Southern Miss Golden Eagles: CFN College Football Preview 2021

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Miss Golden Eagles: CFN College Football Preview 2021

2021 Preview

Southern Miss Golden Eagles: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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4. Southern Miss Golden Eagles College Football Preview 2021: Defense

The defense just never got it going. It struggled from the start and only came up with a few decent performances, allowing 30 points or more in seven of the ten games. Ten starters are back, though, for a coaching staff looking to get far more aggressive and do far more to get into the backfield.

It would’ve been nice to get pass rushing lineman Jacques Turner back, but after missing 2020 he’s off to Louisville. The transfer portal is helping the other way, though with a few nice prospects coming in around a veteran front four that gets all the top parts back.

Terence Cherry and Dominic Quewon return on the ends, but they only combined for 5.5 sacks. There’s enough for a good rotation to keep everyone fresh, but to keep hammering on this, the pressure has to come. There isn’t a tone of bulk on the interior, but Tahj Sykes is a 308-pound veteran on the nose and more parts are coming in to help.

Most of the disruption came from the linebackers. Hayes Maples led the team with 91 stops and eight tackles for loss, and Santrell Latham came up with a team-high four sacks, but they’re not alone. Linebacker should be the team’s biggest strength – next to running back – with a whole lot of smallish, athletic options to play around with.

Star safety Ky’el Hemby is off to the NFL, but sophomore Malik Shorts is a is a good one – he was second on the team with 81 tackles in just nine games – leading a solid group. Natrone Brooks is a good one, but the corners have to show up. The lack of a pass rush was a problem, but there weren’t enough big plays for a D that came up with just six picks.

– What You Need To Know: Offense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Southern Miss Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Southern Miss Golden Eagles College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

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