Dalton Demos didn’t know anything about a professional football league in Germany a few weeks ago, but he’s learning fast.
The former Coastal Carolina quarterback, who completed his college eligibility as a CCU grad student this past season, has signed to play for the Albershausen Crusaders of German Football League 2 and he leaves for his first professional job on Feb. 7.
“There’s plenty I didn’t know that I’ve learned in a hurry in the past month,” Demos said from his home in St. Louis.
His team is located outside Stuttgart and is in the second tier of the three-tier German league. Games begin in March and the postseason goes into September.
Demos, who is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, learned of the GFL through friend and mentor Jim Shelly, who he said he first met at a Nike football camp. Shelly had an acquaintance play in Germany and put Demos in touch with the Albershausen general manager.
Demos said he’ll be paid monthly in Euros, and the team provides lodging, a car and a phone. He’ll practice two or three times per week and play on weekends, and plans to get a part-time job.
“It’s like going to college for another season is how I’m kind of viewing it,” Demos said. “I’m hoping to get involved in the culture a little bit, hopefully learn some German and have a good time. It’s going to be a great experience.”
GFL2 teams are limited to two imported players on the field at one time, so Dalton said the Crusaders have another American running back and a pair of American defensive players.
Dalton played in seven games this past season and was used predominantly as a running quarterback. He gained 103 yards and scored three touchdowns on 30 carries and completed three of 11 passes for 27 yards with an interception.
He played a large role in the team's first over a Football Bowl Championship program, scoring Coastal's first two touchdowns and gaining 28 yards on seven carries in the season-opening win over Massachusetts.
“I didn’t really get that much playing time at Coastal Carolina,” Demos said. “I was a role player, and I loved my experience. But I’ll get to showcase my skills and if I have a good year maybe I’ll get to GFL1 next year and maybe Canada. We’ll see how it goes. I’m definitely excited.”
Demos spent two years as a quarterback at CCU, playing sparingly in 13 games as a redshirt freshman before transferring to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas for what he hoped would eventually be a better opportunity.
He transferred to Northern Iowa, but a torn ACL in his left knee at Hutchinson was the start of injuries that limited his career, and he returned to CCU as a grad student after receiving a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
Demos was one of the top-ranked passers in Missouri in 2011 after throwing for 2,764 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis.
Football adds lineman
Coastal Carolina has signed an offensive lineman who is transferring from the University of Michigan and is immediately eligible to play.
Sean Fitzgerald of Mount Pleasant, Mich., who is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, redshirted as a true freshman this past fall and will have four years of eligibility remaining.
Fitzgerald was named the Wolverines Scout Team Player of the Week once. During his high school career, he was selected to play in the Blue-Gray All-American Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., and was tabbed the 2016 Player of the Year by the Morning Sun newspaper in Alma, Mich.
He was twice named All-State by the Detroit News (2015 and 2016), was a four-year Honor Roll member and four-time Academic All-Saginaw Valley Team member.
He is the 19th player to sign with CCU since the early signing period began Dec. 20. The Chants finished the 2017 season with the youngest offensive line in the nation with four freshman and a sophomore starting.
Saddled with a five-game losing streak entering this week’s two-game Sun Belt Conference road trip in Alabama, the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team is searching for answers.
After opening Sun Belt play with a resounding 25-point win over preseason conference favorite Texas-Arlington, the Chants (7-12) have dropped five straight to Texas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia Southern and Georgia State to fall to 1-5 in the conference, the final four losses all by double digits.
“There are some things we’ve got to get better on,” senior guard Jaylen Shaw said. “We’ve got to stop turning the ball over and just be a little stronger on defense, but that’s stuff that can be fixed. We’ve got enough time to turn this thing around and win some games.”
The most glaring shortcoming for the Chants during their losing streak has been an inability to shoot from long range.
The Chants have hit just 25.5 percent of their three-point attempts in the past five games, going 28 for 110, while opponents are shooting 41.6 percent on 3-pointers while hitting 47 of 113 shots to outscore the Chants by 57 points from behind the arc despite taking just three more 3-pointers.
Early in the season, it appeared outside shooting would be one of the main ways Coastal would be competitive in the conference. Six players who have either started or played significant minutes showed the ability to knock down 3-pointers in Shaw, Artur Labinowicz, Zac Cuthbertson, Ajay Sanders, Demario Beck and Matt Lindsey of North Myrtle Beach.
Coastal was a combined 20 of 44 on 3-pointers (45.5 percent) in close losses to Wake Forest and South Carolina just before conference play.
But over the past seven games, the Chants have gone a woeful 1 for 16 against College of Charleston, 1 for 17 against Texas State and 2 for 19 against Georgia Southern – all losses.
“We can’t depend on offense to win games,” Shaw said. “Our shots, sometimes they fall sometimes they don’t. We just have to pick it up on defense, try to get some easy ones, some steals, some leak outs, easy layups, and just turn it up on defense a little bit. We can’t hang our heads when we’re not making shots.”
Labinowicz was 6 for 12 from three-point range in the most recent loss Saturday against Georgia State, but his teammates were 1 for 10.
Turnovers have also hurt the Chants, as they have committed more turnovers than their opponents in four consecutive games and are averaging 16.8 turnovers during the losing streak and 15.3 turnovers per game on the season. They have turned opponents over 12.9 times per game.
“We’re not doing anything to help ourselves … and it’s becoming a broken record,” Coastal coach Cliff Ellis said. “If we continue to do that it’s going to be a struggle. Right now the psyche is not where it needs to be with regards to confidence. We’ve got to make some shots. We’ve got to pull ourselves out of it.
“Sooner or later, somewhere down the line, those shots that fell somewhere back when have got to start coming. We’re just having atrocious shooting nights and we’re turning the ball over too much, period.”
While the men have struggled, the CCU women’s team (10-7) has won all four of its conference home games to sit at 4-2 in the Sun Belt, which is tied for fourth going into play this weekend. The CCU men and women are at South Alabama on Thursday and Troy on Saturday.
A long jump title
The Coastal Carolina men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams opened the season this past weekend in the ETSU Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn., and junior Kelsey Briggs won the women’s long jump with a distance that ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. this season.
Briggs, of Blythewood, landed a distance of 5.83 meters (19 feet, 1.5 inches) to earn her meet title. Other CCU finishers included Anacia Hines taking fifth in the women’s 60 meter hurdles in a time of 9.01, and Tiffany Harris finishing fourth in the women’s 400 meters in 59.21.
The Chants are back on the track Friday and Saturday at the Keydet Invitational in Lexington, Va.