Talented Dukes look to reload for 2020

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Despite losing a talented and historic senior class, the James Madison football team returns a loaded roster for the 2020 season.

Despite losing a talented and historic senior class, the James Madison football team returns a loaded roster for the 2020 season.

"We have a really strong junior class here too and in recruiting we have a strong brand," said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti. "We are able to attract quality student-athletes and if there's immediate needs, we have pretty good success with transfers so we will have a good team coming back."

Headlining the returners on offense is the entire running back position. Juniors Percy Agyei-Obese and Jawon Hamilton lead a group that also includes freshman Latrele Palmer and redshirt freshman Solomon Vanhorse. Three players with starting experience return along the offensive line led by All-American tackle Liam Fornadel.

The Dukes lose two-year starter Ben DiNucci at quarterback but redshirt junior Cole Johnson and redshirt sophomore Gage Moloney have both played in games during their time with the Dukes.

"I definitely think the people coming up next year, they'll be ready to play," said Agyei-Obese. "They'll be focused, they know what the plan is and they know what JMU is about."

Defensively, JMU loses a number of starters but talent returns up front with starters Mike Greene (junior) and Adeeb Atariwa (redshirt junior) back in the fold along the defensive line. Redshirt junior Wayne Davis, a former Ohio State transfer, returns at the Spur position while redshirt junior D'Angelo Amos (safety) and junior Wesley McCormick are among those with experience in the secondary.

James Madison will also have experience when it comes to special teams. Redshirt junior Ethan Ratke is back at kicker while junior Harry O'Kelly returns as the Dukes' punter.

JMU signed 14 players from its 2020 recruiting class during the early signing period in December 2019.