The bad news: With the graduation of Gharun Hester, the Hoya program lost perhaps not only its biggest star, but also its biggest offensive threat. Hester, a Division 1-AA All-American wide receiver, left the Hilltop with 3,089 receiving yards and 39 touchdowns, both of which are Georgetown records.
The good news: His partner, junior quarterback Dave Paulus, returns. Paulus threw for over 2, 000 yards last season with 20 touchdowns. In September, he torched Butler for single-game records of 462 yards and six touchdowns.
So, as Georgetown enters its first year of play in the Patriot League, it is faced with several daunting questions as to its future, following a shaky season last year.
The Patriot League is known for more ground-based offense, and the Hoyas should be able to compete in that area. Tri-captain Aaron Brown, who gained 294 yards last season mainly in the fullback role, is likely to be the top back. Junior Jamarr Staples, who led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns last season, will also be a force, along with sophomore Dawon Dicks. New York product Jack Kuhns will serve in the fullback role.
No rushing attack can be effective, however, without an effective offensive line. Following the departure of four seniors in the class of 1999, an extremely dominant group that had been together four years, the line had to be rebuilt last season. It gained experience during the 2000 campaign, and is now led by Ed Kuczma, Ty Hollister, and Chuck Stavitski. While the unit is not battle-worn, it should still have a very good season.
Think Trent Hillier only plays basketball? Think again. He is, in fact, the Hoyas’ leading returning receiver. Last season he even set a Georgetown record for catches in one game with thirteen. Thomas Monaco and Andrew Fleming, a pair of sophomores, should also see time at wideout. The tight end will be Arlington native Bo Cote, a good blocker and solid receiver who hauled in ten catches last year.
The heart and soul of the defensive unit will probably be Bergen Catholic alum Matthew Craffey, a tri-captain returning to start at linebacker. Craffey, who was an integral part of the dominating Hoyas’ team of the late 1990s, led the 2000 edition with 85 tackles. Nick Schultz, a junior, recorded 29 tackles in limited time at linebacker last year, and figures to become a more integral player this year.
Junior Dan Doherty had one of the best spring training periods of any player, and will appear as one cornerback. That should shore up the secondary, limiting the big plays made against the Hoyas. In 2000, Georgetown was very susceptible to the big play.
The team’s most interesting battle of the season will be on Nov. 3, when they travel across the nation to play San Diego. The team welcomes Duquesne for Homecoming.