Southfield searches for answers in the backfield in the wake of Matt Falcon’s injury
Southfield – Because of the season-ending injury to tailback and Michigan-commit Matt Falcon, Southfield’s backfield will be a work in progress as the Bluejays begin the season.
Pegged a four-star recruit by most scouting services, the 6-1, 220-pound Falcon tore his ACL last week in a scrimmage and was lost for the year, immediately leaving significant question marks in the Bluejays’ ball-carrying department due to lack of experience.
“We’ll be a backfield by committee to begin with and let things play out, see who emerges through the first few weeks of the season and shows the most consistency,” Southfield coach Tim Conley said. “We’ve got good depth at the position, just not much varsity playing time between all of them. Hopefully for us, they can hit the ground running so to speak. They’ll be up to five guys who will get touches and get a chance to prove themselves. I think they’re excited for the opportunity and really focused in their preparation as a whole group getting ready for this weekend.”
Junior fullbacks Brendann Brown and Lorenzo McCaskill, sophomore tailbacks Eric McArn and Jalen Jackson, and senior slot back Jordan Davison will all be in the rotation for the Bluejays’ Saturday’s 5 p.m. opener at Wayne State against Detroit Cass Tech in the annual Prep Kickoff Classic. Southfield finished 9-4 last fall, losing to Warren De La Salle in a semifinal.
Brown (6-1, 225) has logged the most varsity snaps of the bunch. It just hasn’t been at Southfield. Earlier this month, Brown and his family moved from Farmington Hills into the Southfield School District. As a sophomore last season Brown played running back and linebacker at Farmington Hills Harrison. His emergence in the second half of the season helped spur the Hawks into the Division 2 semifinals.
While yet to have his first varsity carry, McArn’s been impressing in camp, drawing comparisons to a young Falcon (over 1,100 yards from scrimmage in just six games in 2014).
“You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself, but McArn has the shot to be an all-time great in this program, he reminds people of how we were viewing Falcon two, three years ago,” remarked Conley following a recent practice. “He’s got amazing potential. He could wind up being a true terror. The kind of back that is strong going up the middle and good around the edge and in the open field, the kind of back you don’t have to give a lot of touches to do a lot of damage.”
McArn, who is known as “Red” to his coaches and teammates alike, is built in Falcon mode. At 6-1 and 220 pounds, McArn runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
Both McCaskill and Brown will be pulling double duty as they are expected to start at linebacker. Jackson and Davison are track stars with breakaway speed.
Davison, who’s being recruited as a slot receiver at the college level, is taking on more of a leadership role in the offense, with Falcon out and the team ready to unveil a freshman starting at quarterback, projected blue-chipper Sam Johnson.
“Everybody has a role, sometimes they change,” Davison said. “The seniors have to set the example. I’m a senior. It’s our job.”