NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State offense soared to new heights in 2016 as they became the top scoring unit in the Ohio Valley Conference. The offense generated five OVC All-Conference selections, which included lineman Jessamen Dunker and Kevin Kenton, wide receivers Patrick Smith and Steven Newbold, along with receiver and return specialist Chris Rowland. Dunker was named to several First Team All-American teams, including Associated Press, while Newbold and Rowland were named HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-Americans.
The Tiger attack made the jump in just the second season under the direction of offensive coordinator Jeff Parker. The 1994 graduate of Bethune-Cookman enters his eighth season with TSU, beginning as the quarterback coach in the spring of 2010. In just two seasons he was named assistant head coach, before taking over the reins of the offense in 2015.
The Big Blue looks to continue its growth on the offensive side of the ball as they bring back a majority of the coaching staff from a season ago. Russ Ehrenfeld and Antonio Bradford return as the mentors for the front line and tight ends. Kevin Mashack moves from his duties with the wide receivers to handle the running backs, making way for Chris Chestnut who moves over from the defensive side. Chestnut held the quality control position in 2016.
Ehrenfeld, in his eighth season of his third stint at TSU, continued to produce a quality line with the help of Bradford. Ehrenfeld has helped numerous Tigers move on to the professional level, including Dunker who signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants, Kenton was invited to the New York Jets rookie mini-camp.
Bradford, entering his third season, has handled the tight ends and works with the tackles. Under Bradford, Mahlon Medley has emerged as a threat at the tight end position. Medley finished fourth on the team in receptions behind Smith, Newbold and Rowland. Chad Jenkins brings support to Bradford with the tight ends.
After working with the high flying receivers, Mashack will turn his sights on a young running backs unit. The veteran is senior fullback Terence Harris II who is joined in the backfield by six sophomores and two freshmen.
Chestnut moves into a position where he gets to try and expand the knowledge and abilities of three All-Americans, talented returners Mazio Rhodes and Ronnie Killings, as well as transfer DeVon Johnson. Chestnut will receive help from Isaiah Freeman, who finished his career as a receiver with the Tigers in 2015.
|COACHES - OFFENSE||Position||Years at TSU|
|Jeff Parker||Offensive Coordiantor / Quarterbacks||8|
|Russ Ehrenfeld||Offensive Line||6|
|Antonio Bradford||Tight Ends / Tackles||3|
|Kevin Mashack||Running Backs / Recruiting Coordinator||3|
|Chris Chestnut||Wide Receivers||1|
|Chad Jenkins||Quality Control - Offense||1|
|Isaiah Freeman||Graduate Assistant||2|