Throughout the 2018 season, the Tigers secondary was looked at as the weak link of an elite unit. After Kellon Mond torched the Tigers defense for over 400 yards passing in Week 2, this unit spent much of the rest of the season being maligned in the media. Then came the regular season finale against South Carolina, where Jake Bentley threw for over 500 yards and 5 TDs, and heading into the postseason, there were legit concerns.
Truth be told, despite having its issues, the secondary shouldn’t have shouldered all the criticism. Some of those issues were due to the LBs not dropping back correctly or on time, but it was the secondary, particularly the safeties, that took most of the heat.
Heading into 2019, this unit should be much improved, and become a strength of the entire defense. The Tigers get the entire group back except for CB Trayvon Mullen. AJ Terrell, Kvon Wallace, Tanner Muse, Nolan Turner, and Denzel Johnson all return and with plenty of experience.
New to the group is converted wide receiver Derion Kendrick. After being moved over early on the the spring, the coaches have raved about his ability to play the position and how quickly he’s picked it up. Most assumed the move was temporary, but that’s not the case, as it’s looking like Kendrick is poised to take over the starting spot left vacated by Mullen. Any questions regarding the move were put to bed after his spring game performance.
Other names to watch for are sophomores LeAnthony Williams and Mario Goodrich, as well as true freshman Andrew Booth. Williams started in place of the banged up Kendrick in the team’s first scrimmage Saturday and is likely to play a key spot in a reserve role.
It’ll be interesting to see how far Goodrich has come after being in the system for a year now. The wildcard could be Booth. The five star recruit could push for immediate playing time but he’s got some experienced players in front of him, and it won’t be easy to supplant of those guys.