Toledo finished 7-6 overall and were 5-3 in the MAC in 2021, good enough for third place in the MAC West.
Their ultimate standing was not due to lack of effort on the offensive end; the Rockets netted 435.2 yards per game overall, good enough for third overall in the MAC, and was the best scoring offense in the MAC as well, averaging over 31 points per contest. They faced Middle Tennessee in the Bahamas Bowl after falling short of the MAC title run, falling to the Blue Raiders by a touchdown with a final score of 31- 24.
It is this promise on offense which elevated Toledo in to the MAC championship conversation during Media Day, so a thorough look at who returns to the offensive skill positions will be key to understanding the expectations.
At quarterback, the promising dual-threat sophomore Dequan Finn returns. Last year, he played in all 13 games, and was 144-of-250 in the air for a total of 2,071 yards, good enough for fourth amongst passers in the MAC after taking over the job several weeks in to the season. He threw 18 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Finn proved himself to be a dual threat by gaining 505 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns as well, giving Toledo yet another weapon in the backfield for defenses to gameplan for. It is Finn’s offseason development as the unquestioned starter which will be the catalyst for where this Rockets team finishes in the MAC, as his 2021 performance showed a lot of potential
Fellow sophomore A.J. Gucciardo (one game appearance) and redshirt freshman Tucker Gleason (6-of-9, 69 yards in 2021 in three game appearances) will likely fight for the backup job. The Rockets have several at quarterback behind those three players, who will all likely compete for emergency roles and/or be redshirted.
Wide Receiver and tight end
Matt Landers, a promising transfer from Georgia, transferred in the offseason once again after leading the Rockets in touchdowns in 2021, while several long-time contributors graduated out of the program (inclulding Isaiah Winstead, Bryce Mitchell and Danzel Mc-Kinley-Lewis,) but there is still a lot of returning talent coming back to the Toledo roster, returning three juniors who should all be major contributors.
Probably at the top of that group is Devin Maddox, who saw time as a return specialist as well as a receiver. As a punt returner, he was good enough to be named to the second All-MAC team. At receiver, he had 41 receptions for 567 yards and four touchdowns, leading all the returnees at the position. Next up would be Jerjuan Newton with 13 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, and DeMeer Blankunmsee (16 receptions, 165 yards, one touchdown.) A dark horse for reps might be Mikel Barkley, a five-foot-11, 170 lb. speedster who comes from TCU.
At tight end, senior Jamal Turner returns for this season. Last year, he had 8 catches for 87 yards. Also returning are sophomores Alex Enders and Dalton Andrews. Neither recorded any stats.
At running back, the Rockets lose a giant in the form of Bryant Koback, who rewrote the Toledo record books in the rushing game in his long career as a Rocket, gaining 1,447 yards in his final season.
But they will not be lacking experienced talent, as they return return sophomores Micah Kelly (59 attempts for 327 yards; five receptions for 44 yards) and Jacquez Stuart (46 attempts for 250 yards, one touchdown; eight receptions, 53 yards.) We will see if he is able to step up. Whoever will be toting the rock will working in tandem with Finn, who returns as the team’s leading rushing threat.
Behind Kelly and Stuart are a slew of redshirt freshmen and sophomores who could compete for spell and backup roles, including Lamy Constant (who scored a touchdown in 2021) and Maryland transfer Peny Boone (39 carries, 172 yards, two touchdowns in 2021.)
The Rockets will lose a superstar back, but their depth should still offer plenty of options for Jason Candle and his staff.