(STATS) - Gardner-Webb coaches are confident their team will contend this year for the Big South Conference championship which they last won in 2003.
But their offense will be asked to get the job done without last year's No. 1 running back, Khalil Lewis, who was dismissed from the program this offseason because of multiple violations of team rules.
In 10 games as a sophomore last season, the 5-foot-10, 215-pound native of Hilton Head, South Carolina, rushed for 955 yards and a Big South-leading 14 touchdowns on 182 carries.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (5-6, 3-2 Big South) have suitable replacements at running back. Sophomore Jaylin Cagle started the final two games last season and was impressive in that brief stint. There is also senior Kerry Bernard and juniors Jonathan Blackmon and Elijah Perry.
Gardner-Webb's season begins Sept. 2 when it hosts North Carolina A&T.