Memphis Tigers’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Seth Henigan, Roc Taylor

    After a 10-3 season, Ryan Silverfield and the top 10 returning players for the Memphis Tigers are looking to rise to the top of the AAC.

    Ryan Silverfield got off the hot seat in 2023 with a 10-3 finish, and now he’s looking to bring his team to the top of the AAC. The Memphis Tigers’ top 10 returning players for 2024 include plenty of talented individuals, and this should be a team to watch as one of the favorites in the conference.

    Memphis Tigers’ Top 10 Returners 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) CorMontae Hamilton, DE

    It was an off-year for CorMontae Hamilton in 2023, but there’s reason to believe that he’ll bounce back. The former Ohio State transfer started right away for the Memphis Tigers defense when he arrived in 2022, and now he’s looking to get back to that form.

    The Tigers’ defense will once again be the X-Factor for the team this year. Their offense expects to be explosive again, so it’s up to this unit to slow down opposing offenses. It starts up front, and Hamilton has shown that he can be a force to help that campaign.

    9) A.J. Watts, S

    Memphis finished 124th in pass defense last year, so Ryan Silverfield and his staff knew that needed to change. They went into the transfer portal and snagged a couple of safeties to fix the back end of their defense, and UL-Monroe transfer A.J. Watts should help those efforts.

    Watts started his career with Akron before transferring to the Warhawks, and he brings 147 tackles, 15 passes defended, and four interceptions with him to Memphis. Jumping to the AAC will be a transition, but he boasts the confidence necessary to make it happen.

    8) Jyaire Shorter, WR

    In all honesty, the Tigers’ passing attack didn’t necessarily need another addition, but it was tough to pass on a player who averages 22.5 yards per catch for his career. Seth Henigan was already going to be happy, but now he gets another explosive playmaker out wide.

    Jyaire Shorter struggled to stay on the field with North Texas, but when healthy, he was a nightmare to cover. In his two full seasons with the Mean Green, he caught 47 passes, turning those into 1,101 yards and 20 touchdowns. If he can stay on the field with the Tigers, watch out.

    7) Tahj Ra-El, S

    Silverfield bet on an Old Dominion transfer last year (Blake Watson) and won big time. He dipped back into that well again, but this time on the defensive side of the ball. Safety Tahj Ra-El comes to Memphis after posting a career season in 2023, bolstering the aforementioned secondary that needed this talent infusion.

    Ra-El, an Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt selection by College Football Network, isn’t afraid to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. He’s also displayed good ball skills deep in coverage, something the Tigers desperately need this year.

    6) Mario Anderson, RB

    With Blake Watson off to the NFL, the Tigers find themselves in need of a primary ball carrier. With Sutton Smith and Brandon Thomas returning, they have options, but can either of them be reliable? The two combined for 477 yards and 11 touchdowns, so the staff added more competition for 2024.

    MORE: 2024 AAC Weekly Football Schedule 

    Mario Anderson led the South Carolina Gamecocks in rushing last year, so this was a massive addition for the Tigers. He ran for 707 yards and three touchdowns in 2023 but decided he needed a new home. With the Tigers’ passing attack set to post big numbers, Anderson could have an even better season in 2024.

    5) Greg Rubin, CB

    Greg Rubin burst onto the scene for the Tigers’ defense, similar to former Tigers cornerback T.J. Carter, but cooled off the past two years. The staff utilized him in a multitude of ways in the secondary, and he appeared to be settling in towards the end of 2023.

    Rubin’s still looking for his first career interception, but teams haven’t been shy about testing him. He returns 21 passes defended in his career and should help the new faces get up to speed quicker, thanks to his experience.

    4) Demeer Blankumsee, WR

    It will be sink or swim for the defensive backs in practice because the Tigers’ pass catchers will test them daily. Iron sharpens iron, as they say, so it should create good competition and help that group at worst. It also means that the Tigers’ passing attack will be electric once again.

    Demeer Blankumsee led the team in yards per catch (17.0) and touchdown receptions (seven) in 2023, proving that he could handle the transition from Toledo to the AAC. He’s back in what should be an even more talented group, and he’s ready to push for the role of QB Henigan’s go-to target.

    3) Chandler Martin, LB

    Everyone knew that Geoff Cantin-Arku could play, but questions about depth remained heading into the 2023 season. Fortunately for the Tigers, Chandler Martin was set to have a breakout season. Now he returns as a leader of the defense, and gives them a proven playmaker who can disrupt an offense’s gameplan.

    Martin was everywhere last year for the Tigers, producing 95 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, and two interceptions in his first season with the team. With Cantin-Arku gone, depth is the question again for this group. Fortunately, Martin can hold things together until new players emerge.

    2) Roc Taylor, WR

    For two years, we saw a group of young pass catchers show their potential in brief flashes. Based on that brief exposure, certain players were expected to contribute more in 2023. Roc Taylor was one of those players, and he did not disappoint when put in the spotlight.

    In his first full year as a starter, Taylor led the team in receptions (69) and receiving yards (1,083). His performance against Missouri put him on the map and jumpstarted his season, as he posted six games with more than 100 yards receiving. His new challenge is how to repeat that success when everyone knows his name.

    1) Seth Henigan, QB

    Silverfield and his staff knew their offense was in good hands because veteran Henigan was back after starting two years for the Tigers. He helped them produce the ninth-best passing attack in the country in 2023, and there are reasons to believe that they can be even better this year.

    KEEP READING: 2024 AAC Power Rankings 

    Henigan produced a career year last season, completing 66.8% of his passes while throwing for 3,883 yards and 32 touchdowns. If he can take another step, 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns aren’t out of the question with this group. He’s also a name to watch as a sleeper prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

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