When South Carolina hits the gridiron tonight in Nashville to take on Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks will be one of 10 BCS teams opening a new college football season with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Even though former Richmond Senior standout Melvin Ingram has moved on to the NFL, there is still some local interest in how South Carolina fares this year. Devant’e Covington, a senior defensive end for the Raiders, verbally committed to join the Gamecocks this summer.
Campbell will show off its new lights at Ed Gore Field at Barker-Lane Stadium tonight against Shorter. Freshman offensive lineman Corey Smart is expected to be in uniform for the Fighting Camels.
Four former Richmond players will be in action for South Carolina State at 7:30 p.m. today, when the Bulldogs visit Georgia State. Redshirt senior quarterback Derrick Wiley will look to bounce back from a knee injury which sidelined him last season and will serve as the backup to Richard Cue. Redshirt sophomore Tedarrius Wiley, Derrick’s brother, will be the third-string quarterback. Defensive linemen sophomore Andrew Carter and freshman Antoine Crouch are expected to battle for playing time for the Bulldogs.
N.C. State will begin what coach Tom O’Brien and the rest of the Wolfpack Nation hope is a jump to the top tier of the ACC. The Wolfpack take on Tennessee 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The current N.C. State roster does not include a former Richmond player, but like South Carolina has one on the way. Running back Dakwa Nichols verbally committed to O’Brien during a visit this summer.
Saturday’s contests will feature eight games with local or regional interest.
Appalachian State and East Carolina will get things started with a noon-time kickoff Saturday. The Mountaineers feature two former Raiders on the roster — sophomore offensive lineman Alex Coulthard and freshman wide receiver Andy Shuler.
Thirty minutes later, Elon visits Kenan Stadium to take on North Carolina. Neither squad has any players with Richmond ties, but current Raider Tyrone Crowder has narrowed his college selections to four and North Carolina is one of the schools still in the mix.
At 1 p.m., Catawba will open its season on the road at West Liberty. Former Richmond offensive lineman Andrew Parsons is a senior member of the Indians.
Dakota Truett, a freshman offensive lineman, will make his collegiate debut for Presbyterian at 2 p.m. when the Blue Hose play host to Brevard.
South Carolina State has the most former Richmond players on its roster and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is next on the list with three. Redshirt senior offensive lineman, sophomore cornerback L.J. Stroman and redshirt wide receiver John Rich will lead the Braves against Winston-Salem State at 6 p.m.
Kicking off at the same time as the UNCP-Winston-Salem State game is the Wofford and Gardner-Webb contest. Former Richmond star senior linebacker Phillip LeGrande returns for his senior season to anchor a defense for the Terriers, which ranked second in the Southern Conference.
Justin Jackson is slated to be in the starting lineup for Wake Forest when Liberty visits BB&T Field. The redshirt junior linebacker is expected to help the Demon Deacons return to a bowl game for the fifth time in seven seasons.
Duke will be the last in-state team with local interest to take the field Saturday. The Blue Devils will welcome Florida International to Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke does not have a Richmond player on its team, but is actively recruiting current Raider offensive lineman Alex Norton.
Other former Raiders in action this weekend
Kevin Alfonso, a junior offensive lineman, and Chris Diggs, a freshman defensive end, will take to the field for Fayetteville State 6 p.m. Saturday when the Broncos travel to take on North Carolina Central. Defensive lineman Bootsie Dawkins recently made the team as a walk-on at the University of North Carolina at Pemborke. The Braves open their season 6 p.m. Saturday at Winston-Salem State.
If there is a former Richmond Senior football player on Division I, II or III roster not included in this story, please call or email the information.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com