Had my first chance to talk to Citadel football coach Kevin Higgins and QB Ben Dupree about the loss of All-America center Mike Sellers. My report:
The relationship between Citadel football players Ben Dupree and Mike Sellers went beyond the typical quarterback-center thing. The duo came in to together as freshmen, and endured the rigors of knob year off the field and a couple of losing seasons on it as the Bulldogs made the transition to the option offense.
After last year’s breakthrough 7-4 season, the friends were prepared to reap the rewards of their senior seasons in 2013, Dupree as the starting quarterback and Sellers as an All-American center.
Those plans came to an end last week as the Bulldogs began spring practice without Sellers, who has resigned from the Corps of Cadets after being accused of a academic violation of the military school’s honor code.
It was a blow that the team was coming to grips with as the Bulldogs held their third practice of the spring Thursday.
“Everyone is handling it fine,” Dupree said. “At first, it was a big shock. But we’re both ready to move on. Mike is ready to move on, too, so everything will be all right.”
Sellers, a 6-0, 290-pounder from Fort Dorchester High School, won the Jacobs Blocking Award as the top offensive lineman in the Southern Conference last season. He could transfer to another school to complete his education and play one more season of football.
“He’s doing fine,” Dupree said of Sellers. “He’s thinking about where to go to school next. He said a couple of schools already have contacted him, so that’s good.”
Meanwhile, coach Kevin Higgins said sophomore Sam Frye (5-10, 270) and redshirt freshman Harrison Davis (6-2, 265) are the next men up at center. Frye was Sellers’ backup last year while Davis redshirted and played guard and tackle on the scout team.
“Harrison and Sam will both have an opportunity to battle for that spot,” Higgins said. “But we have five fifth-year seniors coming back up front, so we’re excited about that.”
Dupree said the team will recover from the loss.
“We have no choice but to recover from it,” he said. “It’s Division I football, and we’ve got guys who were backing up Mike. We’ll be ready.”