NAU Ready For Heightened Expecations

Jerome Souers had a blueprint in place.

His goal has been to focus on in-state recruits who either “slip through the cracks” of Power 5 schools or fit the Northern Arizona University football style both on the field and off.

The talent level has raised substantially and, this fall, so too have the expectations as NAU has been picked by the coaches and media to win the Big Sky Conference.

“I think it’s a great sign of progress, a great sign of where we’re going,” Souers told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It speaks well to the coaches in our program and what’s happening in Flagstaff.”

Souers and his staff have the luxury of the Big Sky’s most dangerous air attack in sophomore quarterback Case Cookus and former Mountain Pointe star receiver Emmanuel Butler. The offensive line also features a pair of pre-season All-Conference players in juniors Blake Porter and Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain alum Jacob Julian.

There are more questions on defense. A defense which allowed 35 or more points six times during the ‘Jacks 7-4 campaign last fall.

Souers liked what he saw from this group last spring and is optimistic for improvement.

“I know we return a prolific player in Case Cookus and we return a lot of guys on our offense,” he explained. “Not many people know about our defense but I think we’ll be a better overall team.”

He also understands his team will be the chased instead of the chaser after receiving the preseason accolades this week at the Big Sky Conference Football Kickoff in Park City, Utah.

NAU travels to the Valley to open the season against ASU at new-look Sun Devil Stadium on September 3rd.

 

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.