Lehigh football has struggled this season as they currently hold a 2-6 mark. But with a young team under head coach Andy Coen, the fans still have plenty of hope for the future. Here are the top five players that will help Lehigh succeed next season:
5. Brandon Yosha, Sophomore RB
Yosha, a transfer from the University of Miami, has played well in his first season in the Mountain Hawks offense. Senior Rich Sodeke bumped Yosha to backup, but next season he will be first in line to start at RB. His combination of size and speed will give the Mountain Hawks a great option for Shafnisky and the option offense.
4. Brandon Leaks, Sophomore CB
Leaks spent most of his freshman campaign returning kickoffs for the Mountain Hawks. A few injuries moved Leaks to more playing time in 2014. The young corner had his struggles but has played well as of late and has a trio of interceptions so far this season. At 5’11” and 175 pounds, Leaks is not the biggest guy but uses his speed and positioning against bigger receivers. In 2015 Leaks will be lined up with Senior LaQuan Lambert to give Lehigh a compatible duo to count on at the corner position.
3. Pierce Ripanti & Colton Caslow, Sophomore LBs
Ripanti and Caslow will be the leaders in the middle of the Mountain Hawk defense come 2015. Both are quick-footed, instinctive linebackers. Ripanti leads Lehigh in tackles with 53 and also has 4.5 TFL and one sack. Caslow is third with 43 tackles along with 1.5 TFL. Caslow and Ripanti gives hope to a Lehigh defense whose struggles this year are well-documented, but the reps the young guys get is always beneficial in the long run. Two potential All-Patriot League players in my books.
2. Troy Pelletier, Freshman WR
Watching No. 85 run wild on a Georgetown defense looked reminiscent of another former No. 85 wideout that donned a Mountain Hawks uni––current NFL WR Ryan Spadola. Pelletier is coming into his own as a playmaker (187 yards and a TD vs G’Town). At 6’3″ he has the height and hands to be Shafnisky’s top target. Three more years of Pelletier bodes well for this Lehigh offensive attack.
1. Nick Shafnisky, Sophomore QB
Shafnisky took over the reins last season when Bialkowski went down with injury and he filled in admirably. The sophomore has had his ups and downs this year, but the benefit of playing time leading the offense makes him a very intriguing player heading into next season. He’s not the biggest guy on the field but his heart and competitiveness outweighs his deficiencies. He has a winner’s mentality and will give his all for Lehigh in 2015. This option offense has progressed this season and now it’s taking shape for Shaf and the Mountain Hawks.
Photo: Lehigh’s Official Football Website