FLAGSTAFF – The Northern Arizona University football team will kick off the 2019 spring practice schedule on Tuesday, March 26.
For the first time, NAU will hold its annual spring game on a Friday – which will be billed as Friday Night Lights: NAU Football Spring Showcase. The game is scheduled for Friday, April 26 at 6 p.m. at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome. Admission is free for all fans. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
The NAU Spring Football Showcase will also air live on the Lumberjack Radio Network and televised on Your Phoenix CW, with the voice of the Lumberjacks Mitch Strohman on the call.
In addition, the Lumberjacks will make an appearance in the Phoenix metro area on Saturday, April 13 for a full-contact scrimmage at Chandler High School beginning at 1 p.m. MST. Admission will be free for all fans.
Each of the 15 spring practices are open to the public and will be held at the outdoor practice field(s) adjacent to the Skydome. During inclement weather practice will be held inside the Skydome.
The Lumberjacks will be led by head coach Chris Ball, who was officially hired in December after serving three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Memphis. Ball is joined by a total of six new members to the NAU coaching staff.
The Lumberjacks return a total of eight starters on offense and nine defensively from last season’s squad that finished 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Big Sky.
Included in the returners is quarterback Case Cookus, who boasts 7,968 passing yards and 74 touchdowns in his career.
Cookus will enter the 2019 campaign over halfway to the FCS record of 140 scoring passes, currently held by Grambling State’s Bruce Eugene (2001-05). His 74 passing TDs currently ranks as the third-highest total in Lumberjack history and are 20 shy of tying the program’s all-time leader Jason Murrietta’s total of 94 (2003-06).
The top returning target for Cookus this season is sophomore Brandon Porter, who hauled in 28 receptions for 325 yards and a touchdown in 2018. Porter also saw time at quarterback last season where he was a major threat on the ground totaling 432 rushing yards. Junior Chancellor Brewington also returns after registering 246 yards and a touchdown on 23 catches.
NAU also returns one of its leading rushers from last season in senior Joe Logan. Logan ranked second on the squad with 437 yards on the ground and five scores. He also hauled in 13 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the ‘Jacks return second-leading tackler Tristen Vance, who racked up 73 stops at linebacker in 2018. Senior defensive linemen Jalen Goss and Aaron Andrews are each back after both compiled a team-best 10.0 tackles for loss last season. Goss tallied 40 total tackles and a pair of sacks, while Andrews recorded 37 stops and four sacks.
Senior Khalil Dorsey returns for the ‘Jacks in the secondary after nabbing three interceptions as a junior and tying for the team lead with six pass breakups.
The ‘Jacks open the 2019 season at home in a special Thursday night clash on August 29 vs. Missouri State at the Skydome.
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