Several days ago, I looked at our potential offensive two-deep for next fall. Today, we're looking at the defense.
DE: Jadeveon Clowney; Chaz Sutton
DE: Devin Taylor; Byron McKnight
DT: Kelcy Quarles; Phillip Dukes
DT: Aldrick Fordham; Byron Jerideau
LB: Shaq Wilson; Quin Smith
LB: Reginald Bowens; Qua Gilchrist
Spur: DeVonte Holloman; DeMario Jeffery
CB: Akeem Auguste; Ahmad Christian
CB: Victor Hampton; Jimmy Legree
S: Brison Williams; Sharrod Golightly
S: D.J. Swearinger; Sheldon Royster
--The pass rush will again be a major asset. The Clowney / Taylor due will be more or less unblockable.
--Another defensive lineman I've read good things about is Deon Green, a three-star tackle who redshirted after coming in with last year's class. The coaches are high on Green and believe he will be able to compete for a spot in the rotation. J.T. Surratt will also be in the mix there.
--Another interesting storyline at DT will be whether or not Byron Jerideau can compete with Fordham for the second starting position alongside Kelcy Quarles. Fordham is really more of a defensive end who plays tackle due to necessity, and one would prefer to see the Wall of Jerideau live up to his potential and take that spot, as he's got the body to be more of a force against the run.
--Linebacker was a bit of a weak spot at times for us this year, but as Shaq Wilson returned to form and Reggie Bowens and Quin Smith matured, it became a strong point by year's end. Look for that trend to continue this coming season. Also note that redshirt freshman Cedrick Cooper is a guy the coaches are high on who could earn some playing time.
--Secondary is likely my biggest concern going into next year, particularly at CB. Auguste and Hampton should be solid as starters, but depth will be the the question. I've never been impressed by Jimmy Legree, although he's shown flashes at times. Ahmad Christian and Kadetrix Marcus have tons of potential, but they're inexperienced. There are also the incoming freshman, but they're again inexperienced. One or two of these guys will need to step up and be able to give us quality snaps next year, or we may be in trouble at corner. Safety I feel a bit better about; D.J. Swearinger will likely be All-SEC, Brison Williams is very solid, Sharrod Golightly got some PT at times this year and should be ready for a bigger role, and Sheldon Royster should eventually be an All-SEC-type player. Plus, we can always move DeVonte Holloman back to safety if need be, as well as some good incoming talent.