The Troy Trojans’ defense paced the conference with 42 sacks in 2017 while shutting rushing attacks to 2.9 yards per carry. Gone to graduation are stud DTs Jamal Stadom (7 sacks, 11 TFLs) and Baron Poole (3.5 sacks, 6 TFL), as well as defensive end Seth Calloway (2.5 sacks, 5 TFL). Troy will look to replace 1/3 of their sacks with a rotation of experienced players.
Kelvin Lucky - SO - 11 games, 12 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks
Jarvis Hayes - JR (JUCO) - 63 tackles, 8 TFLs, 4.5 sacks
John Hines - SO (JUCO) - 56 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 sacks (Freshman Yr)
The defensive end spot will most likely be manned by returning sophomore Kelvin Lucky. After sitting out the first two games, Lucky came on strong as a pass rushing option late in the year, closing the last five games of the season with 2 sacks and 4 TFLs. Hayes and Hines will be joining the Trojans from the JUCO ranks and will compete for playing time. Hines is coming off a year in which he missed all but the opener of his sophomore year, but performed exceedingly well in only nine games his freshman year at SW Mississippi CC. Hayes was a pressure machine for Itawamba CC, scoring twice on turnovers.
Defensive Tackle/ Nose Guard
Antione Barker - JR - 13 games, 3 starts (DE), 18 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
Trevon Sanders - SR - 13 games, 13 starts, 22 tackles, 5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks
Marcus Webb - JR - 13 games, 23 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks
Travis Sailo- JR (JUCO) - 3 sacks, 4 TFL
The one known in this group is that Trevon Sanders will anchor the nose guard position as he did last year. A rock in the run game to free up the linebackers, Sanders was a 2nd team All-Sun Belt selection last year, and a 1st teamer this season. Itawamba CC transfer Travis Sailo will bring depth at the nose guard position after a solid two seasons at the JUCO level.
Tackle Marcus Webb joins Sanders on the preseason all-conference team, as a 2nd teamer, after his impressive sophomore campaign in which he made 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The wild card in the group is converted defensive end Antione Barker. After a solid campaign including three starts, his continued development and growth has pushed him to an interior role. It will be interesting to see if the increased size allows him to maintain his quickness. If so, he’ll be in contention for a 1st team spot- both on Troy and the all-conference team.
Projected Depth Chart
DE - Lucky/Hayes/Hines
DT - Barker/Webb/Mathis
NG - Sanders/Sailo
Troy had an incredible year on the back of their defensive line, and next year doesn’t look to be any different. Where they lost valuable starters, they reload with equally talented players and a loaded rotation. This unit begins the season with four All-Sun Belt team members. If everything starts up front on offense, then teams will have an extremely difficult time, again, against Troy.