Hebron happy with new team, new position on Hornets’ D line

DOVER — So many things have changed in the past year for Caleb Hebron.

He has a new school and a new position on the football field.

It’s only preseason camp, but so far that transition has gone better than any could have expected.

Hebron has been a standout player in Delaware State’s opening week of preseason football camp. He transferred to the Hornets from Towson University, where he was a tight end for two years.

Hebron has been shifted to defensive line and has already established himself as a starter for the Hornets.

“He has been a difference maker already,” said DSU coach Kenny Carter. “He has such a love for the game and he goes about his business the right way. Sometimes you need to have a change of venue to really find your niche. Luckily for us, maybe that’s what’s happened for him.”

Hebron wanted to make the switch to defensive line, which is why he decided to look for a change of scenery.

He had a connection to Delaware State through his stepfather. Once he was on the phone with Carter, he was sold.

“From the first phone call I had a gut feeling this is where I should be,” Hebron said. “I think it’s where I could have the most success and it was a real welcoming place. Now that I’m here, I was right in everything I thought.”

Hebron sat out last season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

It gave him some time to relearn playing on the defensive line, where he had not played since high school.

“There’s so many technical things you have to learn when you get to college,” Hebron said. “In high school you’re normally just the biggest and fastest guy so it’s a lot easier. Every day I’m working on new things to try to improve myself.”

There’s been a lot of new things in his life over the last year, but Hebron, who will turn 21 before the start of the season, is fully settled in at Delaware State.

“It’s definitely a transition,” Hebron said. “But it’s been a good one for me. The guys are great and the coaches are great. I feel more comfortable with the position and it’s something I want to do. I believe we have the potential to do something really special.”

His presence is a welcoming addition to the defensive front. It’s no secret how much that unit struggled last season as it had to replace Gabe Sherrod, an All-MEAC performer who transferred to Michigan State for his senior year in 2016.

The younger players took their lumps last year and Carter thinks the defensive line is poised for a breakout season.

Hebron strengthens a unit which includes Jacob Jones (6-foot-4, 300 pounds), who switched over to defensive line and will play nose guard after being an offensive lineman for his first two years at DSU.

Then there’s Ulises De Los Santos (6-foot-4, 300 pounds), who will join Hebron at defensive end in the Hornets’ 3-4 system. De Los Santos joined the Hornets midway through the season last year. De Los Santos has also been singled out for his play early in camp.

“I love these guys,” Carter said. “Caleb has been fantastic. Ulysses wasn’t what we expected him to be last year but now he’s the Uly that we recruited. When you got two five-techniques that can bench 400 pounds, that’s what you want. We haven’t had that. Now we got that.”

Hebron also sees what Carter sees.

“Just based off what I’ve seen I can see we can be special,” Hebron said. “We have to win in the trenches before we win anywhere else. We’re all hard-working guys who love the game and we want to be great.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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