Three new starters will make up the secondary with only strong safety Johnny Brown returning.
There is precious little starting experience in the back four, but there is game experience. Senior Jeremy McGee and junior Marcus Temple will go into camp as the No. 1 cornerbacks.
McGee drew two starts last season. He broke up three passes, picked off another and showed good form in the open field with 17 solo tackles.
Temple drew two starts last year, both when the defense opened up in a nickel package. He was part of the fourth-down stop heard round the college football world two years ago when he made initial contact against Tim Tebow on Florida’s last offensive snap in the Rebels’ 31-30 win.
The guy to watch here is redshirt freshman Charles Sawyer, who is currently listed as Temple’s backup. He’s 5-10, 172 and extremely athletic. He looked like a feast or famine guy in the spring. He made big plays and was burned too, but that often coincides with youth.
Brown will be the leader in what will be a rotation of three safeties which will include senior Fon Ingram and junior college transfer Damien Jackson.
Brown, a senior, has appeared in 37 games with 19 starts. Ingram has appeared in 32 games and has turned in big plays, like his interception at Arkansas two years ago and the one he returned for a touchdown last year at Memphis to change the tone in the season opener.
Jackson was a highly sought junior college player at Gulf Coast and seemed to pick up on things quickly in the spring. He’s a hard hitter with good cover skills.
All three safeties will learn both the strong and free positions.
Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal