McNeese opens spring practice on Tuesday for the first of 15 dates

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese State will kickoff its 2014 spring football workouts on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in what will be the first of 15 workouts in the next three weeks, culminating with the April 12 spring game.

The Cowboys completed the 2013 season with a 10-3 record, including a 6-1 mark in Southland Conference play, while reaching the second round of the Division I playoffs.  It marked the 11th 10-win season in school history while the squad reached the playoffs for the 15th time.

McNeese returns a total of 14 players with starting experience on both offense and defense and 45 players that had significant playing experience last season.

On offense, the Cowboys return all but one starter on an offensive line that helped guide the team to a top 25 national ranking in scoring, rushing and total offense.  Those starters include senior Antoine Everett who earned first team all-conference honors last year, as well as juniors Quinten Marsh and Nick Gorman, who each earned all-SLC honorable mention accolades.

Junior wide receiver David Bush (20 catches, 194 yards, 1 td) is the top-returning receiver in spring camp followed by senior Jereon McGilvery (11-219-2).  Others that saw action last season are Deltoine Scott, Khalil Thomas, and Logan Gladney.  Wes Briscoe, who started four games before being lost for the season to an injury, is expected to be back for fall workouts.

In the backfield, junior Kelvin Bennett (108-774-4) is the top returning running back followed by junior Dylan Long (79-335-10).  The Cowboys signed two transfers in the winter – junior Nate Holmes from the University of Arkansas and Derek Milton out of Mississippi State.

The quarterback position will be the position that'll be the most looked at as McNeese will be going with a new face behind center after three-year starter Cody Stroud graduated.  Junior Tyler Bolfing and sophomore Will Briscoe are the veterans on the roster while redshirt freshmen Grant Ashcraft and Joe Lissard will be handling snaps during the spring.

On defense, the Cowboys return first team all-conference defensive end Everett Ellefsen (44 tackles, 5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss), second team all-SLC linebacker Bo Brown (75 tackles, 4 sacks, 12 tackles for loss) as well as second team all-league safety Aaron Sam (84 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss).

Other defenders returning with starting experience include defensive lineman Kevin Dorn (52-5-7.5), who earned all-SLC honorable mention honors, and defensive backs Brent Spikes (31-0-1) and Gabe Hamner (48 tackles, 2 interceptions).

McNeese will workout in shorts and helmets on Tuesday and Wednesday, will slip the shoulder pads on come Friday, and will don full pads on Saturday.

Three scrimmages have been scheduled – March 29 at 3 p.m., April 5 at 9:45 a.m., and the spring game on April 12 at 3 p.m.  All scrimmages will be held in Cowboy Stadium.