– The Georgetown University football preseason camp is well underway as the team is working hard to prepare for the 2018 season. As the Hoyas get ready for the season opener at Marist College on Sept. 1, GUHoyas.com will take an in-depth look at each of the team's position groups, with this edition featuring the running backs and tight ends.
At the running back position, the Hoyas graduated its top two rushers from a season ago in Alex Valles (C'18) and Isaac Ellsworth (C'18), but return senior Carl Thomas
(Floirissant, Mo./Lutheran North). Thomas ranked second among the running backs last year with 37 carries and was third with 95 total rushing yards.
"Carl has been amazing," said Georgetown Assistant Coach John Bear
, who works with both the running backs and tight ends. "He is really stepping into the leadership role as a senior. He is doing a great job with all of his assignments and is running the ball hard. The thing that I have been most proud of is his ability in pass protection. He has done a great job embracing a change in scheme."
Georgetown will also have a strong amount of young depth behind Thomas. Sophomore Jay Tolliver
(Columbus, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) will look to have a breakout season after rushing the ball eight times in his freshman campaign. He also saw a lot of time in the kick return game, bringing back eight kicks for 142 yards in 2017.
Junior Zacciah Saltzman
(Athens, Ohio/Athens) and sophomore Jackson Saffold
(Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek) will both look to get their first touches this year after seeing significant time on special teams last season. Freshman Herman Moultrie III
(Columbus, Ohio/Columbus Academy) will also battle for playing time after an impressive first couple of weeks of preseason camp.
"Jay has done an unbelievable job as well," Bear said. "He has really grown and matured in the last year and I'm looking forward to him having a great season. Herman has done an awesome job coming in as a freshman and had a great scrimmage earlier this week. Jackson has really been embracing his role and done an awesome job filling in both at H-back and fullback. He is really developing as a leader within the position group. Zacciah is just Mr. Reliable and is ready to fill in anywhere, whether that is in the backfield or on special teams. As we are moving forward, getting ready for Marist, we are just trying to keep guys fresh and ready to roll."
Junior Isaac Schley
(Littleton, Colo./Chatfield), who converted from quarterback at the beginning of last season, is the only returning tight end who saw the field in 2017. Schley appeared in eight games, with one start and caught two passes. His classmate Matt Ungar
(Mendham, N.J./Delbarton) will look to break through this season after joining the Hoyas last year.
"Schley left spring ball and was challenged to come back at a certain weight," Bear said. "He succeeded and is running better than he ever has and is extremely physical at the point of attack. He has a chance to be one of the best tight ends in the conference. Matt had a great spring and hopefully will be able to translate that this fall and do some great things for us."
Freshmen Liam McHale
(Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and Sergio Portobanco
(Jamaica, N.Y./Episcopal [Va.]) will both also vie for playing time.
"Sergio is everything we thought he was going to be," said Bear. "He is dynamic and stretches the field. He can be a real game changer. Liam is similar to Sergio. He has all the physical tools with his ability to stretch the field and being a big target. We are excited to see what they both can do."
The Hoyas open the 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Marist. Kickoff in Poughkeepsie, New York is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Blue & Gray will play its home opener at Cooper Field the following weekend, hosting Campbell on Sept. 8 for a 12:30 p.m. matchup.