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Purdue Football: Defensive Backs This Fall

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A mixture of veterans and youth will lead to some big defensive plays.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

This position group has some veteran leadership, as well as being extremely young when looking at depth. Last year, with the secondary primarily being Hunte, Okoyne, Thieneman and Mosley, we were pretty solid.

This year, we will have to ask some young guys to contribute sooner rather than later. Behind the starters there is not a ton of depth. So, lets dive into what I believe could be our depth chart this fall:

Starters:

CB: Kamal Hardy - Miramar, Florida, Senior

CB: Dedrick Mackey - Miami, Florida, Redshirt Freshman

FS: Navon Mosley - West Bloomfield, Michigan, Junior

SS: Jacob Thieneman - Noblesville, Indiana, Senior

Personally, I am really comfortable with this group of defensive backs. Kamal Hardy made a start with an injury to Hunte last year and held his own. He will need to be more physical though, when he came into the Nebraska game, their big wide receivers beat him up, but he is an athletic playmaker.

Mackey was a pretty sought after corner coming out of high school. He made the start in the spring at corner and did a nice job. I like that he has that Miami Swagger to his game. His confidence is sky high and at corner, you love a guy that is like that. Will he be physical enough for big wide receivers is the question, I think the answer is yes.

Mosley was our ball hawk cover safety last year. He is not a great tackler in the box and that is why you will see Jacob there more times than not when we roll to cover 3. Mosley was a bit of a surprise at FS last year and he did a nice job. It is his job to lose.

The older Thieneman, a former walk-on, stole a spot from highly recruited JuCo transfer, T.J. Jallow. By the end of the year, it was not surprise. While he struggles in coverage he is a great tackler and rarely misses an open field tackle. Thieneman has this spot locked up again.

Depth:

CB: Antonio Blackmon - Fort Wayne, Indiana, Senior

CB: Kenneth Major - Hopskinville, Kentucky, Redshirt Freshman

FS: Cory Trice - Hopskinville, Kentucky, Freshman

SS: Brennan Thieneman - Noblesville, Indiana, Sophomore

I do believe I have the back up corner spots correct. Blackmon appeared in 11 games last year as a reserve and I expect him to have a similar role this season. Major was getting a bunch of reps with the 1st and 2nd teams this spring. He is solid cover corner, just very young.

At safety, it is a shot in the dark, honestly. Cory Trice is a 6’3” ball hawk. He covered from sideline to sideline in High School. Of the incoming DBs, I like him the most to produce right away. Brennan, little brother of Jacob, appeared in all of our games last year as a reserve or on special teams. He is similar in build to his brother and is the same type of box safety.

A guy who played corner all spring very well could move to safety and gives us more depth there. Don’t be surprised if Simeon Smiley and Tim Cason make their way back there. But, for now, I am going off the listed roster.

Deep Reserves:

Corners:

Mike Little - Newhall, Califronia, Junior

Tim Cason - Clarkston, Michigan, Senior

Brandon Shuman - Miami, Florida, Junior

Jacob Abrams - Carmel, Indiana, Redshirt Freshman

Simeon Smiley - Pensacola, Florida, Sophomore

David Day - Indianapolis, Indiana, Junior

Safeties:

Ronnie Hill - Indianapolis, Indiana, Junior

Kadin Smith - Louisville, Kentucky, Freshman

Elijah Ball - Indianapolis, Indiana, Freshman (could play corner also)

The deep reserves at safety worry me a bit that I have two true freshman and a walk on safety. At corner, I am fine with our depth - but I hope the injury bug does not strike our safety position. This is why I could see a couple of corners such as Smiley and Cason move to safety.

Redshirts:

Byron Perkins - Chicago, Illinois, Freshman

Jordan Rucker - Denton, Texas, Freshman

Overall, I am happy with the starters, but I am worried with the deep reserves if the injury bug gets us. I do have faith with the incoming freshman, as they are all talented. Do not be surprised if none of them end up redshirting.