ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University football program enters its season with renewed optimism and excitement under first year head coach J.T. Zimmerman. Zimmerman takes the reins as the team's new head coach after spending the previous four seasons as Rockford's defensive coordinator. The Regents appear to be poised to take another step forward this season, with an excellent group of returners and a solid incoming class comprising this year's roster.
- Rockford continued to make tremendous strides on the field this past season.
- The Regents tied for their most overall wins and NACC wins in season since Rockford joined the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in 2008.
- Rockford also defeated both four-time defending NACC Champion Lakeland University and Concordia University Wisconsin for the first time in program history.
- The Regents' 24-0 home win over Concordia University Wisconsin was their first shutout victory since November 8, 2008.
- Rockford returns multiple all-conference players and others who appear to be on the verge of a breakout season.
- Senior tight end Adam Ambrogio is expected to provide both leadership and experience on the offensive side of the ball, after being named First Team All-NACC each of the last two years. Ambrogio led all NACC tight ends last year in receptions (34), receiving yards (358) and touchdowns (5). He was also a key factor in Rockford posting its second highest rushing total since joining the NACC.
- Senior defensive back Dylan Peterson will be looked at to lead the Regents' defense after being voted both First Team All-NACC and Third Team All-North Region. Peterson led Rockford with three interceptions, tallied a career-high 42 tackles, including 29 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. His best performance came in week nine when he had two interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and four tackles in Rockford's 24-0 win over Concordia Wisconsin. He was rewarded for his efforts by being tabbed the NACC Football Defensive Player of the Week and being named as a safety on the D3football.com Team of the Week.
- Junior Linebacker Jallen Bashford is back following his NACC Honorable Mention selection last year. Bashford will be expected to help anchor the RU linebacking corps after an excellent 2018 season, where he finished in the top 10 in the NACC in assisted tackles (43), total tackles (85) and solo tackles (42).
- Junior running back LaVar Johnson Jr. should see an increased workload in the backfield following productive freshman and sophomore seasons. Johnson's best game last year came against MacMurray, when he carried the ball 17 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Regents have also brought in a talented recruiting class that features multiple individuals who should be able to step in and make an impact.
- Transfer defensive lineman Anthony Miranda joins Rockford after being named all-conference at Vermillion University. Miranda was also named both offensive player of the year and outstanding player of the year during his high school career.
- Running back Chris Hammonds will help bolster an already solid RU backfield. Hammonds comes to Rockford following one season at Monmouth and was also named First Team All-State in high school.
- Freshman offensive lineman Jaden Saulter will add depth and strength to the Regents' offensive front. Saulter brings a winning attitude with him after capturing a state championship in high school.
"We have a great mix of returners and newcomers on the team this season," Coach Zimmerman stated. "Our guys have come to practice and approached everything that we have done up to this point with more energy and enthusiasm than I have seen during my time here at Rockford. Everyone has worked really hard and is ready to get out there and show that we can compete in the league not only this season but moving forward as well."
The Rockford University football team opens its season on Saturday, September 7 at MacMurray College. Kickoff is set for 2:00 PM.