CSU defense stands out in annual spring game

Jim Killian/Special to The Post and Courier Charleston Southern held its annual Blue and White spring football game on Saturday.

Charleston Southern’s defense stood out for a second straight week at the Bucs’ annual Blue-White spring football game on Saturday at Buccaneer Field.

An Alan Barnwell 22-yard touchdown run and a David Kennedy 44-yard field goal provided the offensive in a contest played in blustery conditions.

CSU’s defense registered double-digit sacks and tackles-for-loss. A young defensive line performed well. Rising sophomore Anthony Ellis notched a team-high three tackles-for-loss, while Caleb Batchelor and Khalil Coward each tallied two sacks.

Safety Corbin Jackson finished with a team-high six tackles, and also picked off a Kyle Copeland pass and returned it 30 yards down the sideline.

CSU coach Jamey Chadwell has been pleased with the growth made by the Bucs in his third spring as head coach. Chadwell’s squad will wrap up spring practice this week with sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Our defense bowed up when they needed to. Some of our young guys up front are doing really good things, and we’re excited about the growth we’ve made there.”

Barnwell, a transfer from Charlotte and Coffeyville Junior College, stood out at tailback. He rushed for 44 yards on five attempts and busted a 22-yard run up the middle for the only touchdown of the morning.

At quarterback, Austin Brown hit on 7-of-9 passes for 58 yards in difficult throwing conditions. Copeland and Danny Croghan III each moved the offense at times as well. Croghan made an off-balance throw on one drive to find Thad Thompson for 14 yards and a first down. Copeland looked downfield on several occasions, and provided one of the highlights of his afternoon with a 13-yard third down connection to Chris Jenkins.

“There’s been some good competition at quarterback pretty consistently these last few weeks,” Chadwell said. “Austin has solidified himself as the starter going into the summer. Kyle’s made some progress there coming back off his redshirt year and Danny’s getting over the mental part of his injury so we feel good about the quarterback position. We have some experience there now in that everyone’s been in the system for at least a year, which is something we haven’t had before.”

CSU’s defense gave up less than yards a play and forced two turnovers in total. Chadwell, defensive coordinator Chad Staggs and the entire defensive staff have been encouraged by the plays made by underclassmen in the spring, particularly on the defensive line.

“Mike Taylor has done really well, and Noah Oliver has stepped up his game here the last week or so and you can tell he’s starting to get it,” Chadwell said. “I think we’re gonna see Anthony Ellis take over a leadership role and really have the potential to take off as a top player on our defensive line. We’re excited about the youth we have there and the progress they’ve made in the last month.”