GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Under the direction of new head football coach Clay Hendrix, Furman will open spring practice Friday afternoon at the Bob King Practice Facility.
Slated to get underway at 4:00 p.m., Paladins will practice in shorts and helmets for two hours, with approximately 68 players taking part.
"I'm really excited to have an opportunity to get on the practice field and get started," said Hendrix on Thursday afternoon. "A lot of time and effort have gone into getting ready for this, and our young men have really bought into working to develop our identity as a football program. This has been a challenging and fun process for our staff."
Furman is scheduled to practice Saturday at 8:45 a.m.
The Paladins have 15 practices slated over a 34-day period as allowed by NCAA rules, not counting official university dates for spring break.
Furman counts 34 lettermen and 11 starters among its cast of returning veterans.
Six starters are back on offense, including center Matthew Schmidt, offensive guards Terrell Bush and Tim Coleman, running back Antonio Wilcox (398 yds., 6 TDs), and wide receivers Logan McCarter (33 rec., 423 yds., 2 TDs) and Thomas Gordon (43 rec., 629 yds., 4 TDs).
Defensively only three starters from last fall dot the roster: nose guard Jaylan Reid (31 tackles, 3. 5 TFL), strong safety/outside linebacker Joe Farrar (51 tackles, 3.5 TFL), and free safety Aaquil Annoor (62 tackles, 8 PBU, 2 FRs).
Furman returns placekicker/punter Jon Croft Hollingsworth (7x15 FGs, 40.2 punting avg.).
Set to take over for graduated quarterback Reese Hannon is rising senior P.J. Blazejowski, who has played in 19 games and made 13 starts over the past three seasons, accounting for nearly 3,000 yards in total offense and 19 touchdown responsibilities in that span.
Furman's annual Purple-White Scrimmage is tentatively set for Saturday, March 25, in Paladin Stadium at a time to be determined.
Hendrix was introduced as Furman's new head coach on Dec. 18 following 10 years as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy. He was a three-year starter as an offensive guard for the Paladins from 1982-85 and later spent 19 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater. As a player and later as an assistant, he played a role in nine of Furman's Southern Conference leading 13 football championships, and was offensive line coach on the Paladins 1988 NCAA I-AA (FCS) National Championship team.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information