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Top 10 returning players at UL-Monroe feature WR Boogie Knight and LB Zack Woodard

By all accounts, the 2021 college football season was a success for Terry Bowden at Louisiana-Monroe. The ULM Warhawks finished with a 4-8 record and improved greatly from the 2020 season. UL-Monroe returns a bevy of integral players from that successful season but did lose a few potential stars to the transfer portal this fall. Their top 10 returning players, however, dictate which areas they should see the most success from in 2022.

For every conference’s top returning players: AAC | ACC | B1G | Big 12Conference USAIndependentsMACMountain WestPac-12SECSun Belt

Top 10 returning players at UL-Monroe

The countdown to the regular season continues here during Pro Football Network’s Top 10 Returning Players series. We’ve crossed the country to the Sun Belt and are firmly entrenching ourselves across the southeastern portion of the country with our look into each FBS team. Looking only at players returning to their same team from a season ago — we’ll deal with transfers later –, we’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team. Here are the top returners from UL-Monroe.

10) Malik Jackson, RB

One half of the running back duo that nearly produced 1,000 yards a season ago returns as Malik Jackson went for 451 yards and three scores. Jackson was the spell back who averaged a healthier yards per carry and can be counted on yet again to take the load off his teammate in the backfield.

9) Andrew Henry, RB

Andrew Henry jumps ahead of his backfield mate because of his all-around ability to score, finishing with five total touchdowns last year. Henry ran for 482 yards, showing off great patience at times for some holes that may not have existed far too often for him. He made plenty of yardage on his own and proved to be a valuable contributor out of the backfield in the passing game.

8) Peyton Dunn, G

The Warhawks return more than a few starters on the offensive line, but Peyton Dunn takes the mantle as the top player returning on that unit for ULM. Dunn is as massive as they come for interior blockers, tipping the charts at 6’7″ and 309 pounds. He moves well for his size and has tremendous strength in both facets. Increasing his balance through contact is key for him in 2022, but he’s already a technically sound lineman in both pass protection and in the run game.

7) Sir’Darrius Ellis, DT

Expect big things from No. 90 in 2022 as Sir’Darrius Ellis had a breakout performance on limited snaps in 2021. Ellis didn’t record a start last year yet still finished tied for third in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss a year ago. As he’ll see more snaps in 2022, that kind of production should only skyrocket as the speedy big man in the middle has a knack for finding the ball.

6) Caleb Thomas, DT

A big man with bigger intentions, Caleb Thomas was third on the team in tackles for loss and finished at the quarterback for 2.5 sacks, tying for third on the team. Thomas has a terrific ability to push the pocket back or stuff rushing lanes by forcing his blockers on their back feet. His hands are great, and he’s got an excellent first step. Returning for his final season with the Warhawks, if his first season was any indication, 2022 could be special.

5) Chandler Rogers, QB

There were far too many times that Chandler Rogers had to run for his life in 2021. He weathered that storm and the storm of pressure from a quarterback battle to perform quite admirably last season. Rogers has a talented arm and is more than capable of extending drives with his legs. His decision-making is outstanding, which is a feat in and of itself due to how much he was under pressure a season ago. With some more clean pockets, Rogers could impress more than a few people.

4) Quae Drake, LB

In his first season with the program, Quae Drake showcased what made him a top JUCO transfer in 2021. Drake was all over the field, recording 56 total tackles, four tackles for loss, multiple QB hurries, and finishing third in sacks. He patrolled the underneath portions of the field incredibly well and rushed the passer even better. It was a terrific display of all-around ability as he quickly adjusted to the FBS level after multiple seasons at Kennesaw State.

3) Jabari Johnson, S

The secondary loses a ton of pieces from last season, but Jabari Johnson is back to take the mantle for the Warhawks in their last line of defense. Johnson roams free and uses his athleticism to find the football, both in the air and on the ground. He’ll close space very well and is a master of his craft in terms of limiting yards after the catch at safety. If he’s not forcing incompletions, you better believe Johnson is keeping receivers from going past him.

2) Boogie Knight, WR

The top playmaker returning to UL-Monroe is certainly Boogie Knight. Their pass-catching extraordinaire and return specialist, Knight is a threat with the ball in his hands. He averaged over 13 yards per catch last year and hauled in 45 receptions for 588 yards, both figures leading the team. Knight also helped his offense by putting them in favorable situations after turnovers with his skills as a kick and punt returner. All told, Knight is a threat from the slot and one of the nation’s rarities being the No. 1 receiving option who lines up on the inside essentially every snap.

1) Zack Woodard, LB

Zack Woodard led the Warhawks in total and solo tackles, as well as tackles for loss last season. Woodard has impressive instincts and a knack for finding the football. He’ll run the alley well but does a brilliant job of picking and choosing his shots to disrupt rushing lanes. An underrated aspect, Woodard also possesses terrific pass-rushing skills, finishing second on the team in sacks.

Honorable mention players returning to UL-Monroe in 2022

  • Jiya Wright, QB
  • Quincy Ledet Jr., DT
  • Will Derrick, WR
  • Jevin Frett, WR
  • Zach Jackson, WR
  • Calum Sutherland, K

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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