4. College Football News Preview 2020: San Diego State Aztecs Defense 3 Things To Know
– No pressure or anything, new coaching staff and defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix, but the bar was set ridiculously high over the last several years. The Aztecs led the Mountain West and were fifth in the nation in total defense, and they were second behind only Georgia in scoring D.
Losing leading tackler Kyahva Tezino from the linebacking corps hurts, but six of the top eight tacklers are expected back for a D that has no excuse to be anything but fantastic again.
It starts with that linebacking corps, where senior Andrew Aleki will likely move into Tezino’s spot, and Caden McDonald and Seyddrick Lakalaka are 230-pound veterans who’ll get behind the line more. The recruiting class will help with some instant producers for the depth – at least.
– The defensive front loses Myles Cheatum, but Keshawn Banks is a 270-pound junior who led the team in tackles for loss with 13.5, and Cameron Thomas is a solid anchor on the nose who came up with nine tackles for loss. The group is beefed up with help from the JUCO ranks, and there’s good depth returning.
– All-star corner Luq Barcoo is gone after picking off nine passes, but this is still a loaded secondary. The safety combination of Dwayne Johnson and Tariq Thompson – 92 and 55 tackles finishing second and third, respectively – is among the nation’s most productive, and Trenton Thompson is a fantastic all-around playmaker from his spot. On the outside, junior Darren Hall earned All-Mountain West honors at one corner job.