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Coastal Carolina Football: 2022 Chanticleers Season Preview and Prediction

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Football

Grayson McCall and the Chanticleers are ranked No. 49 in Athlon Sports' Top 131 for the 2022 college football season

Coastal Carolina is 22-3 over the last two years, but coach Jamey Chadwell has several key roster concerns to address going into the 2022 college football season. Dynamic quarterback Grayson McCall is one of just six returning starters, as both sides of the ball were hit hard by departures. With McCall returning and talent and potential in the mix at running back and receiver, the Chanticleers shouldn't have much trouble scoring points. However, how fast the defense reloads could determine whether or not this team wins the loaded Sun Belt East Division this fall.

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2022

Previewing Coastal Carolina's Offense for 2022

Much of the story for Coastal Carolina in 2022 will be what the team lost. But the return of two-time reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Grayson McCall at quarterback keeps CCU relevant on a national level. McCall set an FBS record for passing efficiency at 207.65. For his career, McCall has completed 71 percent of his passes for 5,386 yards and 54 touchdowns with just six interceptions.

The coaching staff behind head coach Jamey Chadwell's spread option offense is still intact, but there will be a number of new pieces to incorporate.

The Chanticleers have a couple of dangerous running backs in sophomore Braydon Bennett and senior Reese White. Bennett has big-play ability and averaged 8.6 yards per carry while gaining 636 yards on the ground with seven rushing touchdowns. The speedy and shifty White has rushed for 1,160 yards and has 18 TDs in his career.

The Chants lost 161 receptions, 2,645 receiving yards and 24 receiving TDs between departed tight end Isaiah Likely (a fourth-round NFL Draft pick) and wide receivers Jaivon Heiligh and Kameron Brown. So McCall has to find new targets, including fifth-year senior Sam Pinckney, a Georgia State transfer.

Two starting offensive linemen return in super senior tackle Antwine Loper and guard/center Willie Lampkin, who have a combined 54 starts.

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Previewing Coastal Carolina's Defense for 2022

CCU must replace nine starters on defense, but the Chants do return some impact players on the line and in the secondary. As a true freshman, defensive end Josaiah Stewart was fifth in the nation with 12.5 sacks while also recording three forced fumbles. Stewart, who played at 6'2", 245 last year, will likely get bigger, faster and stronger in his first offseason in the CCU strength program. Nose tackle Jerrod Clark stood out in spring practices and is expected to be a stalwart of the defensive line.

Two-time first-team All-Sun Belt cornerback D'Jordan Strong returns to a secondary that will also feature super senior cornerback Lance Boykin. Strong's five interceptions in 2020 were tied for fifth nationally.

At linebacker, experienced backups JT Killen and Shane Bruce appear ready to step into starting roles, and transfers Jahmar Brown (South Carolina) and Adrian Hope (Furman) will bolster the position group.

Related: Sun Belt 2022 All-Conference Team

Previewing Coastal Carolina's Specialists for 2022

Redshirt freshman Liam Gray is expected to handle the placekicking duties. In 2021, he hit a 46-yard field goal and made 12-of-13 extra points. True freshman Evan Crenshaw is expected to win the punting job. Manny Stokes Jr. and Aaron Bedgood are among the options on returns.

Final Analysis

The Chanticleers have burst onto the national college football scene with a pair of 11-win seasons, a conference championship and a bowl win over the past two years. If McCall can stay healthy, the Chants figure to again be one of the top teams in the Sun Belt, but they also have a lot of holes to fill.

National Ranking: 49

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