Redshirt senior Ja’Tyuan Landing tackles junior Stanley Absanon at the spring game April 24. The white team won 24-20.  MARY FARSON/PROGRESS

Redshirt senior Ja’Tyuan Landing tackles junior Stanley Absanon at the spring game April 24. The white team won 24-20.


Eastern’s head football coach Dean Hood has some serious decisions to make with a packed backfield heading into the fall season.

More than 1,000 Eastern fans saw glimpses of University of Kentucky transfer Dy’Shawn Mobley and University of Tennessee transfer Channing Fugate at the Maroon-White spring game last Thursday.

Mobley, a junior, is the clear No. 1 back according to Hood. Hood said because of that, they shut him down in the second half.  Mobley, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and 217 pounds, ran through tackles most of the first half, averaging more than five yards a carry.

Fugate made a successful Colonel debut, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds to go to give the white team the 24-20 win.

The other backs did well, too. Redshirt sophomore Bo Brooks ran for a touchdown, redshirt freshman Kentayvus Hopkins ran for 25 yards and redshirt senior Caleb Watkins averaged more than five yards a carry on his way to a game-high 48 yards rushing. 

The first nine possessions of the game, however, weren’t so pretty. Three Eastern quarterbacks combined to throw five interceptions during those nine possessions.

Another newcomer, junior Tyrell Curry, returned the first interception for a 70-yard touchdown.

Redshirt sophomore Jalen Rose, redshirt junior Trey Thomas, redshirt freshman Vincent Green and redshirt seniors Brandon Stanley and Theron Norman also had interceptions.

Despite the picks, Hood was pleased by how the quarterbacks responded in the second half.

“I was really impressed with our quarterbacks in the second half because I thought defense had their way with them in the first half,” Hood said. “I like how they stood up and took a punch.”

Senior quarterback Jared McClain led the quarterbacks with 139 yards on 11 of 17 passing. He also had a touchdown run to give the maroon team a late lead.

Redshirt freshman Barton Mann led the white team on a 96-yard drive and redshirt sophomore Taylor Davis led the game-winning scoring drive in the final minutes.

The game also gave fans the opportunity to see familiar players in different positions.

Starting cornerback redshirt sophomore Kiante Northington played some wide receiver and former running back redshirt sophomore Thomas Owens got used to his full time position at linebacker. Redshirt sophomore Jared Sanders, who started some games at running back last year, played cornerback during the game. 

“Not only did we make position changes from offense to defense and defense to offense, but within the offense and defense,” Hood said. “We had a period during spring we called crossover where we took defensive guys and had them play offensive positions like Kiante Northington.”

Hood gave praise to the defense for giving so much trouble to the offense. Redshirt freshman Jeffrey Canady led the defense with eight tackles.

The Colonels will start the season Aug. 28 at Robert Morris University.