4. South Carolina College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was loaded with upside, and the secondary was full of NFL talent, and it just didn’t work. The wheels came off with a whole slew of key parts missing at the end, finishing the season allowing 452 yards and 36 points per game with the line getting destroyed way too easily. Defensive coordinator Clayton White will try to fix that with the 4-2-5 alignment working around …
– The linebackers. The front four has to be far better, but it’s that 2 in the 4-2-5 – if the alignment really does stick with the style – that has to rock. Leading tackler Ernest Jones is off being an LA Ram, but the combination of 220-pound senior Sherrod Greene and 222-pound sophomore Mo Kaba are experienced enough to be terrific as the season goes on.
– Now the line has to work despite losing a few parts to the transfer portal – and it will. What turned into a problem should now be one of the team’s biggest strengths. Leading sacker Kingsley Enagbare is a good one start with on the end, and in comes Jordan Strachan from Georgia State after coming up with 10.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Zacch Pickens leads a strong rotation of 300-pounders in the interior.
– The pass rush has to be there to help out the redo in the secondary. Most of the NFL parts weren’t around for most of last year, and for good and bad that threw some inexperienced guys into the fire.
There’s no Jaycee Horn, but the corners are okay even with John Dixon bolting for Penn State. Despite losing key tackler Jammie Robinson to Florida State, getting back Jaylan Foster back after finishing fourth in tackles helps.