4. Liberty College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was great at getting into the backfield and was strong against the run. It finished 11th in the nation overall, 16th in scoring D, and now – like the offense – almost everyone who mattered last year is back, and it starts with a defensive line that has size inside and the pass rushers on the outside.
– The linebacker-sized combination of Durrell Johnson and TreShaun Clark came up with 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, and there’s more pass rushing quickness behind them. They’re the stars, and they get the help from the rocks on the inside – 300-pound Elijah James and 325-pound Ralfs Rusins – who returned for their super-senior seasons.
– The line is set, and so is most of the back seven starting with leading tackler Javon Scruggs back at rover – making 69 stops – and Aaron Pierre at one outside linebacker spot. The already good corner situation – sophomore Chris Megginson is set at one spot – got even better with a few transfers coming in to throw into the rotation. There are a whole lot of pieces to play around with at all five defensive back jobs.
Anthony Butler is gone from the middle of the linebacking corps after finishing second on the team with 67 tackles, but ULM transfer Rashaad Harding should be able to step in and be fine.