San Diego State Position Preview: Defensive Backs
Who are the five DBs in the starting lineup?
First look at the Aztecs DB’s?
Going into the 2018 college football season San Diego State lost star Cornerback Kameron Kelly and safety Trey Lomax to graduation. Last year, Kelly had 72 tackles where 61 of them were solo. Also, he was second on the team with three interceptions in 2017. Lomax had the third most tackles with 70 for the Aztecs last season and also had two picks. However, in the secondary stud safeties, Senior Parker Baldwin and Sophomore Tariq Thompson are returning. In addition, junior starting CB Ron Smith is coming back and has started since his freshman season.
Parker Baldwin has had an amazing three years of college football. Baldwin has played since his true freshman season and has been very important for the Aztecs. He won the team’s Freshman of the year award and since then he has improved every single year. As a starter for the last two seasons, Baldwin has totaled 141 tackles and has been one of the best safeties in the Mountain West. Expect Baldwin to be even better in his final year of college football and have a shot to land on the First or Second All-Mountain West team.
Tariq Thompson had a phenomenal freshman campaign. Thompson was named to the Freshman all American by both the FWAA and USA Today. In addition, Thompson was also selected to the second-team all-Mountain West by both the coaches and media members. He started all 13 games for which he made 63 tackles (46 solo), and had a team-high five interceptions. The outstanding sophomore will likely have a stellar season and has a great shot to be one of the best safeties in the West Coast this year.
Starting Cornerback Ron Smith is coming back to the Mesa after having a productive season where he started in every game. Smith had 62 tackles and had 16 pass breakups for the season. His 16 pass breakups ranked second in SDSU single-season history. In his first two years, he had five interceptions and expect the total to improve in his career. For his junior campaign, expect Smith to rapidly improve and be one of the best cornerbacks in the conference. If you don’t know the name Ron Smith now you will soon know it in the next year or two.
Going into San Diego State ’s fall camp there are two starting jobs in the secondary that needs to be filled. One more safety spot is open and another at cornerback. There are certain players that are very capable to fill those spots. Safety Trenton Thompson is the frontrunner to earn that starting spot. Thompson who is known to be a hard hitter fits the Aztec name well. Unless someone else plays really during fall camp he will be the starting safety. Other guys who will be challenging Thompson for that starting job are Sophomore Tayler Hawkins, Sophmore Dwayne Johnson, Sophmore Will Stricklin, and junior Israel Cabrera.
For the cornerback starting job the guy who looks like who will win it is junior CB Kyree Woods. Woods has been the backup for the last two seasons and has played a lot on special teams. The speedy DB needs to improve on his pass coverage but if he can that it will help him secure the starting job. There are others who will have a good shot to start also. Redshirt Freshman Darren Hall, Junior Jeff Clay, Redshirt Freshman Tayari Venable, and Redshirt Freshman Addison Umrarong will give Woods lots of competition.
If the Aztecs secondary can be what it has been the last few years, they can have a chance to be one of the best mid-majors in the country and have a great shot of winning the Mountain West.
Cornerback: Ron Smith(Projected starter), Kyree Woods(Projected Starter), Darren Hall, Jeff Clay, Tayari Venable, and Adison Umrarong
Safety: Parker Baldwin (Projected Starter),Tariq Thompson (Prpjected Starter), Trenton Thompson (Projected Starter), Tayler Hawkins, Dwayne Johnson, Will Stricklin, and Israel Cabrera.