4. College Football News Preview 2020: New Mexico State Aggies Defense 3 Things To Know
– Just enough veterans are around – six of the top nine tacklers return and five starters are expected back – to hope for more production after allowing 480 yards and 41 points – second-worst in the nation – per game. The pass defense was bad, but the run defense was the biggest disaster.
There’s size up front in the tackle rotation, but the production has to be there. Myles Vigne is a 290-pound veteran on the nose, and 6-2, 310-pound senior Roy Lopez was one of the team’s best players at one of the other tackle spots, but he’s in the transfer portal.
A pass rush has to emerge, though, starting with more from 6-6, 257-pound senior Xander Yarberough, who tied for the team lead with three sacks.
– Leading tackler and star of the team Javahn Ferguson is done after coming up with 133 tackles, but 235-pound Rashie Hodge is back on the strongside coming off a 90-tackle season. Devin Richardson is another good-sized linebacker – he tied for third with 69 stops – and hybrid end/linebacker Matthew Young will fit in somewhere in the mix.
– The Aggies picked off just five passes, and the only one returning came from Hodge, a linebacker. Sophomore Jason Simmons is the only returning starter in the secondary; he’s coming off a 62-tackle season.
4JUCO transfer Xavier Dunkle is being brought in to take over a corner job, and former Oklahoma State Cowboy, Chance Cook will need to be a statistical leader, making 42 stops last year.