Roster Eligibility: Defensive Backs

An offseason tradition like no other, we take a look at the roster eligibility of each position. For clarification purposes, each red block is a year of eligibility available and a black block represents a redshirt year available.

Player Ht/Wt Year Position 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Octavious Morgan 6-0/200 Junior Defensive Back
Quincy Addison 6-1/185 Freshman Defensive Back
John Davis 6-1/180 Freshman Defensive Back
Adrian Frye 6-1/175 Freshman Defensive Back
Jah’Shawn Johnson 5-10/180 Junior Defensive Back
Vaughnte Dorsey 5-11/200 Junior Defensive Back
Payton Hendrix 6-2/210 Junior Defensive Back
Jaylon Lane 6-2/180 Junior Defensive Back
Matthew Rugal 6-2/185 Junior Defensive Back
Justus Parker 6-0/185 Junior Defensive Back
Kisean Allen 5-11/172 Junior Defensive Back
Adaryan Jones 6-0/170 Junior Defensive Back
Damarcus Fields 6-0/185 RS Freshman Defensive Back
D.J. Polite Bray 6-0/195 Senior Defensive Back
Christian Taylor 6-2/210 Sophomore Defensive Back
Willie Sykes 6-0/180 Sophomore Defensive Back
Desmon Smith 6-2/190 Sophomore Defensive Back
Douglas Coleman 6-1/175 Sophomore Defensive Back
Kevin Moore 6-1/195 Sophomore Defensive Back
Cade Erwin 5-11/185 Sophomore Defensive Back

Really this position group is in pretty good shape for the next few years. It is junior heavy, largely because of the three JUCO players from the 2017 class and also as a result of some players like Hendrix, Johnson, Allen and some walk-ons.

I do expect this group to improve significantly in 2017. There is a good mix of players who played as true freshmen, a mix of JUCO players that we hope can contribute to the depth immediately. And maybe that should be the one take-away from 2017, which is that Gibbs felt that the players that were part of this mix weren’t really even good enough to get snaps in front of two true freshmen. In fact, with Kisean Allen getting a ton of snaps at safety alongside Johnson, this meant that a walk-on deserved snaps ahead of these other guys. The addition of the JUCO players with an equal number of high school players bodes well for the immediate future as well as long-term. This is how you recruit a position group.

If I had to just spit-ball a two-deep, I think I’d go with Coleman, Lane, Morgan and Fields at cornerback (in no particular order), Dorsey, Johnson, Smith and Allen at safety and Moore and Sykes at the nickel backs. I think I can live with this and be happy with it. I’d love to see guys like Taylor and Hendrix step up. There’s still time.

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