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The College of Idaho

Positional Preview - Defensive Backs

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:10 PM

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The third of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote defensive backs.
 
Depth was the biggest concern for the Coyote secondary last season, as injuries depleted the roster as the season rolled on.  That is not the case this season, as the C of I staff focused much of their recruiting efforts to bolster both the safety and the corner positions.

One of those recruits, safety Tanner Oshiro, has had a great camp since joining the team when Menlo College shuttered their program in February.  The sophomore recorded 17 tackles during his rookie season for the Oaks.
 
Going head-to-head with the transfer is sophomore John Hohnhorst, who had 14 tackles as a freshman despite missing time due to injury. Also in the immediate mix is redshirt freshman David Juarez and true freshman Jaquan Mayberry.
 
"Oshiro has had a great camp so far and would be penciled in as the starter if we began today," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said.  "I've been pleased with the way Hohnhorst has played so far and the same with Juarez, who redshirted for us last season and had a huge spring.  All of these guys have been competing, as has young Jaquan Mayberry, who has been competing for that spot as well."
 
At nickel safety, returner Hunter Temple had a quality freshman season, recording 40 tackles and a crucial blocked extra point in the season-opening win at Pacific.  He is being pushed by transfer Julian Patton, who had two solid seasons at Santa Barbara City College.
 
"Hunter Temple continues to get better and better and doing a heckuva job," Jewell said. "But, he is really being pushed by Julian Patton out of Santa Barbara who had to miss last year due to injury."
 
Cory Brady returns at free safety after leading the team with 64 tackles and six interceptions, including three picks in a home win over Montana Western.  The sophomore, who earned NAIA Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts, has depth behind him in Menlo transfer Michael Daw III, Fort Lewis transfer B.J. Newman, and returner Hank Boeger.
 
"Brady is playing well, but three guys are right with him," Jewell said. "Boeger had a great spring, and the transfers Daw and Newman have pushed him (Brady) to where he doesn't feel comfortable in that spot and has made him a better player.  He has really risen to the occasion – this spring he had a great spring and he has just continued to blossom."
 
Depth is key at all three positions, as returners Bryan DilworthJacques CarterDrake Rigby-Willingham, and T.J. Clarke are pushing to climb the depth chart, along with newcomers Levi Keltner and Kade Eiguren.
 
The Yotes return experience at the corner position, as returning starters Nate Moore and Grant Darrington look for breakout seasons.  Moore was C of I's top cover corner, matching up with the opponents' top receiver, and was among the Frontier Conference leaders in pass break-ups.  Darrington recorded 32 tackles on the season.
 
"Grant and Nate look to be our starters heading into the season," Jewell said. "Both had a great spring and have looked outstanding in camp."
 
Right behind the duo are three players, sophomore Malik Whitfield and true freshmen – Morris Kroma and Chris Waters.  Whitfield, a two-sport athlete, made 30 tackles in 2014 as part of the regular rotation, while both Kroma and Waters have impressive prep resumes.
 
"Morris Kroma was a huge get for us and has done really well, as has Chris Waters," Jewell said. "Malik Whitfield continues to get better and better.  We are a good five deep at corner, guys who we feel really good about putting in a game."
 
Also in the mix is returner Trae Bishop, who was a regular on the Yotes special teams, along with freshmen Payton WilnerDevin Gaskins, and Regan Sonderman.
 
"The guys that are behind them, they are not that far behind," Jewell said. "Just about all of our guys we feel we can put in a game and feel good about them.  Waiting in the wings are Payton Wilner, Devin Gaskins and Regan Sondermann, local kids that are going to be great and will be future really good Yotes – it's just that there are returners and others ahead of them right now.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.