The season was forgettable on one hand, unforgettable on the other.
But no matter the results of a football season, what happens afterward never changes: recruiting.
And Fort Valley State head coach Donald Pittman and his staff have spent this offseason working to fill some holes from 2011’s 2-8 team.
Health issues were the biggest culprit in the Wildcats’ season, with experienced quarterbacks Antonio Henton and W.J. McAlister missing substantial time with injuries.
And every other unit went through spells of being short-handed, which led to struggles, especially on the offensive line.
Speaking of FVSU’s recruiting priority …
“Depth, and linemen on offense and defense,” Pittman said. “And some speed. But that’s what we need most is linemen. We think we have running backs, we think we have wide receivers, but we’re getting one or two of those.”
FVSU has about a half-dozen or so offensive linemen with experience but is very short-handed on the defensive front, with Central alum Cody Nash one of the few returnees on that unit.
Kelcey Lewis is even more lonely at linebacker, but the former Peach County standout will see his position bolstered on National Signing Day and beyond.
“We need people,” Pittman said. “We’re recruiting a number of linebackers because linebackers also help you on special teams.”
The Wildcats lost quality at the position in Ricky Johnson, Bernard Goodrum and Courtney Daniel.
Place-kicker Justin Rosenbaum will add punting to his duties, succeeding All-SIAC pick and NFL prospect Marquette King. FVSU must also replace return specialist and receiver Demario Barber.
Depth at running back is an issue, with room behind Travis Richmond and Denzel Wesley at tailback and with a new fullback, although Pittman expects that position to be filled by somebody currently in uniform.
There is some youth at wideout behind Chris Slaughter and Eric McCree and returning talent at tight end with Tony Davis and Ricky Williams.
Pittman said the Wildcats’ list of expected signees is at a minimum on target for what they’d hoped for if not a little longer than usual.
“We have a number of guys coming in, but we won’t really know until Wednesday,” he said. “But we’re excited about them, trying to fill our needs.”
Pittman is anxious to get through the signing period and get out onto the field in March.
“The most important thing is last year going into spring, we had less than 40 guys out for spring football,” he said. “This year, we’ll have over 60. That’s big.”
Pittman said the Wildcats redshirted nearly two dozen players last season, many of whom he expects to make an impression in the spring with a carryover to the fall.
And for the first time since he took over, Pittman doesn’t have a huge question at quarterback.
“We feel very good at quarterback,” said Pittman, who also played freshmen Cameron Pearson and Jahyrie Harris at the position last season. “This is the first spring I’ll have with the starting quarterback on campus.”
Pittman wants to make sure, however, that the quarterbacks have the health to stay on the field, thus the focus up front.
“At this stage, we feel pretty good,” he said. “I think we’ll get the pieces that we need.”