The South Carolina State Bulldogs football team is preparing for a 2024 season unlike any year they have had in a long time.
Following the retirement of longtime head coach Buddy Pough, the Bulldogs tabbed former Benedict coach Chennis Berry as his successor after a historic three years in Columbia.
Berry led Benedict to a 27-7 overall record in his three seasons there, including back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and SIAC championship wins.
The former Tigers’ head coach will not be coming alone, as he will be bringing most of his coaching staff and some of his top players from Benedict.
Here is a comprehensive list of the players transferring to South Carolina State from Benedict.
South Carolina State commits
DB Diego Addison
Benedict’s defensive secondary was an underrated aspect of their championship team, and Diego Addison was a big part of that. Addison finished the 2023 season with 39 total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, an interception, two pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.
DL Joshua Barker
Joshua Barker comes to South Carolina State off what was a solid freshman season playing on a loaded Benedict defensive line. He finished with 29 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, and a forced fumble. This included an impressive performance against Allen in which he posted 8 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, and 3.0 sacks.
DL Jayden Broughton
Another key member of Benedict’s defensive line, Jayden Broughton, could have easily been named SIAC Defensive Player of the Year putting up monstrous numbers in the 2023 season. Broughton posted 56 total tackles, 24 tackles for loss (led the country), 10.5 sacks (led the SIAC), three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. He recorded at least 1.0 tackles for loss in each game, including a stretch of four straight games with at least 3.0 tackles for loss.
RB Deondra Duehart
Deondra Duehart will be a welcome addition to a Bulldogs team that lost its star freshman running back Jawarn Howell to the transfer portal. Duehart produced 609 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, adding eight receptions for 45 yards. In his final seven games of the regular season, he averaged 76 rushing yards per game on 5.3 yards per carry.
WR Caden High
One of two Benedict receivers to commit to South Carolina State, Caden High is another player who made an impact as a freshman. He finished with 47 receptions for 781 yards and scored nine touchdowns while adding 66 rushing on eight rush attempts and 99 yards on three kick returns. He made his greatest impact in the SIAC championship game, recording a season-high 156 receiving yards on nine receptions and scoring a touchdown.
OL Joseph Johnson
Joseph Johnson joins a South Carolina State offensive line that surrendered the fewest sacks of any MEAC team last season. Bringing in Johnson adds another imposing figure to the Bulldogs’ O-line, as he is listed at 6’9 and 285 pounds.
WR Nick Sowell
Rounding out the list is wide receiver Nicholas Sowell who is most well-known for his breakout performance against Miles last season. In that contest, he caught a season-high nine passes for 174 receiving yards and a touchdown.
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