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Position Preview - Defensive Back


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The defensive backs were seen as a strength of the defense last year and that may have been true to an extent. When opposing offenses can run the ball for large gains consistently, they are not going to pass as much. The previous staff brought in some players with potential, but more talented depth was needed. The current staff has done an excellent job addressing some of those issues.

 


(DB)

Kavari Adams - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - NR - Former JUCO. Small defensive back that will likely struggle at the D1 level. Adams may be a competitor, but he lacks the speed and other physical tools to be a consistent contributor. HS FILM

 

Charles Amankwaa - (Senior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Former JUCO. Good athlete with solid ball skills. He reads the flight if the ball well and will go up and get it. Amankwaa is not afraid to tackle and tries to play physical. He has enough speed to keep up with most wide receivers. JUCO FILM

 

Logan Day - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - NR - Former JUCO. Plays the ball well in the air and not afraid to be physical. He probably doesn’t have the ability to play CB and would have to play S. Day may help on special teams. JUCO FILM

 

Dontae Pollard - (Sophomore, Returning) - NR - Smaller DB that possesses enough speed to keep up with most receivers. He plays physical, but will need to add on more mass. Pollard has decent ball skills. HS FILM

 

KJ Martin - (Junior, New) - 3 ️ - Transfer from West Virginia. Another long and rangy defensive back except Martin is a true S. He was mostly a backup at WVU, but did start a handful of games. He’ll provide depth and push for starting minutes. HS FILM

 

Cameron Threatt - (Sophomore, New) - 2 ️ - JUCO transfer via way of Mississippi State. Threatt is a long and rangy defensive back that’ll be able to line up anywhere in the secondary. He’ll provide immediate depth as well as push for a starting position. JUCO FILM

 

Nate Thompson - (Redshirt Junior, New) - 3 ️ - Transfer from Duke that has some Power 5 starting experience and will push for a starting position. Thompson brings excellent size for a defensive back and flashes solid hands. He will be able to fill in at either safety position and could play the nickel as well. Thompson’s addition provides flexibility and increases the talent level in the secondary. HS FILM

 

Jaden Woods - (Redshirt Sophomore, New) - NR - Transfer from Eastern Kentucky. Woods played cornerback in high school, but is probably better suited as a safety, which he played at Eastern Kentucky. He has excellent leaping ability and plays the ball well in the air. Physical player. HS FILM

 

Davion Jennings - (Freshman, New) - NR - Has a good sized frame to add on more mass. Long arms and played cornerback on high school. Jennings played as physically as he could, but will need to add on more weight. Walk-on?  HS FILM

 

 

(CB)

Tyson Durant - (Sophomore, Returning) - NR - Good athlete with excellent hands. He reads the flight of the ball well and will go up and get it. Durant was also a WR in high school, where he flashed some speed and shiftiness. He should push for playing time this year and will likely be a starting cornerback by the time he graduates. HS FILM

 

Jalen Hooks -  (Senior, Returning) - 3 ️ - Good athlete with excellent height and length. He’s physical and can play anywhere in the secondary. Hooks flashes the ability to play the ball in the air as well as the speed to keep up with most wide receivers. He should be a starter as he’s talented, experienced, and versatile. HS FILM

 

Ronald Jackson Jr. - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Has good height, length, and a knack for punching the ball out. Decent speed, but might be a better fit at safety than corner. Could be a special teams asset. HS FILM

 

Darrian Lewis - (Sophomore,Returning) - 2 ️ - Good athlete that’s a fluid runner and has a nice burst. He reads the ball in the air and will go up and get it. Lewis is physical, a former WR, and has the ability to play anywhere in the secondary. He should provide depth and special teams play this year. HS FILM

 

Chu Ogbonna - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Former JUCO. Has good height and length. Has enough speed to keep up with most receivers, but doesn’t always keep connected. He should provide depth and special teams play. JUCO FILM

 

Devonte Golden-Nelson -  (Sophomore, New) - 3 ️ - Transfer from Memphis. Nelson played in only 4 games while at Memphis, but was a coveted defensive back coming out of high school. He has long arms, flips his hips well, and is excellent at getting his hand in to break up the pass. Nelson has the burst to cover ground quickly if he gets disconnected from his man. He will also come down hill and hit as he displays plenty of physicality. HS FILM

 

 

(S)

Sean Conroy - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - NR - Former JUCO. Plays like a linebacker in the way he comes downhill to hit. Excellent hand-eye coordination. Conroy could provide depth and would be a perfect fit on special teams. HS FILM

 

