Reviewing the units: Secondary

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Football

The secondary had a lot of young players rotating into starting positions this year. It was an up and down season for the unit and the preseason grade is a lot different at the end of the year. Let’s review it all and see where the unit stands at the end of the year and possibly looking at 2015.

Pre-season grade: B. The preseason grade for the unit was a solid B. With two young returning safeties in Nate Godwin and Hassan Childs (started a lot last year), the unit looked strong. Add in Johnny Ward and a rising Lamar Robbins (plus the incoming recruiting class and returning roster) everything looked strong for this group. Chris Dunkley moved to corner during the spring and fall which caught me off guard a bit, but it didn’t change my grade to start the year. So with that said, let’s see how they all did then re-evaluate the grade.

Here are the players and their stats from the 2014 season:

#20 Devin Abraham – 5’9″ 198 lbs. – Freshman – 34 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 PBU, and 1 FF

#13 Tajee Fullwood – 6’2″ 209 lbs. – Freshman – 5 tackles, 1 TFL

#3 Deatrick Nichols – 5’10” 186 lbs. – Freshman – 8 tackles

#11 Kendall Sawyer – 6’1″ 180 lbs. – Freshman – 11 tackles, 1 FF

#23 Mazzi Wilkins – 6′ 182 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#2 Jamie Byrd – 5’11” 184 lbs. – Junior – 95 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 FF

#22 Hassan Childs – 6′ 188 lbs. – Sophomore – 2 tackles

#1 Chris Dunkley – 6′ 188 lbs. – Senior – 26 tackles, 1.5 TFL (1 sack), 5 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR

#25 Cameron Gergley – 6′ 180 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#38 Bruce Gillis – 5’10” 184 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#36 Nate Godwin – 5’10” 202 lbs. – Sophomore – 72 tackles, 1 TFL , 2 PBU, 1 FR

#37 Trevon Griffin – 6′ 204 lbs. – Junior – 6 tackles

#45 Andrew Hill – 5’8″ 197 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#26 Rodney Mills – 5’11” 185 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#39 Tyler Robb – 5’10” 200 lbs. – Junior – 1 tackle

#6 Lamar Robbins – 6’2″ 200 lbs. – Sophomore – 21 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 INT, 2 PBU

#21 Torrel Saffold – 5’11” 177 lbs. – Senior – Appeared in one game, no stats

#30 Jalen Spencer – 6′ 183 lbs. – Sophomore – Appeared in 5 games, no stats

#24 Johnny Ward – 6′ 178 lbs. – Sophomore – 36 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 FF

Final depth chart of the year (in the game against UCF):

CB – Johnny Ward

CB – Lamar Robbins

S – Jamie Byrd

S – Tajee Fullwood

Note that Nate Godwin was a starter during the year and split time with Fullwood late in the season. Chris Dunkley, who had nagging injuries late in the year, was the other starter ahead of Lamar Robbins to start the year.

So by looking at the roster from the 2014 season, one thing is clear, the unit is young! Chris Dunkley and Torrel Saffold are the only two seniors among the group. Most of the unit was comprised of second year players like Godwin, Robbins, Johnny Ward and others. The rest of players that got spot starts or saw their first college game were true freshmen. From top to bottom, the Bulls were a young team that was forced to learn on the field throughout the season. Coach Ron Cooper had to teach the young players on the fly and there were a lot of learning moments. Missed tackles, long pass plays over their heads and missed assignments plagued the unit all year long, but we could see the potential out there. Byrd became a rising star. Nate Godwin continued to prove his talent as a solid starting safety. Ward continued to get better and Robbins saw more playing time. Then the true freshmen like Nichols, Sawyer, Abraham, and Fullwood all step on the field. The unit gave the fans headaches, but there is a solid foundation with this group heading into 2015.

Post-season grade: B-

There are a lot of circumstances for this unit. Coaching, youth, injuries, etc. all factored into them this season. There were good moments, but also bad moments. Can this unit get a lot better in 2015? Of course they can. The talent is there, it was just tested and taught under fire throughout the course of the season. They will improve from this and moving forward, they will only get stronger from these experiences.

 

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