could plug holes left by graduations.

Linebacker Ben Ciaramello (6-0, 200) redshirted last year after suffering an injury. He now returns to action and figures to be an impact player. "Ciarmello has great intensity and aggressiveness. He'll be a major factor," said Charney. In addition to his football smarts, he also has classroom smarts as evidenced by his 3.4 GPA. Ciaramello, who is a native of Redding, Pennsylvania, will graduate in December with three years to play two.

The Bulldogs will look for OLB Brandon Gulley (6-3, 240) to further shore up the defense. A highly touted athlete coming out of high school in Annapolis, Maryland, Gulley has all the tools to be a D1 player. If not for a broken ankle after the second game last season, he might have hit the radar screen already. Although still unproven at the JC level and in the process of learning a new position, Charney thinks Gulley could live up to early expectations.

Other defensive players to watch, include:

DE Michael Perdoni (6-3, 215; Wellesley, MA)
Returning Starter

FS Jeff Hicks (6-0, 175; Massachusetts)
Lost last season to injury. Redshirt in 2001.

ILB Mikael Oliver (6-0, 235; S. Orange, NJ)
Off-and-on starter in 2001.

The Bulldogs' multiple Wing-T offense will feature a good number of weapons, including one of the biggest JC offensive linemen in the nation.

Anchoring the offensive line will be offensive tackle Harlan Houghton, who goes 6-7, 320 pounds. Houghton is a returning starter with the physical tools and experience to open holes up front.

He played at a small catholic high school in Massachusetts, where he wasn't challenged like he is today playing in the Northeast Conference. But so far, according to Charney, Houghton has learned and adjusted to the higher level of play. He carries a 3.0 GPA and is on track to graduate in May of 2003. He is being recruited by a large number of four-year schools from around the country.

Lining up at tight end will be Camaro Henson, 6-5, 215-pounder with soft hands and tremendous upside. Charney says that Henson will periodically split out and poses obvious problems for small corners. He's a great athlete, who also played on the Dean basketball team last winter. If he continues to add weight -- and performs well on the field -- the four-year schools should come calling. Henson will graduate in May and is a native of Annapolis, Maryland.

Other offensive players to watch, include:

QB James Brown (6-0, 185; Taunton, MA)
Won the starting job half way through 2001, then suffered season-ending injury. An athletic quarterback who can hurt defensives with his arm or legs. Had a great spring according to Charney.

HB Kenyatta Hale (5-10, 195; Norton, MA)
Lost last season due to injury. Speed is an asset.

RB Greg Point du Jour (5-11, 195; Union, NJ)
Returning starter. Had a nice spring and will be a 'big factor' next season.

If the injury gods are kind to the Bulldogs, they could have a much more successful season. Still, Charney believes that Morrisville and Hudson Valley could be the teams to beat in the conference. Lackawanna will be strong again, but they went independent ala Nassau. Charney believes, too, that Erie is a team to watch: "Erie came onto the scene and probably had the best personnel in our whole league. Right off the bat they're up there with Nassau and Hudson Valley."

We'll have more on Dean and the other Northeast teams during the summer and fall.


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