Matt McDonald | Redshirt Junior, Quarterback
They say teams start and end with the quarterback position. Look at the past two seasons when it was Jarrett Doege, Darius Wade and Grant Loy. Doege, after 19 games at Bowling Green, completed 62.7% of his passes, had over 4,000 yards passing and led the Falcons to a 7-24 record for the orange and brown. Doege now is the starter at West Virginia where he is a stud for the Mountaineers’ offense.
Darius Wade and Grant Loy in the 2019 season led the Falcons to a 3-9 record with just under 2,000 passing yards. It’s important to have a dynamic offense if the hope for the Falcons is to contend in the MAC with the likes of Miami and Buffalo.
Now enter McDonald, who like Wade, followed Head Coach Scott Loeffler to Bowling Green from Boston College. The redshirt junior from Newport Beach, California had to sit last season due to the NCAA transfer policy, but in the two games he played for the Eagles, he went 7-8, with 118 passing yards and two touchdowns.
If the offense wants to be successful, Matt McDonald will need to bring his professionalism and the accuracy he showed at Boston College to the Doyt this fall.
Quintin Morris | Senior, Tight End
Throughout the years think of some of the best professional QB-TE duos. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark or Tony Romo to Jason Witten. Occasionally a quarterback’s best friend is the tight end. This could not be more true for Quintin Morris and whichever quarterback has been under center for the Falcons.
Since Scottie Miller left at the end of the 2018 season to pursue his NFL Career (where he now catches passes from Tom Brady in Tampa Bay), Morris has really picked up the slack for the Falcons posting more than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
He was the true safety net especially last year for a team that mustered only 1,888 yards of passing offense. In the 2019 season alone, Morris pulled in 649 yards and four touchdowns. It’s important to ensure that the ball can be moved efficiently down the field, but the pass catchers have to be effective as well. Morris also averaged more yards per catch than Albert Okwuegbunam from Missouri and Lynn Bowden Jr. from Kentucky who both were drafted this past April.
Morris is electric as a pass catcher and an impactful blocker. He is the number one target for Bowling Green that every team has to game plan for and everyone needs an offensive weapon to draw the tough coverages.
Andrew Clair | Redshirt Junior, Running Back
What helps an offense more than a guy who has been a third-team All-MAC player twice in three years? Andrew Clair has been nothing short of a difference maker anytime he has been on the field for the Falcons.
He has over 1,600 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, and he still has two years of NCAA eligibility left. Clair, who missed most of the 2018 season with injury decided to redshirt his junior year in order to not lose the season entirely.
Not only is Clair a difference maker on the field, but he is a leader in the locker room. It hurt the team to not have him on the field last year. Someone who averages 5.4 yards per carry over his career should be after all, and this doesn’t even begin to mention his ability to be a dual-threat running back. Quintin Morris is important to this offense, but if the Falcons can get Clair back too, then this offense could become a serious threat.
Getting both phases of an offense going, the run and pass game, is key to being balanced. Clair coming back to this squad will take stress off a new quarterback, and off a rebuilding team. Coach Loeffler will be excited to have Clair on the field.
Caleb Biggers | Junior, Corner
The most used phrase in sports is “defense wins championships,” and that starts with the secondary. Look at how defensive backs have impacted teams on a professional level, most recently when Minkah Fitzpatrick was brought to the Steelers, the defense was changed to an elite level and almost took a team to the playoffs. Caleb Biggers, the junior from Maryland was a difference maker in that same way last year for the Falcons.
Last season alone, Biggers had a tackle in every game he appeared in. He had seven tackles against Kansas State and tied a school record with a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Central Michigan. He was the definition of a difference maker for these Falcons last season when it seemed that the defense didn’t have answers.
Biggers is a fantastic corner who is going to be matched up against good receivers. He won’t have to go up against power five school receivers, but as we have seen in recent years, MAC receivers are no joke. It’ll be important for the defense to stay in games and not make the offense engage in shootouts, and that’s going to need to start with Biggers in the secondary.
Karl Brooks | Junior, Defensive End
Speaking of lockdown defensive players, look no further than Falcons defensive lineman Karl Brooks. Brooks, like Biggers, is a junior who had a fantastic season with the Falcons. He started all 12 games, had 33 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an interception along with two fumbles.
A menacing presence on the defensive line, Brooks is the voice of that Falcons’ front seven. Not only does Brooks play like he’s experienced, but he makes a difference for a defense that has gotten torched in recent years too.
Being a MAC school, BGSU doesn’t always attract the biggest name players, but Brooks was a steal in his recruiting class. This defense has the pieces to be special, and as Loeffler lays the groundwork and gets the opportunity to build the team his way, it will only improve.
Brooks was influential last year for this team, and the Falcons will hope to gain that same intensity and leadership in a condensed season.