Memphis Tigers College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense got roasted a bit too often, but it took the ball away a lot and weren’t bad against the run. Now the secondary should be the star with a slew of good players returning and a few good ones back who were out – like 2019 fourth-leading tackler La’Andre Thomas.
Overall, the safeties are going to be a strength. Quindell Johnson is a terrific tackler who made 81 stops with three picks, Rodney Owens also intercepted three passes and made 53 tackles, and Tyrez Linsdey is a 212-pound veteran hitter who’s great in the rotation.
The Tigers lose TJ Carter to TCU at one corner spot, but Jacobi Francis is back at one outside job and Julian Barnett is coming in from Michigan State.
– The defensive front loses Joseph Dorceus to Tulane, but Morris Joseph is a 275-pound pass rusher who led the team with seven sacks and 52 tackles for loss. 246-pound Wardalis Duckworth is a quick interior presence for the rotation, but the pressure is on 300-pound Kajuan Robinson and 290-pound Maurice White to hold up as the bulk.
– The linebacking corps has a decent mix of talents across the four spots. JJ Russell is an undersized tackler in the middle – he’s 225 pounds, and that’s bulked up – and in general the Tigers used big safety-types who can move. The biggest guy – 240-pound Jalil Clemons – will likely work on the weakside after making 19 stops.