WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University football team continues its build towards success heading into the 2016 campaign. It was a long season for the Bison during a winless 2015 but last year's results are history. A new younger and energized team has assembled this August in the nation's capital and the Bison are eager to taste victory once more.
Improved team chemistry has been on display during preseason camp as new leaders have emerged among a squad with a lot of potential. Gallaudet's coaching staff went back to the drawing board, immediately after last season concluded, and worked even harder on the recruiting trail and in coaching meetings to redesign its offense, defense and special teams as they focused on the 2016 season.
"It started with our offseason last year. Our players worked hard. They were committed in the weight room. Now, they are really excited to compete again," said Chuck Goldstein, who enters his seventh season as the head coach. "We have a lot of young players who don't have a lot of experience but they are working hard and learning what to do. We are teaching everyday. We are improving everyday. We are just really excited about the team we have."
With the new season on the horizon here is a breakdown of the 2016 GU football team.
ECFC Record: 0-7
Dylan Mento (Hammonton, N.J.), So., Wide Receiver
Mento was Gallaudet's leading receiver last year with 39 catches for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He started all nine games for the Bison. Mento was tied for the lead on the team with 14 points scored. Mento was second on the team with 336 all-purpose yards (37.3 per game).
Lawrence Watson (Fayetteville, N.C.), So., Wide Receiver
Watson started nine games last season and was second on the team in receiving yards with 25 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Watson also saw time on special teams where he fielded 16 kickoffs and tallied 329 return yards with a long of 33 yards. He was tied with Mento for the lead on the team with 14 points scored. Watson led the team with 561 all-purpose yards (62.3 per game).
Kahan Louissaint (Gaithersburg, Md.), So., Fullback
Louissaint saw action in all nine games and started twice down the stretch for the Bison. He ascended to leading the team in rushing with 93 carries for 265 yards and one touchdown. He also returned seven kicks for 87 yards. Louissaint was third on the team with 333 all-purpose yards (37 yards per game).
Brad Peterson (DuBois, Pa.), So., Offensive Line
Peterson switches from starting on the defensive line to starting on the offensive line. As a freshman, Peterson started all nine games and made 20 tackles and tallied 1.5 sacks for a loss of five yards and recorded half a sack for the Bison. Peterson is a leader and a force on the offensive line where he will help open running lanes for the Bison attack.
Cameron Ethington (Indian Head, Md.), So., Offensive Line
Started the eight games he saw action in for the Bison on the offensive line. He helped to anchor GU's offensive line last year at center. His leadership and experience will help the Gallaudet offense this season.
Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), Sr., Defensive Back
Smith is the heart and soul of the defense. The two-time all-conference honoree was Gallaudet's top tackler last season with 84 tackles and 49 assisted tackles. He defended five passes, broke-up four passes, made four tackles for a loss of nine yards and had one interception. He was named Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 2 after he returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown against Becker. The three-year letterwinner, who started every game, had 12 or more tackles in four games and had a season-high 15 against Husson (Oct. 24).
Sean Fenton (Chicago, Ill.), Sr., Linebacker
Fenton was sixth on the team with 28 tackles in nine games started. He recorded seven tackles for a loss of 31 yards, a team-high, and two sacks for a loss of eight yards. Fenton was menance in the backfield as he harassed quarterbacks with five quarterback hurries, forced one fumble, defended a pass and one pass break-up. He also blocked one kick.
Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.), So., Defensive Back
Akuffo was the second leading tackler on the Bison defense last season with 73 tackles (45 solo) as he earned ECFC Honorable Mention honors. Akuffo was named ECFC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 12 after he posted a career best 14 tackles (11 solo) against Norwich. As a freshman he started all nine games and had 4.5 tackles for a loss 13 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards, two passes defended, two passes broken up, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble.
Solomon Worthey (San Diego, Calif.), So., Defensive End
Worthey was tied for fifth on the team with 51 tackles in nine games started as he earned ECFC Honorable Mention honors. He led the team with seven tackles for a loss of 28 yards, 1.5 sacks for a loss of 12 yards, one interception returned 35 yards, two passes defended, one pass break-up, one quarterback hurry and one fumble recovered.
Tarik Wallace (Laurel, Md.), Fr., Running Back
Wallace is an explosive running back that posses good size. He comes to Gallaudet from the Maryland School for the Deaf where he lettered in football, basketball, wrestling and track and field.
Jamie Cumberbatch (Waldorf, Md.), So., Defensive Back
Cumberbatch is a transfer from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He will make an immediate impact on defense. The physical safety has great size at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds.
Yancy Jenkins (Riverview, Fla.), Fr., Defensive Back
The Florida native has the potential to be a lock-down corner for the Bison secondary. Jenkins will also work with special teams and use his speed on punt returns.
Mauricio Orozco (Clinton, Md.), Fr., Linebacker
Orozco is a good overall athlete and comes to Gallaudet from nearby Clinton, Md. He was a standout football player at Maryland School for the Deaf where he also lettered four years in basketball and track and field.
Mason Gooch (Mount Sterling, Ky.), Fr., Linebacker
Gooch is a high motored defender who is physical and gets to the ball quick. The Kentucky native played four years of football at Montgomery County High School.
"We are in the process of building a program. We have brought in another great recruiting class. We are hoping that our young players along with our returners from last year will be ready to 'Rise Up' for the challenge this year." Chuck Goldstein, Gallaudet University football head coach
- Home Opener: vs. Shenandoah University (Sat., Sept. 3) 7 p.m.
- Conference Opener: vs. Becker College (Sat., Oct. 1) Noon
- 2015 Conference Champs: at Norwich University (Sat., Oct. 22) Noon
- Homecoming: vs. Castleton University (Sat., Oct. 29) 1 p.m.
- Senior Day/Last Home Game: vs. SUNY Maritime (Sat., Nov. 12) Noon
Gallaudet has a 10-game slate in 2016 with six home games at Hotchkiss Field. The Bison will play three non-conference games to begin the season before a bye week. GU begins the month of October at home in the conference opener against Becker College. Every other week will be an away game and then a home game for the rest of the season. Gallaudet welcomes Castleton on Oct. 29 for Homecoming and the Bison close out the regular-season on Nov. 12 against SUNY Maritime on Senior Day.
BISON HOME GAMES
Sept. 03 vs. Shenandoah, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 vs. Earlham, 2 p.m.
Oct. 01 vs. Becker, Noon
Oct. 15 vs. Mount Ida, Noon
Oct. 29 vs. Castleton, 1 p.m.
Nov. 12 vs. SUNY Maritime, 1 p.m.