Jawain Granger was happy he and his teammates got to play football this past spring.
But the Delaware State defensive back definitely wasn’t a fan of the cold weather early on.
“I mean, in the spring, we practiced on the snow, ice,” said Granger. “In the fall, we get to have that nice heat.”
On the other hand, the Hornets hope that enduring some of the cold weather to play five real games in the spring sets them up for a good fall season.
On Friday, DSU was picked to finish fourth out of six teams in the MEAC at the league’s Media Day. The Hornets did receive a first-place vote, too.
While fourth is still in the bottom half of the downsized conference, it’s a sign of progress for fourth-year coach Rod Milstead.
“Personally, I think we’re moving forward,” he said on Friday, “because this is the first year that we weren’t predicted at the bottom of the list.
“So we’re doing something right. We’re excited. Of course, we’d like that first position (in the league). That’s our goal for this season.”
“It just shows the hard work we’ve been putting in these past years,” said receiver Kwannah Kollie. “I feel like we’re progressing to where we want to go and where we need to be.”
The Hornets went 2-3 in the spring. They went 2-10 in 2019 after going 3-7-1 the year before in Milstead’s first season as head coach.
DelState opens the season on Sept. 4 by hosting Bowie State at 4 p.m.
The Hornets had five players — including four on defense — named first team on the Preseason All-MEAC team. That group included guard Matthew Derks, defensive lineman Isaiah Williams, linebackers Brooks Parker and Antquan Kinsey, along with defensive back Granger.
Delaware State’s four second-team selections are receiver Trey Gross, running back Thomas Bertrand-Hudon, center Dillon Marshall and tight end Myles Beverly.
Even after some tough times, Milstead said he’s pleased with where the program is.
“It’s been challenging but it’s been so rewarding to watch these young men grow,” he said. “It’s been very fulfilling for me.
“We came here with a vision and these guys bought into it. Every year we’ve taken a step and we look forward to taking a step this year as well.”
Delawarean in the draft
Thursday was a big night for St. Georges High grad Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland.
The Wilmington native became just the third player from Delaware to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft when the Denver Nuggets selected him with the No. 26 pick overall.
The 20-year-old Hyland was a standout at VCU and is known for his three-point shooting.
He’s had to overcome family tragedy. In 2018, a house fire killed both his grandmother and a young cousin while leaving him with a serious knee injury.
Hen men headed south
The Delaware men’s basketball team announced on Friday that it will be playing in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida this November.
The eight-team event will be played with a tournament bracket leading up to a championship game.
The Blue Hens open up by facing Appalachian State on Nov. 22. Delaware will take on either Akron or Fordham on Nov. 23, before playing its final game on Nov. 24.
The other four teams in the tourney are Rice, Evansville, Vermont and Oakland.
Happy to be home
To say Rod Milstead is still thrilled to be Delaware State’s head football coach might be an understatement.
The fourth-year Hornet coach was asked on Friday what it’s like to be the head coach at his alma mater.
“I’m living the dream,” said Milstead. “I feel like I have the best job in America. This is something I prayed for when I was a student at Delaware State, to one day come back and be the head coach.
“For me, it’s a dream. I wake up every morning and thank God for this opportunity. I get paid to go to a place I love, do the job I love and work with great young men.”
Dover High’s Elijah Sessoms, a senior tight end/wide receiver, has received scholarship offers from Delaware, Central Connecticut State and Wheeling ... New Delaware State men’s basketball coach Stan Waterman didn’t have to look too far to find his first recruits. Guard Corey Perkins, one of Waterman’s standout players at Sanford, signed with the Hornets this week. ... South Carolina State finished first in the MEAC football poll title after collecting five of 12 first-place votes. ... Delaware has started receiving some verbal commitments from its next signing class. That includes tight end Thomas Chernasky from Lake Ariel, Pa. and Gary Seigler, a safety from Midlothian, Va. ... The Delaware men’s soccer team is going to host 2018 national champion Maryland on Oct. 12. It will be the Terps’ first visit to Newark since 11941.