Read in browser
 
The Daily Memphian – Truth in place.
 
 
Ad
 
Tigers Football Insider: Previewing next year’s stat leaders for Memphis
 
By
 
Memphis defensive back Quindell Johnson reacts after Houston place kicker Dalton Witherspoon missed a field goal attempt during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
 

Memphis defensive back Quindell Johnson reacts after Houston place kicker Dalton Witherspoon missed a field goal attempt during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Welcome back to the Tigers Football Insider, where we bring you the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Frank Bonner II, Geoff Calkins and John Martin each week.

Now that the 2021 season is over, it’s time to look back at which players led the Tigers in certain categories. Some of the names on the list, like JJ Russell and Calvin Austin III, will no longer be on the team, so I took a stab at which players can be expected to lead those categories next season.

Here is what I came up with.

Ad
 

Passing yards

This year: Seth Henigan (3,322 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions)

Next season: Next year’s quarterback situation is an interesting one with Grant Gunnell coming back into the equation. If both quarterbacks stay with the Tigers, I would assume that the starting job is Henigan’s to lose after becoming the first Memphis freshman to throw for over 3,000 yards.

Receiving yards

This year: Calvin Austin III (74 catches, 1,1149 yards and eight touchdowns)

Next season: Memphis is losing its top two receivers in Austin and tight end Sean Dykes. Eddie Lewis and Javon Ivory should be the top two guys next season. Lewis had some solid performances while Austin was battling his injury and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up leading the team in receiving next year.

Tackles

This year: JJ Russell (123 tackles)

Ad
 

Next season: Linebacker JJ Russell was the most consistent player on the Memphis defense this season. He was a leader on the field and in the locker room and the Tigers are going to miss him now that he’s gone. Safety Quindell Johnson, whose 104 tackles were the second-most on the team, has decided to return for another year. I expect Johnson to lead the team in tackles next season after tallying the most in 2020.

Rushing yards

This year: Brandon Thomas (669 yards and eight touchdowns)

Next season: Thomas led the team after missing three games and having more than five carries in just six games this year. Thomas should lead the team in rushing if he can stay healthy and limit the fumbles next season.

Interceptions

This year: Defensive backs Rodney Owens and Jacobi Francis (two interceptions)

Next season: Greg Rubin had a strong freshman season leading the team with 14 pass breakups. He didn’t have any interceptions but I anticipate that he’ll have a few next season and could lead the team in that category.

Field goals made

This year: Punter Joe Doyle (7-of-12, 58.3%)

Next season: Freshman kicker David Kemp missed much of the year with an injury and didn’t attempt his first field goal until the sixth game of the year against Tulsa. After missing both of his field-goal attempts and going 1-of-2 on extra points in his first game, Kemp was successful on all five of his field goals and missed one of his seven extra points. Kemp settled down in the final few games and I expect him to assume the starting role next year.


More from your Insider


How former Tigers did in the NFL: Week 18

Four former Tigers set season highs this week, and two kickers were perfect. 

Duke football snags Memphis’ offensive coordinator

Kevin Johns joins the Blue Devils in the same capacity after three seasons in Memphis.

 
 
View this article on our website

Support quality, local journalism and access exclusive content by becoming a subscriber at dailymemphian.com.

.....