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Tulane Players to Watch

Which players should you keep an eye on this Thursday?

NCAA Football: Tulane at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a new season and that means it’s time to get you ready for the upcoming games by telling you which of the opposition’s players you should be expecting to have an impact on the game. This year I figured I would add something new, so the beginning of each article will be a quick 1 or 2 lines on how the previous players to watch performed against the Deacs. Keep in mind that the first week is always a little tougher because no one has played yet.

Offense: Dontrell Hilliard, Jr. Running Back

Last season, Hilliard led the Green Wave in rushing with 115 attempts for 646 yards and 6 TDs. At 5.6 yards per carry, he is Tulane’s biggest threat on the offensive side of the ball. With the Green Wave having a group of quarterbacks that have never attempted a pass in a college game, I think Tulane is likely to rely heavily on Hilliard this season, especially early in the year while their QBs gain some much needed experience. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hilliard ended the game on Thursday with around 20 attempts running the ball.

Defense: Tanzel Smart, Sr. Defensive Tackle

One of the biggest questions for the Deacs this season is whether or not they will finally be able to run the football. Standing in the way of a successful ground attack on Thursday night will be the 6-1, 305lb Tanzel Smart. Smart finished last season with 58 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks on his way to picking up 1st team All-AAC honors. I would suspect that Smart will likely be double teamed on several plays this Thursday, especially when the Deacs are trying to run the ball. The O-line will have an early test this season with Smart, which should show Wake Forest fans exactly what to expect from them this year.