Unit analysis: Secondary

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Football

The Bulls had a very young secondary last season. At one point against UCF, the Bulls had 4 freshmen in the secondary showing the confidence in the coaching staff to go with such young players at such critical positions. Let’s take a look at the young secondary and see how they stack up entering the season. 2013 roster:

Mark Joyce/JaQuez Jenkins – Safety – Both were dismissed from the program before the year ended

Chris Bivins – 5’11” 175 lbs. – Sophomore

Hassan Childs – 6′ 169 lbs. – Freshman

Kenneth Durden – 6′ 173 lbs. – Redshirt sophomore

Nate Godwin – 5’10” 196 lbs. – Freshman

Trevon Griffin – 6′ 202 lbs. – Redshirt junior

Tommie Hankerson – 5’9″ 196 lbs. – Junior

Fidel Montgomery – 6′ 185 lbs. – Senior

Mark Oliver – 5’9″ 180 lbs. – Junior

Tyler Robb – 5’10” 192 lbs. – Redshirt sophomore

Lamar Robbins – 6’2″ 181 lbs. – Freshman

Torrel Saffold – 5’11” 163 lbs. – Junior

Brandon Salinas – 5’11” 170 lbs. – Senior

Jalen Spencer – 6′ 178 lbs. – Redshirt freshman

Johnny Ward – 6′ 163 lbs. – Freshman

The secondary came up big last season. Kenneth Durden and Brandon Salinas became the starting corners, but freshmen like Johnny Ward and Lamar Robbins saw a lot of playing time as the year went on. At safety, Nate Godwin and Hassan Childs rose up to take over the starting jobs (Mark Joyce and JaQuez Jenkins were dismissed) and played well despite their young age. There were growing pains, but they played well and showed what the secondary could be in the future. Here is the depth chart at the end of the year:

CB: Durden/Ward

CB: Salinas/Robbins

S: Childs/Saffold

S: Godwin/Montgomery

At the end of the year, the Bulls lost several players, here is what left the team:

Mark Joyce – Graduated/Dismissed

JaQuez Jenkins – Graduated/Dismissed

Chris Bivins – Transferred

Tommie Hankerson – Left the team

Fidel Montgomery – Graduated

Mark Oliver – Left the team

Brandon Salinas – Graduated

With that, here is the returning roster for the 2014 season:

Devin Abraham – 5’9″ 175 lbs. – Freshman – Part of 2014 recruiting class

Deatrick Nichols – 5’10” 192 lbs. – Freshman – Part of the 2014 recruiting class

Jamie Byrd – 5’11” 183 lbs. – Junior – Part of the 2014 recruiting class

Hassan Childs – 6′ 181 lbs. – Sophomore

Nate Godwin – 5’10” 197 lbs. – Sophomore

Trevon Griffin – 6′ 212 lbs. – Junior

Tyler Robb – 5’10” 205 lbs. – Junior

Lamar Robbins – 6’2″ 194 lbs. – Sophomore

Jalen Spencer – 6′ 183 lbs. – Sophomore

Here are the incoming recruits of the 2014 class that will be joining the mix in the fall:

Tajee Fullwood – 6’2″ 180 lbs. – 3-stars (could be moved to wide receiver)

Kendall Sawyer – 5’11” 173 lbs. – 3-stars

Mazzi Wilkins – 6′ 158 lbs. – 3-stars

The secondary is very young, but is full of talent and will prove to be a very interesting unit entering the season. At corner, Johnny Ward should be pushing for a full time starting job but others like Nichols, Abraham, and the highly talented Lamar Robbins (who could be a safety) will be pushing for him for a starting job. At the other corner spot, it is wide open after Kenneth Durden decided to transfer out before the start of the year. Again, Robbins, Nichols, Abraham, or even a young player like Sawyer could have a chance to push for a starting job to start the season.  At the safety positions, the Bulls return their two starters from last year, the two starters took over for Jenkins and Joyce during the year. Nate Godwin emerged as a rising star and Hassan Childs showed his ballhawking skills. Torrel Saffold is another skilled player that will push for playing time. Newcomer Jamie Byrd is another player that will push for a starting job due to his ability to fly to the ball and lay down hits.

Here is my projected depth chart for the 2014 season:

CB: Ward/Nichols or Abraham

CB: Robbins/Nichols

S: Godwin/Griffin

S: Childs or Byrd

Grade: B. Noticed a trend? No one is rated over a B in the grades of the unit and the secondary is right there with them based on the youth at the position and the hole left behind after Durden left (lot of young and inexperienced players coming for that position). There are also questions at the safety position with the depth behind the starters and who will be the starters. Trust me, the unit is loaded with a lot of talent, in fact, it could be the most talented unit on the field (at least on paper). Will it all come together this fall? We will have to wait and see how it all unfolds coming out of the fall.


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