WALTHAM, Mass. – 100 players are expected to report Sunday when the Bentley University Falcons return to campus for the opening of preseason football camp.
Bentley, 4-6 a year ago, will open the season at West Chester on Sept. 7, 27 days after the reporting date. Amazingly, the Falcons don't have a home game until New Haven comes to Waltham on Sept. 27.
Among the returnees for sixth-year head coach Bill Kavanaugh are three-time All-Northeast-10 Conference cornerback Pete Thorbahn (Norwell/Xaverian Brothers HS), returning quarterback Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) and three players who have over 1,000 career all-purpose yards.
They are junior wide receiver Austin Ryan (Foxborough/Foxborough HS), fifth-year senior slot receiver Drew Mahoney (West Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy) and junior running back Andrew Brazicki (Franklin Park, N.J./Bishop Ahr HS).
Thorbahn (first team in 2018 after two years on the second team) and Ryan (first team in 2017) are two of three returning Falcons who have earned All-Conference honors previously. The third is fifth-year senior offensive lineman Matt Boyle (Duxbury/Duxbury HS), a third-team selection last year when he split his time at guard and center.
Three other returning Falcons earned NE10 All-Rookie recognition last year, an honor received by Sturm, Ryan and offensive linemen Tim Leonard (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven HS) and Sean Mitchell (Park Ridge, N.J./Saint Joseph Reg. HS) in 2017. They are kick returner Isaiah Collins (Dorchester Center/ Belmont Hill School) and defensive linemen Cedric Dashiell II (Buena Park, Calif./Buena Park HS) and Steven Paulino (Bergenfield, N.J./Bergenfield HS).
Thorbahn led Bentley in tackles last year with 76 and coupled with senior Derek Perkins (Milton/Milton HS), gives the Falcons two outstanding corners. Last year, Thorbahn picked off six passes, pushing his career total to 13, and Perkins had five, including two pick-sixes.
Sturm, in a year-and-a-half as Bentley's starting QB, has thrown for 3,056 yards and 21 TDs while completing 60 percent of his passes. Playing without both Ryan and Mahoney virtually all of 2018, the lefty's numbers tailed off, to 53 percent, 1,681 yards and nine TDs.
Ryan missed all of last year due to injury after a breakthrough rookie season in which he caught 16 touchdown passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards. Mahoney, who suffered a season-ending injury in the first half of the opener, has career totals that include 131 receptions, 375 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 2,258 all-purpose yards.
Brazicki has been the team's top rusher the last two years, gaining over 1,000 yards and scoring ten touchdowns.
Leonard enters this season with a string of 18 consecutive starts at tackle, and Mitchell started 14 times during his first two years.
Kavanaugh's coaching staff is basically the same as last year with the lone exception being the return of Keith Levan as offensive coordinator, following a year at New Hampshire.