4. College Football News Preview 2020: UCF Knights Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense was terrific. It might have failed to come through in the fourth quarters of a few games – the Knights were outscored 89-50 in the final frame – but it was second in the AAC, third in the nation in pass efficiency defense, and led the nation in tackles for loss.
Leading tackler Nate Evans is gone from the linebacking corps, but overall, 11 of the top 12 tacklers are expected to be back.
– It starts with another whale of a secondary, led by all-star S Richie Grant – who was second on the team with 78 stops – and with Antwan Collier back at safety after coming up with 66 tackles and a team-high four picks, and former Alabama transfer Aaron Robinson owning the nickel job with three interceptions.
Tay Gowan was an all-star-caliber corner on one side but he chose to opt out on the 2020 season. Brandon Moore – a star in his first two seasons – should be back after missing almost all of last year with a knee injury.
– The secondary might be the team’s biggest strength, but the defensive front six is going to be terrific, too. Evans might be gone from the linebacking corps, but 6-2, 238-pound thumper Eric Mitchell is back and 5-11, 228-pound junior Eriq Gilyard is a terrific veteran – the two tied for third on the team with 77 tackles, but Mitchell was the better of the two at getting behind the line.
The line gets back 6-4, 285-pound senior tackle Kenny Turnier – a former Oregon State Beaver who led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, and sophomore Tre’mon Morris-Brash is a rising star pass rusher on the outside. There isn’t massive bulk across the front, but everyone can move.