Having spent the 2014 season in the defensive back position room, I can attest to the skill of coach John Neal. That being said, the group certainly faced many challenges in the 2015-16 season and will need to greatly improve for the Ducks to compete in the 2016-17 campaign.
This group really doesn’t lose much at all as the only departure of note is Glen Ihenancho. Nacho was coming into his own as the season went on so it’s a move that hurts depth, but not much of an immediate impact. Technically we can count Charles Nelson as a departure, as he moves back to the offensive side of the ball.
Just one true freshman on the roster this year, Brady Breeze, who will highly be expected to redshirt.
Returners to watch
Tyree Robinson. Time for Robinson to have a big season. We’ve seen flashes over the past few, but it’s time for the redshirt junior safety to piece together his flashes of brilliance into an all-conference caliber season.
Arrion Springs. Maybe Springs can make Arizona State plays all season long this year? The corner has the potential to lock down one side of the field, but is yet another player who needs to be much more consistent.
Reggie Daniels. If there’s one thing I know, Daniels was one of Coach Neal’s biggest frustrations. Given this was a few years ago, but we can still see why this holds true. The redshirt senior has the most snaps under his belt of the group, but is yet another one that just can’t seem to piece together a full strong season. I keep waiting for it to ‘click’ with Reggie and I hope this year is the one.
Also returning- Chris Seisay, Juwaan Williams, Ugo Amadi, Fotu Leitao, and Malik Lovette. Plenty of options for Coach Neal to turn to in this group. If anything else, the Ducks will at least be able to throw plenty of options out there.
Corners? Safeties? Honestly this whole position is still a wildcard. There’s plenty of returning talent on the squad but clearly we saw this same group get torched plenty of times last year. Here’s hoping that the fully healthy and experienced group will be much better than last.
B. Maybe a little higher than expected based off the numbers last season, but based on the number of viable options at each position I like the group this year.