UAB Blazers College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense that was good enough to finish seventh in the nation allowing just 311 yards and 21 points per game returns loaded with nine starters. The run D was good, the pass D was better, and there are plenty of reasons to assume everything will be even stronger.
The pass rush wasn’t a killer, but it was good enough, the Blazers were among the best in the nation in third down stops, and again, almost all the main parts are coming back.
– So what’s missing? All-star leading tackler Kris Moll is done at one linebacker spot, but Noah Wilder is a good-sized tackler who’s good enough to get behind the line. Leading tackler and playmaker behind the line Jordan Smith is off to the NFL, and Brontae Harris was a strong veteran corner.
The D line will still be terrific around Antonio Moultrie, Tyree Turner and a good, big tackle rotation. Turner and Fish McWilliams can get behind the line, but the pressure comes from the linebackers. In comes Justin Thomas from LSU to help the cause, and 6-7, 260-pound Alex Wright is a hybrid who’ll work on an end.
– Four of the five main defensive backs return, and three of them are coming off all-star seasons. The safety combination of Damon Miller and Dy’jonn Turner make a bunch of plays, and TD Marshall has the upside to be one of the best corners in Conference USA.