NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- The Tennessee State offensive line will have to replace All-American Jessamen Dunker and All-OVC selection Kevin Kenton at left tackle and right guard, respectively. Dunker went on to sign a free-agent contract with the New York Giants while Kenton received an invitation to the New York Jets rookie mini-camp.
Redshirt junior Thomas Burton was named to the Preseason All-OVC team and will anchor the line at center for the third consecutive year. Burton will sit between sophomore Jamahl Jelks and senior Ty Allen. Jelks played in all 11 games as a freshman, starting six, and proved to be a great addition to the front line last year after filling in for an injured Allen. Jelks would not relinquish the duties once Allen came back, but Allen continued to perform at a high level when returning to the field, playing 10 games, starting five.
Redshirt junior Justin Brooks has played in 18 games, starting 11, in two seasons with the Tigers. Brooks returns at right tackle and will be pushed by redshirt-sophomore Lachavious Simmons who spelled Brooks and Dunker at times in 2016.
A pair of Southeastern Conference transfers, Chidi Okeke (LSU) and Christian Morris (Ole Miss) will look to help ease the departure of Dunker and Kenton, along with USF transfer Michael Smith Jr. Redshirt sophomores Camren Jones and Tyrell Doss will offer depth along with true freshman Anthony Geter. Rounding out the unit are freshmen Kenkhari Green and Keith Thomas.
Freshman Lineman Anthony Geter
- On the transition to college
“The transition to college is hard. So I have to buckle down and practice hard every day.”
- On learning the center position
“I watch film of Thomas Burton every day and we get together at night and go over it, He helps me out a lot.”
- On the coaching staff
“When I first got here, coach Bradford helped with the plays for tight end, full back and center. When I got on the field, coach “E” (Ehrenfeld) helped me with my footwork and he is hard on me every day to get the right steps.”
Redshirt sophomore lineman Camren Jones
- On the progression through camp
“I feel like coach “E” (Ehrenfeld) wants me to put in more effort. I need to be more aggressive on my blocks. He always likes to emphasize that they invested in me for three years, well this is my third year, so these next few years I need to show up.”
- On his abilities in camp
“This is my first camp that I have gone through without any injuries, so I feel I have been getting way better.”
- On the offensive line
“Our unit is one of the best units we have had in my three years. Christian (Morris) transferred in, as well as Chidi (Okeke), and they will be a great value to us. And our guards are pretty solid. We have the kind of guys who can fill in the spots of (Jessamen) Dunker and (Kevin) Kenton and be as successful."
Redshirt sophomore lineman Lachavious Simmons
- On how camp is going
“It’s been going pretty well. We just have to get our communication down, but other than that, it’s been going well on the offensive line side.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Jamahl Jelks
- On practice
“Practice is going well. It’s hot out here, but we’re working hard, working through it and getting better everyday.”
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS