Jamey Chadwell

Former Charleston Southern coach Jamey Chadwell talks to players after practice in his first year as head coach of the Coastal Carolina football team.

Jamey Chadwell might have been recruiting over his head when he tried to get Hanahan's Sam Denmark to play for him at Charleston Southern.

It was 2015 and Chadwell's team was on its way to winning the Big South Conference and locking down a bid in the FCS playoffs. Meanwhile, Denmark was having a huge senior season at Hanahan High School.

Chadwell wanted Denmark. But dozens of other colleges across the nation also wanted the wide receiver who was ranked a four-star recruit by ESPN Football.

“Yeah, I remember. He wouldn’t give us the time of day back then,” Chadwell joked recently before a morning practice at Coastal Carolina in Conway.

Fast forward four years and Chadwell’s wish has come true, sort of. Chadwell is now the head coach at Coastal Carolina, and Denmark, who spent three years at Virginia Tech before transferring back to his home state, is right there with Chadwell.

After getting limited playing time at Virginia Tech, primarily because of injuries, Denmark is healthy and has two years of college eligibility remaining.

Sam Denmark

Former Hanahan star Sam Denmark is playing for Coastal Carolina after three years at Virginia Tech

He brings invaluable experience gained from game-planning against ACC teams like Clemson and Florida State. And a hunger to play.

“I’m here to compete,” Denmark said. “I think my speed is still a big part of my game, and I learned a lot of skills and fundamentals at Virginia Tech that I can apply here.”

Chadwell is banking on the same thing. Now in his third season at Coastal but first as the full-time head coach, Chadwell is embracing his head coaching duties. He filled in as interim head coach his first year in Conway in 2017. Weeks ahead of the season, then-head coach Joe Moglia took a medical sabbatical, elevating Chadwell from his role as offensive coordinator.

Moglia returned last season, but has officially phased into a different role at Coastal and has turned over the football program to Chadwell.

A month after the announcement in January, Chadwell started bringing in his guys from Charleston Southern to shore up his coaching staff. It made sense for Chadwell, since he and his staff captured two Big South titles during his time in Charleston, which spanned from 2013 to 2016.

“You want people you can trust and who believe in how you do things,” Chadwell said. “You know they have your back because they’re guys who have been with you for a long time.”

The revamped staff is readying for Coastal’s third season of FBS competition as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The Chants went 3-9 in their first season, going 5-7 last fall.

“This is a tough league but our goal is to give ourselves a chance in every game,” Chadwell said. “If we do that and make sure that we’re not beating ourselves, I think we’ll be able to make even more strides toward a Sun Belt championship.

The Chanticleers open the season Saturday at home against Eastern Michigan.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

HEAD COACH: Jamey Chadwell, first season as head coach

LAST YEAR: 5-7 overall (2-6 Sun Belt)

RETURNING STARTERS: Offense 8, Defense 7

IMPACT PLAYERS: DE Tarron Jackson, C Trey Carter,

TE Isaiah Likely

NOTABLE: Heading into their third season in the Sun Belt, Coastal should make strides on offense with the addition of wideout Sam Denmark, a Virginia Tech transfer ... Coastal is also bringing back Isaiah Likely, one of the best tight ends in the conference, and several all-conference players on defense.

Coastal Carolina Schedule

Aug. 31 Eastern Michigan 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 7 at Kansas 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Norfolk State 2 p.m.

Sept. 21 at UMASS 1 p.m.

Sept. 28 at App State 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 12 Georgia State TBA

Oct. 19 at Georgia Southern TBA

Nov. 2 Troy TBA

Nov. 7 Louisiana 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 16 at Arkansas State 3 p.m.

Nov. 23 at ULM 5 p.m.

Nov. 30 Texas State TBA

Benedict College Tigers

HEAD COACH: Mike White, 18-21 in four seasons as head coach

LAST YEAR: 6-3 overall (4-2 SIAC)

RETURNING STARTERS:

Offense 5, Defense 7

IMPACT PLAYERS: CB Traviontae Brown, WR Danye Washington, LB Collins Tensley

NOTABLE: With Mike White the helm of Benedict football, winning has become an expectation. The team is returning some of its best pass-catchers and defenders for the 2019 season, hoping to climb to the top of the SIAC.

Benedict College Schedule

Sept. 7 at Fayetteville State 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Johnson C. Smith 6 p.m.

Sept. 21 Savannah State 6 p.m.

Sept. 28 Fort Valley 3 p.m.

Oct. 12 Miles College 2 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Albany State 2 p.m.

Oct. 26 at Morehouse 2 p.m.

Nov. 2 Clark Atlanta 2 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Lane College 2 p.m.

North Greenville Crusaders

HEAD COACH: Jeff Farrington, 36-31 in seven seasons as head coach

LAST YEAR: 4-6 overall (3-4 Gulf South Conference)

RETURNING STARTERS: Offense 8, Defense 6

IMPACT PLAYERS: WR Lucas Catalfomo, DB Aaron Watson, QB Donny Baker

NOTABLE: After back-to-back 4-6 seasons, North Greenville will look to take a step forward with a new starting quarterback and a few standouts on defense ...  Look for the Crusaders to air the ball out to familiar receivers, while leaning on defensive back Aaron Watson, who led the Gulf South in interceptions a year ago.

North Greenville Schedule

Sept. 5 Newberry College 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 at Western Carolina 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Mississippi College 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 Delta State 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 at West Alabama 2 p.m.

Oct. 12 West Georgia 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Shorter University 1 p.m.

Oct. 26 Valdosta State 4 p.m.

Nov. 2 at West Florida 4 p.m.

Nov. 9 Florida Institute of Technology 1:30 p.m.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry

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