Pigskin Preview: Fulton Falcons


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Falcons were preparing to close out their first week of contact practice on Friday afternoon, but the bright sun shining down on Bob Black Field was quickly overcast. The words “Three and Seven,” echoed through the empty stadium as Fulton’s head coach reminded his team of their 2019 regular-season record.

“Three and Seven is not something we’re used to,” Fulton head coach Rob Black said. “I don’t like it. It doesn’t taste good to me. These guys don’t like it and they understand that there’s an expectation around here and three and seven is not it.”

The record indicative of the Falcons youth in 2019 paired with unforeseen injuries. Rob Black and company were tasked with replacing a graduating class that had a surplus of twenty seniors.

In 2020, the Falcons are getting to add to last year, not start from scratch.

Fulton returns eight offensive starters from 2019, including a now-healthy starting quarterback in senior Tommy Sweat. The signal-caller, who missed part of the 2019 season nursing an ankle injury, is showing much more confidence entering his second season as QB1.

“I think he has done a good job at demanding the respect of his teammates,” Black said. “His teammates do respect him and they’re looking to him for leadership. So you can see in his play right now how much more comfortable he looks. He looks like a guy that has started 11 games as a high school quarterback.”

Playing into Sweat’s confidence entering the 2020 season might be the return of Fulton’s best offensive weapons from 2019. The Falcons bring back their top two leading receivers from 2019, in Marcellus Jackson and Adrian Roberson.

“Adrian Roberson is probably one of the most underrated wideouts in East Tennessee, in my opinion,” Sweat said. “He’s got some of the best set of hands that I’ve ever seen. He is explosive on both sides of the ball.”

“Marcellus Jackson, you’re going to hear a lot about him this year and the following years,” Sweat said. “He’s only a sophomore but it seems like every ball I put up there – I’m not going to put it on the money every time – but he makes me look really good sometimes. So I’m thankful for that.”

Returning to the Fulton backfield this season is 2019 leading rusher Macarthur McCovery IV. The senior ran for 473 yards and four touchdowns a year ago, and behind a more experienced offensive line, McCovery is looking to be even more of an impact player in the Falcons offense.

“Our line was young last year, but this year they’ve really gotten better,” McCovery said. “The holes have definitely gotten bigger especially on run plays. Their blocking is really good on run plays.”

Fulton begins their Season Saturday, August 22nd on the road facing South-Doyle.


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