4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UTSA DEFENSE
– The D that was such a killer a few years ago couldn’t make up for the lack of issues on offense. The Roadrunners finished dead last in C-USA in pass efficiency defense, and allowed 436 total yards and 31 points per game.
– In all, six starters return including three of the five in the secondary. Leading tackler CJ Levine is done at free safety, CB Brenndan Johnson is in the transfer portal, and S Andrew Martel is moving to linebacker. Cassius Grady led the team with four picks – he’ll hold down one corner gig, and Clayton Johnson is expected to return at the other spot after missing half of last season.
– Losing top LB Josiah Tauaefa is done, and so is third-leading tackler Les Maruo. Andrew Martel spent most of last year at safety making 45 tackles, and now he’s an undersized linebacker on the outside. Sophomores De’Marco Guidry and Donovan Perkins got in a little work and now have to bring a little bulk to the position.
– Former JUCO transfer Lorenzo Dantzler returns to one end spot after turning into one of the team’s leading defenders in the backfield. DeQuarius Henry and Jarrod Carter-McLin will combine on the other side, and 295-pound senior Baylen Baker and 305-pound Jaylon Holmes have to hold down the interior. Considering the issues in the linebacking corps, this group has to be stronger.