Adetutu Daranijo - (Junior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Not afraid to be physical. He reads the flight of the ball well and has decent speed. Daranjio should contribute on special teams. HS FILM

 

Rishad Hence - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - He’s not afraid to be physical, but will need to add more mass. Hence is unlikely to make many interceptions in his career, but is excellent at breaking up the pass. HS FILM

 

MyJaden Horton - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Good athlete with size and length. He mostly played QB in high school until his senior year. Horton has the athletic ability to be successful, but there’s always an adjustment going from high school to college, coupled with learning the nuances of a fairly new position. HS FILM

 

DiMarco Johnson - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Good athlete with size and length. He’ll go up and get the ball, is able to cover a large portion of the field, and displays excellent hand-eye coordination. Johnson was coached well in high school, playing for one of the premier programs in South Carolina. He’s the perfect fit for free safety (or field safety) and should push for starter minutes. HS FILM

 

Jaylen Kelly-Powell - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - 3 ️ - Former transfer from Michigan. Good athlete that can play anywhere in the secondary. He was highly recruited coming out of high school but hasn’t lived up to his potential. JKP will give Tim Tibesar plenty of flexibility of where to line him up and use him most effectively. HS FILM

 

Joe Malchesky - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - May grow into a linebacker. He’s a strong, physical player that reads the ball well, but foot speed could be a concern at D1. Malchesky might help on special teams. HS FILM

 

Noel Roach - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Long, rangy, athlete that can cover a lot of ground. He flashes excellent hand-eye coordination and will go up and get the ball. Roach has all the physical characteristics to be a starter by the time he graduates. HS FILM

 



More Power 5 players have been added to the depth chart since last year ended and strong pass rush would do wonders for our defensive backs. There is now some flexibility and depth, but I suspect not all players who saw action in 2021 will see meaningful minutes in 2022. 

 

 

My best guess as to who is on scholarship:

Cam Threatt

KJ Martin

Rishad Hence

Noel Roach

Darrian Lewis

DiMarco Johnson

Ronald Jackson

Charles Amankwaa

MyJaden Horton

Chu Ogbonna

Jaylen Kelly-Powell

Adetutu Daranijo

Jalen Hooks

Tyson Durant

Nate Thompson

Devonte Golden-Nelson

 

 

 

Added:

Davion Jennings

Jaden Woods

Devonte Golden-Nelson

Nate Thompson

 

Removed:

Randy Cochran Jr.

Nasari Jackson

Quentin Woodall

Woobendy Guerrier 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by catdaddyp
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On 4/8/2022 at 4:28 PM, catdaddyp said:

Last position group I’ll cover. (I apologize to anyone who may have wanted material about the kickers and punters). 

 

 

Kavari Adams - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Small defensive back that will likely struggle at the D1 level. Adams may be a competitor, but he lacks the speed and other physical tools to be a consistent contributor.

 

Charles Amankwaa - (Senior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Good athlete with solid ball skills. He reads the flight if the ball well and will go up and get it. Amankwaa is not afraid to tackle and tries to play physical. He has enough speed to keep up with most wide receivers.

 

Logan Day - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Plays the ball well in the air and not afraid to be physical. He doesn’t have the ability to play CB and would have to play S. Day may help on special teams.

 

Dontae Pollard - (Sophomore, Returning) - Smaller DB that possesses enough speed to keep up with most receivers. He plays physical, but will need to add on more mass. Pollard has decent ball skills.

 

Randy Cochran Jr. - (Junior, Returning) - Cornerback with good size. He doesn’t have elite speed, but enough to keep up with most receivers. Cochran does a good job with hand fighting and locating the ball. He isn’t likely to have many interceptions over his career, but he does a nice job of getting his hand in and breaking up the pass.

 

Tyson Durant - (Sophomore, Returning) - Good athlete with excellent hands. He reads the flight of the ball well and will go up and get it. Durant was also a WR in high school, where he flashed some speed and shiftiness. He should push for playing time this year and will likely be a starting cornerback by the time he graduates.

 

Jalen Hooks -  (Senior, Returning) -  Good athlete with excellent height and length. He’s physical and can play anywhere in the secondary. Hooks flashes the ability to play the ball in the air as well as the speed to keep up with most wide receivers. He should be a starter as he’s talented, experienced, and versatile. 

 

Ronald Jackson Jr. - (Sophomore, Returning) - Has good height and length and a knack for punching the ball out. Decent speed, but might be a better fit at safety than corner. Could be a special teams asset.

 

Darrian Lewis - (Sophomore,Returning) - Good athlete that’s a fluid runner and has a nice burst. He reads the ball in the air and will go up and get it. Lewis is physical, a former WR, and has the ability to play anywhere in the secondary. He should provide depth and special teams play this year.

