POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The Marist defense is coming off a strong season in which it finished sixth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks by allowing just 285.64 yards per game, which was good for first in the Pioneer Football League (PFL).
The Red Foxes will have plenty of leadership on this side of the ball in 2012, as several key cogs in this unit return.DEFENSIVE LINE
Position Coach - Tunde Agboke
The Red Foxes return perhaps their best defensive player in senior defensive end Terrence Fede, a Second Team All-PFL selection who had eight-and-a-half sacks and 16 tackles for losses last season. Fede checks in at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds.
Marist lost two productive players in nose tackle David Toriola and defensive end James Desautels, both of whom started every game last year. Junior defensive ends Kevin Stark and Steven Diomede, as well as senior nose tackle Chris Katerianakis, should see plenty of action this season. Sophomore Nick Foster will also be in the mix in the middle.
Senior Mike Hagemann, who converted to the position last year from defensive end, is one of the team's captains this year. Junior Paul Sakowski had a solid season in the middle last year as a first-year starter, and was named Honorable Mention All-PFL. Senior Darius Hill, who also saw time in the middle, will compete for a starting spot on the outside vacated by the graduation of Ryan Cronan, a First Team All-PFL selection who led the team in tackles last season. Juniors Dave Incle and Hugh Kirwan will also see action. Junior Mike Kagafas, a converted safety, will also compete for playing timeSAFETY
Position Coach - Clarence Johnson
Two of the Red Foxes' captains - seniors Nick Mainiero and Tyler Ramsey - will be key cogs at the position. Both figure to be starters again this year. Mainiero has started for the last season-and-a-half, while Ramsey has made a successful transition after being the team's starting middle linebacker in 2010. Mainiero was named Honorable Mention All-PFL last season, and is a Preseason All-PFL choice this year. With the departure of free safety Brandon Kicklighter, junior Nick Kaszei has a chance for increased playing time. A trio of talented sophomores - Zach Adler, James Holodnak and Connor Mathias - will all vie for playing time.CORNERBACK
Position Coach - Larry Riley
Marist lost its top performer in First Team All-PFL selection Jaquan Bryant, who was invited to Oakland Raiders' rookie minicamp this past spring. The Red Foxes' returners with the most game experience are junior Jack Marston and sophomore Vinny Fuschetto, who essentially held down the spot opposite Bryant between them last year. With six returning sophomores and five incoming freshmen, several young players will have the opportunity to compete for playing time.