A look at the defensive secondary

Most experienced group on defense

August 8, 2009 · Athletic Communications

Key Losses:
CB Ted Riley

Key Returnees: S Jeremy Kellem, CB Alex Suber, and S Kevin Brown. The threesome combined for 29 starts last year and five interceptions.

Battle to Watch (corner): Rod Issac and Marcus Udell for the starting left corner spot. Both have a burning desire to be the starter and both are high-level competitors. Rod is a natural and Marcus is a tremendous athlete so whoever shows the most consistency will be on the field first. However, both players will see significant time in 2009.

Battle to Watch (safety): Last year's starters, Jeremy Kellem and Kevin Brown, will be pushed heavily by upstart Derrick Crumpton. The sophomore will see a lot of action and simply loves playing the game.

Spring Standout: The standout among the corners was Marcus Udell. The senior showed a great work ethic and fundamentals and the spring really elevated his game. Coaches hope to see him take the next step this summer and continue on his current course. For the safeties, junior Kevin Brown got the coaches' attention in the spring. Brown really improved on his man cover technique and getting his big body in position to make plays both in the passing and running game.

Coach Bibee on the safeties
"We have a young but experienced group and I thought they really had a good spring and got better. Jeremy Kellem is a leader and a person who simply makes plays all over the field, and Kevin Brown is the physical guy back there. I feel good about both players, but they will be pushed heavily by Derrick Crumpton, who continues to grow as a player, and don't forget about Denzell Guerra, another physical player."

Coach Ellis on the cornerbacks
"This group is very hard working, has a great chemistry, and gave great effort and embraced the challenges presented to them during the spring. They are athletic and all are playmakers. I liked the attitude they came with every day in the spring and cannot wait to see them in action this fall."

Left Safety
(Junior) - A complete player who is very accomplished and had a strong spring ... A playmaker who has a knack for being around the football ... Needs to continue improving his strength.

DERRICK CRUMPTON (Sophomore) - A name you will hear a lot more in 2009 ... A quick and solid football player who has no wasted movement ... Needs to improve on his alignments and technique, which got a lot better in the spring.

Right Safety
(Junior) - A good tackler who loves to hit and plays physical ... Enjoyed a good spring and really improved his overall game ... Needs to continue working on technique, ball skills, and keeping conditioning at a peak.

DENZELL GUERRA (r-Freshman) - Opened a lot of eyes in the spring with his overall improvement and attitude ... A strong and physical player who loves contact ... Needs to improve his flexibility and quickness.

Left Cornerback
(Junior) - Has natural talent and is very versatile and has a good football IQ ... Was slowed by an ankle injury last year but is poised for a breakout season in 2009 ... Needs to improve on his lateral movement and be more of a leader.

MARCUS UDELL (Senior) - After a sub-par junior season, Udell was the most improved during the spring and looks to be a major player in his final year ... A tremendous athlete who is a big and long corner that is not seen every day ... Needs to work hard on mastering his techniques.

SHERMAN NEAL (r-Sophomore) - A very dependable and accountable player who loves the game ... A great ambassador for the program and University ... Will need to show versatility to contribute on nickel and dime packages.

Right Cornerback
(r-Senior) - Brings a wealth of experience to the group and a guy who has been in the wars ... A great leader who comes to work every day and wants to be a champion ... Plays bigger than he is and with a lot of heart ... Needs to be a dominant player as this is his time to shine as a senior.

JAWAN CARSON (Sophomore) - A very athletic and quick player with a ton of upside ... A good team player with versatility (played running back and defensive back as a true freshman) ... Should excel on special teams this year ... Is young and still learning the position and developing the techniques.

HAKEEM JOHNSON (r-Freshman) - A name you will hear a lot of in the future ... Added bulk in the offseason and is hungry to get better ... A cerebral player with a lot of want to in his game ... Tough, physical, and savvy quickly come to mind from the coaches about Johnson ... Needs to get stronger and gain experience.

33 Kevin Brown (Jr., S)
25 Jawan Carson (So., CB)
24 Derrick Crumpton (So., S)
31 Denzell Guerra (r-Fr., S)
6 Rod Issac (Jr., CB)
5 Hakeem Johnson (r-Fr., CB)
20 Jeremy Kellem (Jr., S)
28 *Sherman Neal (r-Jr., CB)
7 Alex Suber (r-Sr., CB)
*Stuart Taylor (r-Jr., CB)
3 Marcus Udell (Sr., CB)

41 Marquise Dixon (Fr., CB)
18 Kenneth Gilstrap (Fr., CB)
42 Juno Prudhomm (Fr., S)
8 Sammy Seamster (Fr., S)

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