2021 San Diego State Defensive Preview

2021 San Diego State Defensive Preview

Mountain West Basketball

2021 San Diego State Defensive Preview


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2021 San Diego State Defensive Preview

Get to know the Aztecs defense

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Could this be the best defense in the league?

The San Diego State Aztecs defense played lights out for most of the season. Got handed tough road losses, but accomplished some really good things on defense. They were the 3rd ranked defense in all of FBS in 2020, only allowing opponents an average of 283.5 ypg. The core of what the Aztecs keep for 2021 remains, they stop the run, make you earn points for victories.

Notable Returners

Trenton Thompson – S

Caden McDonald – LB

Cameron Thomas – DL

Notable absences:

Darren Hall

Tariq Thompson

Projected Starters

– Keshawn Banks – DL

– Cameron Thomas – DL


– Andrew Aleki – LB


– Caden McDonald – LB


– Tayler Hawkins – CB

–  Noah Tumblin- CB

– Trenton Thompson – Aztec


2020 NCAA FBS Rankings: 

3rd ranked defense (283.5 ypg)

6th ranked 3rd down conversion PCT (.298).

8th ranked team TFL (8.1 pg) 

7th ranked Rush def (98.2 ypg)

14th ranked Pass def (185.2 ypg)

PODCAST: 2021 San Diego State Football Preview

The guys are coming back.

Brady Hoke has taught these guys up and they are going to be consistent in 2021. No big changes here, since we do expect stand-outs Trenton Thompson, Caden McDonald, and Cameron Thomas to return. Based on the Spring Ball performance, Sefo Mailangi will shine once the season begins. McDonald’s 34 tackles, including 10 TFL, have been a part of the blueprint that continues to follow Aztecs’ defense, and with Cameron Thomas getting more reps, and in 2021 we should expect more of the same.

The difference will be seeing who will step up and make the plays to secure Aztec victories. This defense has been dominant, but with questions on offense, they need to pick up on how to be a scoring defense.

Playmakers to turn the ball over.

San Diego State’s defense was stout, but the area they need to improve upon is their turnovers. They were only +2 in turnovers in 2020 compared to going +19 in 2019. San Diego State’s ability to win was in how the Aztecs can take advantage of opposing quarterback mistakes, running backs holding onto the ball, or contesting 50-50 balls.

Darren Hall and Tariq Thompson’s total 19 career interceptions will be missed for this upcoming squad, but there is a lot of youth in the secondary that needs to match their production.

The winds are changing along the Pacific. The Aztecs finally have competition in Nevada and San Jose State, both of whom are projected to outperform San Diego State. Nevada’s Carson Strong is developing into an arm that is catching the attention of national scouts. While San Jose State is turning the corner with 20-something-year-old QB Nick Starkel and challenging the league for a repeat of their Mountain West title.

For the team playing in Carson from San Diego, the defense will have to carry this team again. The defensive accolades will come to San Diego State, but if they can’t figure out the offense it will be easy for the Aztecs to be overwhelmed and outmatched again. The bottom line here is that defense will win championships, but it’s going to be the offense that needs to pull their weight.



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