4. College Football News Preview 2020: Toledo Rockets Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense might have had problems – it was 123rd in the nation with little pass rush and nothing happening against the run – but the payoff might come after going with a youth movement. 12 of the top 15 tacklers are expected back, and 14 of the top 25 tacklers were underclassmen.
The biggest loss was Jahniel Douglas, a 6-3, 300-pound tackle who was tragically killed this offseason. A GoFundMe page was created to help the family pay for his funeral.
– The secondary didn’t come up with enough interceptions, but it improved as the second half wore on without 300-yard games allowed in the last seven after giving up three in the first five. However, there weren’t any picks in the last five games.
6-2, 205-pound senior Tycen Anderson was second on the team with 84 tackles. He’s a good veteran strong safety, and the corner combination of Samuel Womack – who came up with two picks – and Chris McDonald are back.
Junior Saeed Holt is part linebacker, part safety – he’s really a safety – used on the outside as an all-around playmaker – he led the team with 11 tackles for loss. But …
– Junior defensive ends Jamal Hines and Desjuan Johnson are back after combining for 15.5 tackles for loss, but they only came up with 2.5 sacks. 6-4, 240-pound junior Nate Givhan is also back at end – he has pass rushing upside, but he has to generate more than two sacks.
There’s good size on the inside with 6-4, 315-pound Derrius Mullins to take over on the nose, and Devan Rogers should be better coming off a 29-tackle freshman season. Coming over from Kentucky is 300-pound Cavon Butler for the interior, and Jonathan Jones is eligible to go right now at one outside linebacker spot.
235-pound junior Daniel Bolden should take over in the middle after making 39 tackles as a reserve, and Dyontae Johnson is a 230-pounder with the upside to be one of the team’s leading tacklers after playing a big role as a backup on the outside.