4. College Football News Preview 2020: Southern Miss Golden Eagles Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense was terrific last season, and it gets back just enough to be among the best in the league again. Six of the top eight tacklers are back from the D that allowed just 353 yards and 26 points per game, allowing 17 points or fewer five times.
– The pass rush that finished 14th in the nation in sacks loses top sacker Terry Whittington at linebacker, but Jacques Turner is an all-star caliber pass rusher at one end. The rest of the line, though, needs some work with the two top tackles done and needing junior Tahj Sykes and 339-pound senior Von’Darius Freeman to rise up as anchors.
The Golden Eagles normally use just two true linebackers and a hybrid Wolf position. 6-0, 210-pound Raheem Boothe is built like a safety. He missed four games, but he still made 49 tackles and can get all over the field. 250-pound senior Eriq Kitchen will try to step up in place of Whittingham at the Wolf.
– The pass defense that allowed 237 yards per game and was one of the least efficient in the nation has to make a whole lot more plays. Leading tackler Ky’el Hemby is back at his Rover job – he made 93 tackles – but star tackler D.Q. Thomas is done.
Junior Shannon Showers isn’t that big, but he’s a good-tackling safety, and Rachuan Mitchell is back at one corner. JUCO transfer Camron Harrell will get a long look on the other side.