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Texas State Bobcats 2017 Season Preview: Defense

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There is nowhere for the Bobcats to go but up on defense.

Texas State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

So we are just a week away from the start of the season so here is part two of the Texas State previews this time focusing on defense and special teams. If you missed part one which is the offense review here is the link to that story.

Defensive Line: The 3-4 defense laded Bobcats got burned a lot last year and to be fair they were put in poor positions by the offense and their struggles and suffered because plain and simple they were young and undersized. But the defense is a year older and bulked up significantly this offseason.

Defensive end Ishmael Davis added 37 pounds, Dean Taylor gained a whopping 50 pounds to go up to 280 and Jordan Mitte when up to 270 from 235. This was a trend all across the roster as a laundry list of players gained mass all around to settle the undersized issues of last year. So the fight chant of “Eat ‘em up” was literally taken as advice this summer.

An important addition to the trenches was JUCO transfer Sami Awad who tips the scales at 300 pounds and who’s size and talent will be essential in clogging up the trenches and help a Bobcat squad who allowed 223.3 yards a game, 4.9 yards a carry and a second-to-dead last sack total in the country with nine last year.

Again the big story in San Marcos will be the amount of young talent that’ll be thrust into the fire with major playing time. Freshman lineman John Lilly, Gjemar Daniels and Caveon Patton have been given that chance with key reps with the first team offense in practice and have shown growth and potential talent.

Linebackers: The interior of the Bobcat defense proved to be one of the best in the Sun Belt with the combo of Bryan London III, who was third in the country in total tackles and Gabe Loyd who himself also registered over a 100 tackles forming the most production of all the Texas State defenders.

So what about the rest of the linebacking corp? They are deep like the mind of minolta. The outside linebackers who will compliment Loyds of London will include senior Easy Anyama fresh off an injury last year and will provide some leadership on the defensive side. Kumonde Hines played all 12 games last season as a freshman gaining alot of playing experience. Frankie Griffin and Markeveon Coleman will fill in the rotation.

Of anything Texas State fans can be sure on in 2017 it’s the linebackers and their talented squad, who will just get better as the season goes on.

Secondary: It was a rough going for the secondary last year and the growing pains may continue through this season as the youth movement spreads to the corners and safeties.

Texas State boasted freshman as the corners as Anthony Taylor and Jashon Waddy were fed to the lions. The team only had three picks last year. Two from NFL departed safety Javante O’Roy and one from a defensive lineman. Not a good stat considering they also allowed 28 passing touchdowns. Despite a rough go in 2016 they are still the better of the Bobcats’ corners and will probably be starting in game one. Jordan Eastling also saw significant time last year as corner and will provide that third option. Freshman Kordell Rodgers and Kieston Roach will be the younger backups fresh from the recruiting class. Look for them to receive some valuable playing time this year.

Strong safeties Quinn Tiggs and Dila Rosemond split time last season in the carousel-style rotation implemented by Coach Withers and his staff. Tiggs can play strong or free but looks comfortable playing at the SS position. Senior Stephan Johnson is another strong safety that played considerable time last year and this squad will be the oldest of all the positions on the Texas State roster.

Converted offensive skill player A.J. Krawczyk will be the front runner at Free Safety and had an impressive spring and fall. With the addition of Josh Newman and Preston Dimery this free safety unit will have depth as well.

Special Teams: Punter Lumi Kaba graduated leaving the punting and kickoff spots with a void. Marcus Ripley and James Sherman can both kick and punt but with Ripley being more accurate and Sherman boasting a bigger leg look for Ripley to kick field goals and Sherman to punt and cover kickoff duties.

Outlook: Texas State is still young defensively but with a deeper roster of players the Bobcats can afford to rotate players in and out, especially in the unproven positions. The rushing defense should get better especially with Awad using his massive frame to clog the lanes and BLIII and Loyd patrolling the middle. The ‘Cats will have their moments where their youth will show but not anywhere near like the disasters they were prone to in 2016.