Posted In: College Football Source by: Michael Cova
FEB. 15, 2015 / 6:35 PM - Courtesy Photo
The Roadrunners head into the Spring season with plenty of new faces on the team. After looking at the roster and new players joining the team this year, here is my view of who should be listed on the 2-3 Deep Roster on the defensive side of the ball for the coming 2015 spring season.
On defense, I feel that the first players listed at each position, will be the starter for that position. Those listed behind should see some playing time during the season and many will contribute on special teams. Overall a bunch of great new athletes that will move into the openings left by last year's large graduating class. Here are my projections.
RoadrunnerNation.Com's Defensive Projections:
DT Brian Price 6'3'' 310 Sr.
Jason Neill 6'2'' 260 Sr.
Jonathan Tuiolosega 6'1' 290 Jr.
DT Vontrell King-Williams 6'2'' 325 Jr.
Ubabuike Kennedy 6'2'' 280 Sr.
This mix of DT's should be a solid group in rotation. Getting King-Williams was huge for the defense. King-Williams lined up next to Brian Price this tandem should make them one of the best in the Conference. Neill is listed at DT. I really liked him at DE but if he gains weight in the off-season, this could be a good move for him. Listed at 260 Neil would do himself good to add 15-20 to play DT at this level and the next. Potential NFL player if he keeps his speed. If Neill doesn't add weight then look for Neil to help out at the DE position. Kennedy saw some playing time last year and should be ready to contribute again in the rotation. Tuiolosega is an unknown at this point but looks to have some size to plug the middle. Will have to work this off-season just to maximize his playing time as several freshman(Strong 6'3''285 and Brooks 6'1'' 290) will be ready to push for time also.
DE Justin Eddins 6'3'' 250 Sr.
Marcus Davenport 6'6'' 215 So.
DE Codie Brooks 6'1'' 250 Jr.
Ben Kane 6'4'' 240 Jr.
The Roadrunners will start the year very thin at the Defensive End position. The most experience DE Codie Brooks, should start at one of the DE positions but will be pushed by the few talented DE's listed on the roster at this time. Marcus Davenport is one of them. Davenport showed great promise last year as a true freshman and will be a force on defense for the next few years. I really would like to see him at 250lbs plus this year! Eddins who battled injuries last year has the knowledge of the defensive system to give him the inside track at winning one of these DE positions. As a Senior I expect him take the opposite side of Brooks as a starter. Newly acquired JUCO, Ben Kane should compete for time once he is comfortable with the system, but this position will still be an area of weakness due to the lack of depth. Injuries to any one of these four players could be a big set back. DT Neill could end up back here, depending on his weight or UTSA will be looking for help from one of their new true freshmen.
MLB Drew Douglass 6'1'' 230 Sr.
Justin Todd 6'0'' 200 Fr.
Tank O'Neal 6'0'' 210 So.
The Runners are solid at the MLB position with Drew Douglass who returns for his third and final year as a starter. Behind him are two unproven players who have big time potential. O'Neal should see time on the field this year as a 3rd year Sophomore. Seems to have struggled last year as Marcos Curry and Justin Todd were listed as back ups for the middle. Curry moved to the Hawk position as a back last year and Todd was listed as the back up at the MLB. Look for Todd to continue to be the back up here and have an edge over O'Neal as Todd brings 4.6 speed to this position.
Hawk Marcos Curry 5'11'' 215 So.
La'Kel Bass 6'1' 230 Jr.
Dalton Miller 5'11'' 220
No doubt that La'Kel Bass was recruited to start at this position opposite Douglass. He has all the skills to win this position. But as we have seen with past JUCO LB's, this will all depend on when the defensive scheme clicks for Bass. Until it does, this position is still in pretty good hands with Marcos Curry at the helm. He brings toughness and a nose for the ball. Curry will make it tough for Bass to start even after Bass learns the system. Also like Dalton Miller here as a back up and special teams player. Dalton makes this position one that is stacked with talent and depth.
Rover Austin Jupe 6'1'' 205 So.
Mauricio Sanchez 6'0'' 200 Sr.
Really like the fact that Austin Jupe is a Roadrunner! Jupe was a transfer last year from Baylor and should be the starter at this spot when the season begins. Only a sophomore, Jupe is built to play Rover and has skills to make him a potential All Conference player for the next three years. Mauricio Sanchez is a 5th year senior and a hard nosed player with experience to rotate in as a solid back up for Jupe.
Dawg Michael Egwaugu 6'0'' 215 Jr.
Chase Dahlquist 6'0'' 195 Jr.
The strong safety position is stacked with All Conference talent. I like both of these guys but gotta go with one of my favorites here Michael Egwaugu. “Egg” missed several games last year at the start of the season when he left the team for personal reasons only to rejoin the Roadrunners and win back his starting position. He is a playmaker on the defense and should be the starter when the season begins. Dahlquist is a hard hitting safety and a proven player talent. Not much drop off here when he is in. Dahlquist also played the Rover position before, making him a valuable asset to the defense when injuries occur at both safety positions.
FS Justin Chavez 5'10'' 195 So.
Nate Gaines 6'2'' 175 So.
This will be a competitive fight between two very good athletes. I give Chavez, a third year Sophomore, a very slight edge due to the time he has spent working in the secondary and the fact that he has 4.4 speed. Nate Gaines is probably the better athlete and will definitely get his reps if he doesn't win this position out right. Tough to follow an act like All Conference FS Triston Wade, but either one of these guys will fill in nicely here. Should be a competitive fight in the spring!
CB Bennett Okotcha 6'0'' 195 Sr.
N'Keal Bailey 5'11'' 175 So.
Aneas Henricks 5'11' 175 So.
Okotcha comes in as the clear cut leader in this secondary. This fairly new backfield of players will need him to lead by example this year. You can bet he will want to improve on his play from last year. Two 3rd year Sophomores line up behind Okotcha, of which either could see some playing in nickel packages or in case of injury to the senior starter, Okotcha. Like both sophomores, but going with Bailey with the slight edge due to his 4.4 speed.
CB Trevor Baker 6'2'' 195 Sr.
Stanley Dye 5' 10 175 Fr.
Trevor Baker will get his shot here as he comes in, a Senior with playing experience. Baker also has the most experience of the new CB's as he comes in for his third year and final year with the team. Big CB with speed who showed some talent last year as he worked into the rotation. Red Shirt Freshman Stanley Dye will push Baker this year as Dye touts 4.3 speed and managed to get a medical red shirt from last year due to injury early in the season. Dye is the future at UTSA and will be a leader to several new recruits from this year's class who are also speedsters like himself. Exciting times for the secondary with these new guys!
Looking for big time play from this year's “Hard Hat D”! Gotta like some of the new guys that are working into the rotation. Big test in the spring for most of these upperclassmen as the underclassmen show off the increase in talent.
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