Location: San Diego, CA
Home Site: Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium
Team Colors: Torero Blue (Columbia), Navy & White
Division: I (FCS)
Conference: Pioneer Football League
Championships: 7 (PFL)
Head Coach: Dale Lindsey (4th Season, 26-8)
Official Website: www.usdtoreros.com
2015 Recap: 9-2 (7-1 PFL Co-Champions)
Following a 13-12 road loss to Dayton, the eventual Pioneer Football League co-champion and playoff qualifier, the University of San Diego Toreros rolled to a six-game winning streak. The Toreros were challenged during thrillers against Marist, Campbell, and Butler, but the team prevailed to earn a share of its seventh PFL title.
FB Chris Campano
OL Pono Keni
OL Jeff Starr
DE Joe Nomellini
There will be no quarterback controversy in Alcalá Park this season. Anthony Lawrence will lead the offense once again after a breakout redshirt freshman year. The Grossmont High product earned PFL Offensive Freshman of the Year honors after passing for 2,392 yards and 23 touchdowns.
|QB Anthony Lawrence finds RB Jereke Armstrong for a 62-yard touchdown.|
Lawrence will have four of his top passing targets from 2015, including tight end Ross Dwelley, who hauled in a team-best 54 catches last season, wideouts Brian Riley (Rancho Bernardo) and Justin Priest, and running back Jereke Armstrong (San Pasqual), who will share carries in the backfield with starter Jonah Hodges.
In his first season making the transition from safety to receiver, Riley led all USD pass catchers in yards (782) and touchdowns (8), and hopes to contribute more during his senior campaign.
“We're just trying to do bigger and better things as a unit,” Riley said. “Where ever I come in on that, I would love to help the team.”
“I trained very hard for this season, and I'm excited for what's to come.”
Senior left tackle Miles McArdle will be the only returning starter from an offensive line that loss two All-PFL selections.
Trevor Provencio (LG), Joe Hurney (C), Jake Arlott (RG) and Jake Michaels (RT) will be depended on to step up and fill those holes.
“We're now going to find out what they can do,” head coach Dale Lindsey said about his new starting linemen.
“They have to get game experience, and hopefully we've done a good enough job getting them ready to play at this level.”
Junior long snapper Fia Malepeai will take over as the starting fullback.
The Torero defense will feature the senior cornerback duo of four-year starter Jamal Agnew (Point Loma) and Devyn Bryant (Horizon), who led the team in interceptions (5) last year.
Agnew currently owns the USD career record for pass breakups (37), and is six picks away from tying the school's all-time interception mark of 15.
|CB Devyn Bryant grabs his second interception of the game.|
They'll get help in the secondary from returning junior safeties Ray Clark, and Colton Giorgi, last year's team leader in tackles (64).
The front seven will be headlined by former Poway High standouts Alec Moreno (LB), Max Micheals (NB), and team sack leader Jonathan Petersen (DE). Petersen also led the PFL in tackles for loss (16).
|DE Jonathan Petersen gets to the quarterback.|
Nic Henson (WB), Jalen Smith (NT), Aaron Laut (DT), and Spencer Hammitt (LE) will also help anchor the Toreros' 4-3 defense.
“We have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation,” said Agnew. “So going against them in practice everyday makes [our defense] so much better.”
Senior punter Ryan Belden returns, while juniors Patrick Murray and Jack Flatau (El Camino) competes for kicking duties.
Jacob Arnell (Rancho Bernardo) will return kicks and punts after leading the team in both last season. Last year he topped the PFL and ranked second in the FCS in kickoff returns with a 30.7 average, which ranks fourth all-time in school history.
(R) Revenge Game
Season Opener vs. Western New Mexico
For the sixth straight season, the Toreros will host the Western New Mexico Mustangs in their home opener. While USD owns a 5-0 lead in the series, the Mustangs have managed to provide some great competition.
Led by seventh-year head coach Adam Clark, the Mustangs' roster features 15 players from San Diego County including senior defensive back Alfonso Wilson (Morse), junior running back Tracy McNair (Morse), junior defensive end Aaron Leauma (Mission Hills), and senior linebacker Leo Marin (Carlsbad).