NEWARK — Chandler Harvin has a couple things that his fellow Delaware receivers would love to own.
The Sam Houston State transfer already has an FCS national championship ring as well as a thorough knowledge of coach Ryan Carty’s offense.
“It’s kind of interesting,” said Harvin. “I’m a transfer, but I’m the one who knows the offense the best. Like I even know it better than the quarterbacks.”
The Blue Hens, who opened preseason camp on Friday morning, hope Harvin’s experience comes in handy as they continue adjusting to first-year head coach Carty’s new wide-open offense.
With Carty as offensive coordinator, Sam Houston State threw the ball an average of 35 times per game over the last three seasons. Clearly the Hens have stocked up on receivers during the off-season.
Delaware opens camp with 15 receivers on its roster. Veteran Thyrick Pitts is joined by a group that includes five transfers plus an incoming freshman.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Harvin, who had 974 receiving yards in three seasons with the Bearkats, said Carty’s offense is the reason he chose Delaware when he was looking for a place to go.
“It’s pass heavy and I play receiver,” said Harvin, who is currently sidelined with a leg injury. “I mean, any receiver is going to love an offense that throws the ball 40 times a game. There’s a lot of RPOs, as well, so even when it’s a run, it still might be a pass.”
In 2019, Harvin tied a school record with 13 catches for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a game against Houston Baptist. Sam Houston State threw the ball 57 times for 420 yards in that contest.
Prestbyterian transfer Jalyn Witcher also came to Delaware because he knew the Hens were going to be putting the ball in the air a lot. An Arkansas native, he already knew about Sam Houston State’s offense.
“I was happy that it was a pass-happy offense,” said the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder. “As a receiver, I’m very grateful for that.
“Anybody can make a play — any receiver on the field,” Witcher said about the scheme. “It’s not just targeted to one receiver. Anybody can get the ball. You just go out there and do it.”
The other transfer receivers include Michael Jackson, Jr., who caught 102 passes for 1,210 yards and nine TDs in four seasons at VMI; Kyron Cumby, who played in nine games at Illinois; and Josh Moran, who was in the program for four seasons at Georgia.
Besides Pitts, the Hens also still have veterans Jourdan Townsend, Brett Buckman, James Collins and Smyrna High grad Makhi Jackson.
If that means there’s a lot of competition for playing time, the players say that’s fine with them. Right now there’s a regular rotation.
“We’re getting to the point where everybody is the same toward knowing the offense,” said Witcher. “So really, coach can throw anybody in there and we can run the offense.
“Everybody wants their starting spot which makes everybody go harder, makes everybody learn the offense better. But we know, whoever is in, is going to make that play. We have that confidence in each other.”
“You’ve got to compete,” said Harvin. “It’s Division I football. That’s what brings the best out of people — competition. You play the best people.
“If you’ve got eight people who can play, you can play eight. If you only have three, you only play three. We’re going to play the best people that give us the best chance to win.”
Harvin expects to return from his injury before camp is over. Delaware opens the season on Sept. 3 at Navy.
In the meantime, he’ll try to to help the other receivers with some of the finer points of the Hens’ offense.
“It’s little stuff,” said Harvin. “At receiver, it’s not just knowing, ‘Oh, I’ve got to run a slant.’ It’s how to run the slant, where to line up. That’s more stuff I can help with ... because I’m out there and have done it. I have a different point of view.
“It’s almost like being another coach for right now.”
Younger Flacco joins Hens
The Hens have a Flacco back in the program this fall.
This time, though, it’s Tom Flacco — the younger brother of former Delaware great, Joe Flacco — who has joined the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant.
Flacco made a name for himself as a quarterback for the Hens’ rival, Towson.
He was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2018.
“We are excited to have Tom join our staff,” said Carty. “His experiences as a standout CAA quarterback and his familiarity with our conference will be another great asset to our operation.”
In 2021, Flacco was on the rosters of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League.
A multi-sport athlete, Flacco was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies out of high school. He was a member of the Towson baseball team as a senior.
The Hens are slated to practice almost every day from 8-10:30 a.m. now through Aug. 27. But only the first hour or so is open to the public — including the media. ... Former Delaware punter Tyler Pastula has ended up at CAA rival Albany, where he’s been named to the 22-player watch list for FCS Punter of the Year. ... Former Woodbridge High running back Terrique Riddick announced on social media that he’s joining the Hens. Playing at Division III William Paterson the last two seasons, the 5-foot-6 Riddick ran for 1,533 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was the ECAC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019.
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 302-741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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