MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Preseason football camp is underway at Morehead State as newcomers reported to Jayne Stadium on Sunday and returning players reported on Monday.
Eighty nine players are gearing up for the 2013 season. The Eagles will have approximately 30 practices this month, in addition to film, conditioning, team and administrative sessions.
"This is a great time of year for football coaches, players and fans," said Rob Tenyer, who begins his first season as head coach at MSU after 12 years an assistant. "I'm excited about this new era because we have a terrific staff and lots of talented student-athletes in the program."
Morehead State returns 60 players, including four starters on offense and eight on defense, for its 84th varsity season. The Eagles also welcome 29 first-year college players to the roster.
Junior running back Rees Macshara, who has landed on three Preseason All-Pioneer Football League teams, is Morehead State's top returnee on offense. He rushed 173 times for 1,013 yards and six touchdowns a season ago en route to First-Team All-Conference accolades.
"I'm not surprised by the success Rees had in 2012 because he rushed for over 3,000 yards and 50 touchdowns as a senior in high school," Tenyer said. "Rees is a great fit for what we do offensively. He's really good between the tackles, finds seams and has great balance."
Junior linebacker Jordan Hendrix, who has also earned a nod on three Preseason All-PFL squads, is MSU's top returnee on defense. He registered a school-record 123 tackles a year ago and ranked 10th nationally in stops per game (11.2) on his way to Second-Team All-League honors.
"Jordan is coming off an outstanding season, but I feel like he can do even more for us in 2013," Tenyer said. "Jordan gives terrific effort and ended up being a staple for our defense as a sophomore last year. He's an athletic linebacker with great range who really runs to the football."
Morehead State led the 2012 circuit in six major offensive categories, including points (38.4), total yards (471.5), passing yards (305.4) and fewest sacks allowed (1.00) per game. The Eagles also paced the conference in third-down (51.0 percent) and red-zone (88.4 percent) conversions.
Morehead State will look to fill holes left by quarterback Zach Lewis, wide receiver Donte Sawyer and kicker/punter Rainer Duzan, who combined on 19 school records in 2012. Lewis passed for 10,251 career yards, Sawyer tallied 2,555 career receiving yards and Duzan scored 258 career points.
"Zach, Donte and Rainer were part of a very good 2012 senior class," Tenyer said. "All three are future (Morehead State Athletic) Hall of Famers in my opinion. They have certainly left some big shoes for us to fill, but I think we have some young men who are up for that challenge."
Tenyer's assistant coaches for the 2013 campaign are Craig Mullins, Phil Burnett , Dontae Wright, Patrick St. Louis, Andre Woodson, Rod West, Brett Rude, Andrew Doan, Wes McDermott and Matt Forrest. Eight out of the 11 staff members are in their first season at Morehead State.
The Eagles open regular-season action on Thursday, Aug. 29, when Pikeville (Ky.) visits Jayne Stadium at 7 p.m. ET. MSU has seven home games in 2013, including four PFL contests and a non-conference date with Ohio Valley Conference member Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 21.
"Our schedule is extremely competitive once again," Tenyer added. "In non-conference action, we will face three high-quality Division I opponents. And with several Pioneer Football League teams that could win this year's title, each week in conference play will also be a challenge."