James Madison Dukes’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Ayo Adeyi, D’Angelo Ponds

    The James Madison Dukes lost a lot in the transfer portal after Curt Cignetti left for Indiana, but their top 10 returning players are packed with talent.

    In the age of the transfer portal, roster retention is difficult enough for Group of Five teams. It becomes even more challenging when the head coach leaves. That’s the case for the James Madison Dukes, who will be eligible to compete for a bowl berth in their third season at the FBS level.

    If James Madison is to make the postseason this fall, these 10 returning players will likely play a massive part in that success.

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    James Madison Dukes’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Dylan Morris, QB

    A new entrant to the hall of “that guy still plays college football?!” Dylan Morris transferred into James Madison from Washington in the offseason. Morris was Michael Penix’s backup in 2022 and 2023, having started for the Huskies in 2021.

    Morris didn’t have much help as a starter and is now a seasoned veteran. He should have a solid season for the Dukes under new head coach Bob Chesney.

    9) George Pettaway, RB

    George Pettaway had a promising true freshman season at North Carolina before being jumped on the depth chart in 2023. As a result, he preserved his redshirt and entered the transfer portal after the season.

    Pettaway has home run speed and experience returning kickoffs. As a change-of-pace back and a contributor on special teams, he could be a key member of the Dukes’ team this fall.

    8) Tanner Morris, C

    In the modern college football era, it’s uncommon to see a fifth-year senior stay at the college he enrolled in as a freshman, but that’s exactly what Tanner Morris did. He graduated in 2023 but retains eligibility from the Covid year.

    Morris started every game at center last year and was rock solid in the run game and pass-blocking. James Madison needs him to be an anchor in the middle of the offensive line in 2024.

    7) Tyshawn Wyatt, OT

    Tyshawn Wyatt was the starting left tackle on James Madison’s talented offense in 2023 and returns this season as a potential All-Conference player at the position. While the Dukes lost plenty of talent at the skill positions, Wyatt is one of three returners on the offensive line.

    Bob Chesney’s teams have traditionally relied on strong offensive line play to move the ball. Wyatt and the rest of the Dukes’ offensive line will be key in 2024.

    6) Cole Potts, G

    Cole Potts is the most experienced offensive lineman on an older offensive line, starting 30 games over the past four seasons at right guard. He provides senior leadership for an offense that lacks experience at the skill positions.

    MORE: 2024 Sun Belt Weekly Football Schedule 

    Potts is a strong run blocker with a steady base. He should provide drive in the running game for James Madison’s strong group of running backs. 

    5) Jacob Dobbs, LB

    The Dukes lost several key players from their front seven last season, so getting Jacob Dobbs to follow Chesney was a huge recruiting win. At Holy Cross last season, he registered 122 tackles in just 11 games. 

    Dobbs has been a critical player for Chesney’s defenses in the past five years, dating back to his freshman season in 2019 when he had three interceptions.

    4) Jacob Thomas, S

    A true junior, Jacob Thomas was the fourth leading tackler for the Duke’s last season. The front seven will be inexperienced in 2024, so Thomas and the rest of the secondary will need to carry the defense early.

    Thomas burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere last season, but now he’s a known commodity and will need to be an anchor for the defense.

    3) Chauncey Logan, CB

    Chauncey Logan is just a true junior but has plenty of experience playing the cornerback position. Across two seasons, he’s picked up 16 past deflections.

    Logan likely has one of the corner spots locked down for the fall. He and fellow corner D’Angelo Ponds are one of the most talented tandems in the Sun Belt Conference.

    2) D’Angelo Ponds, CB

    D’Angelo Ponds might be small in stature, but he’s among the most talented corners in the Group of Five. At just five-foot-nine and 165 pounds, Ponds led the team with 12 pass deflections as a freshman last year.

    KEEP READING: 2024 James Madison Dukes Football Roster

    Across from Logan, Ponds sees plenty of targets funneled his way, and he makes the most of those opportunities. He’ll need to avoid a sophomore slump but should energize an inexperienced defense.

    1) Ayo Adeyi, RB

    Ayo Adeyi is one of my favorite pickups for any Group of Five team this offseason, as I thought he could have easily landed as a starter at a Power Four school. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last year for North Texas after reaching 800 yards as a sophomore.

    Adeyi is likely slated to start at the running back position for James Madison and has plenty of experience as the focal point of an offense. In my eyes, he’s the top player on the James Madison for the 2024 college football season.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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