SJSU Position Group Preview: Front Seven
How will the Spartans replace the production left from Frank Ginda?
Replacing the production that was left from last season’s NCAA leader in tackles Frank Ginda will be difficult, but the Spartans have three starters returning on the defensive line and a couple more at linebacker. Those players will have to step up as the Spartans struggled against the run last season as they have for many years now. In 9 out 13 games last year San Jose State gave up at least 200 yards rushing and finished the year giving up 5.4 yards per carry.
Defensive Line: Ends Bryson Bridges and Sailosi Latu return along with tackle Owen Roberts. Last year almost all of the production from the defensive line came from these three players but with how bad the run defense has been they will have to continue to improve for the defense to become better overall.
Last year, opponents choose to run it down the Spartans throat as opponents ran 71 percent of the time on standard downs (second-most in the country) and 37 percent on passing downs (45th). Bridges is on Athlon’s preseason 3rd team all-conference team and this will be Roberts 3rd season starting so the Spartans will need these guys to figure it out in there senior year. Former three-star recruit Cameron Alexander may also contribute in his sophomore season as he was one of the other players at his position to find playing time.
Linebacker: Losing Ginda will be tough for the Spartans but they do have sophomore Tysyn Parker and senior Jamal Scott returning for another season. Parker is a former 3-star recruit who kind of came out of nowhere to become one of the bright spots on the defense. After not playing much at the beginning of the season Parker started the final four games of the year and should be a shoe-in to be a starter. Jamal Scott who started his college football career at Arizona State also returns after leading the team in sacks. He is the most complete and experienced linebacker on the team and should have a productive senior year.
The other starting spots will most likely be decided during fall camp as the Spartans are young and inexperienced at linebacker. The players that have the most likely chance for the final starting spots include junior Ethan Aguayo, junior Hadari Darden, and freshman Isakk Togia. Aguayo was third on the team in tackles last year and has 19 starts over his career so he likely has a leg up on the completion.
Hadari Darden redshirted last season after starting at JUCO Contra Costa College. If the Spartans want to go with more experience at the position this may be the way they decide to go. Togia was a 3-star recruit who could contribute in his freshman season if San Jose State decides to go younger and look towards the future.