 

Chu Ogbonna - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Has good height and length. Has enough speed to keep up with most receivers, but doesn’t always keep connected. He should provide depth and special teams play.

 

Quentin Woodall - (Senior, Returning) - Former JUCO. May be the fastest player in the secondary. His technique isn’t great, but he’s an athlete and can run. He could provide depth at any spot in the secondary and play on special teams.

 

Cameron Threatt - (Sophomore, New) - JUCO transfer via way of Mississippi State. Threatt is a long and rangy defensive back that’ll be able to line up anywhere in the secondary. He’ll provide immediate depth as well as push for a starting position.

 

KJ Martin - (Junior, New) - Transfer from West Virginia. Another long and rangy defensive back except Martin is a true S. He was mostly a backup at WVU, but did start a handful of games. Martin is excellent when coming to help from the weak side, but will need to shore up his tackling technique when facing head on. He’ll provide depth and push for starting minutes.

 

 

S

 

Sean Conroy - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Plays like a linebacker in the way he comes downhill to hit. Excellent hand-eye coordination. Conroy could provide depth and would be a perfect fit on special teams.

 

Adetutu Daranijo - (Junior, Returning) - Not afraid to be physical. He reads the flight of the ball well and has decent speed. Daranjio should contribute on special teams.

 

Woobendy Guerrier - (Senior, Returning) - Former JUCO. Good athlete with size, speed, and long arms. He’s very physical and can be explosive when tackling. Guerrier has all the physical characteristics to be a starter and would be a perfect fit at nickel back.

 

Rishad Hence - (Sophomore, Returning) - He’s not afraid to be physical, but will need to add more mass. Hence is unlikely to make many interceptions in his career, but is excellent at breaking the pass up. 

 

MyJaden Horton - (Sophomore, Returning) - Good athlete with size and length. He mostly played QB in high school until his senior year. Horton has the athletic ability to be successful, but there’s always an adjustment going from high school to college, coupled with learning the nuances of a fairly new position. 

 

Nasari Jackson - (Sophomore, Returning) - Decent athlete that plays hard. He might contribute on special teams.

 

DiMarco Johnson - (Sophomore, Returning) - Good athlete with size and length. He’ll go up and get the ball, is able to cover a large portion of the field, and displays excellent hand-eye coordination. Johnson was coached well in high school, playing for one of the premier programs in South Carolina. He’s the perfect fit for free safety (or field safety) and should push for starter minutes.

 

Jaylen Kelly-Powell - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - Former transfer from Michigan. Good athlete that can play anywhere in the secondary. He was highly recruited coming out of high school but hasn’t lived up to his potential. JKP will give Tim Tibesar plenty of flexibility of where to line him up and use him most effectively. JKP should be a starter.

 

Joe Malchesky - (Sophomore, Returning) - May grow into a linebacker. He’s a strong, physical player that reads the ball well, but foot speed could be a concern at D1. Malchesky might help on special teams.

 

Noel Roach - (Sophomore, Returning) - Long, rangy, athlete that can cover a lot of ground. He flashes excellent hand-eye coordination and will go up and get the ball. Roach has all the physical characteristics to be a starter by the time he graduates.

 

Nate Thompson - (Redshirt Senior ?, New) - Transfer from Duke that has some Power 5 starting experience. He brings excellent size for a defensive back and flashes solid hands. He will be able to fill in at either safety position and could play the nickel as well. Thompson’s addition provides flexibility and increases the talent level in the secondary. He’ll push for a starting position and should see plenty of playing time.

 

 

As I write this, it looks like the staff is already in the process of bringing in more Power 5 talent. It’ll be interesting to see what this group looks like by the time the season arrives. There are currently some talented players, but more high quality depth is needed. A strong pass rush would do wonders for our defensive backs and I hope that happens this year.

 

There is some flexibility and depth, but I suspect not all the players we saw in 2021 will see the field in 2022. 

 

 

My best guess as to who is on scholarship:

Cam Threatt

KJ Martin

Rishad Hence

Noel Roach

Darrian Lewis

DiMarco Johnson

Ronald Jackson

Charles Amankwaa

MyJaden Horton

Chu Ogbonna

Woobendy Guerrier

Jaylen Kelly-Powell

Adetutu Daranijo

Randy Cochran

Jalen Hooks

 

 

I’ve enjoyed all the discussion! As the roster officially changes, I’ll go back through and update each position.

 

 

 

Edited with the addition of Nate Thompson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bump for addition of Nate Thompson.

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