HANOVER, N.H. — Spring might not be much to look at quite yet in the Upper Valley, but it is springing for the Dartmouth football team.
After an up-and-down season this past fall that featured the first victory over a nationally ranked New Hampshire team for the first time in 40 years and three Ivy League losses by a total of seven points, the Big Green have their sights set on returning to the top of the standings where they were perched in 2015.
Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coachhas starters returning at nine offensive positions and six defensive spots, which doesn’t include two of the top three rushers and the sixth-leading tackler from last year. Of the 11 Big Green athletes to earn All-Ivy honors last season, five will return to the field this fall, including the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, wide receiver Hunter Hagdorn.
Back behind center will be rising-senior Jack Heneghan, who threw for 2,725 yards — the third-most in program history — and 11 touchdowns with a completion rate of 59.7 percent. The 6-4, 225-pound native of Atherton, California, also showed good mobility with 249 rushing yards at a 3.4-yard average.
Not only will Heneghan have Hagdorn (who was second in the league with 56 receptions and 706 yards) to throw to, 12 of the 13 receivers to catch more than one pass will be back on the field, giving the Big Green a deep receiving corps. Among those targets are Drew Hunnicutt (37 receptions, 484 yards) and Emory Thompson (30, 363).
Miles Smith established himself as the featured running back with a 5.2-yard average per carry and 516 yards in all. But the rising junior will have strong competition from Ryder Stone (64 rushes, 277 yards) and Rashaad Cooper (31, 151) to give Dartmouth plenty of options with which to work.
On defense, Dartmouth will have to replace All-America linebacker Folarin Orimolade, who was also the Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the year, but if there is one area of the defense that has options, it is at linebacker with talents like Eric Meile, Jack Traynor and Jake Moen ready to step up.
Two of the three starters up front are also graduating, but with Teevens’ penchant for rotating linemen in and out regularly, experience will not be a factor. In the secondary, safety Colin Boit along with cornerbacks Isiah Swann and Jarius Brown give the Big Green talent and experience.
Practices are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 4:45 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 9:45 a.m., but due to the rain today, the first practice is now set for Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. and Thursday’s practice has been moved to a date yet to be determined. The annual Green-White scrimmage will conclude the spring season on Saturday, April 29.