Football position breakdown: Safeties

Previous position breakdowns


Wide Receivers

Running Backs

Tight Ends

Offensive Line

Defensive Line



Today we continue the position breakdowns for the 2013 football season and focus on the Safeties!

Hakeem Smith



6’1   179 lbs

If it feels like Hakeem Smith has been at UofL forever, well he pretty much has! He got here in 2009 and red-shirted. As a freshman in 2010, Smith did not start against UK in the first game of the season. He has started EVERY GAME SINCE! Yes, that is correct. He started the rest of the season as a freshman, and then started every game during his sophomore and junior seasons. This has led to Smith being a three-time All-Big East Selection! He was also named Big East Newcomer of the Year in 2010.

I could give you all kinds of stats and numbers from Smith’s last 3 seasons at UofL. But just know this: Hakeem Smith has been Mr. Consistent in his time here. He is not a vocal leader, but definitely leads by example. He has recorded 245 tackles in his 3 seasons. Cards fans should feel nothing but confidence knowing that Hakeem Smith is still going to be roaming around in the secondary for the Cards for 1 more season!

Calvin Pryor

Calvin Pryor


6’2   208 lbs

I have heard multiple people predict that before his time is up here, Calvin Pryor will hit someone so hard that they lose their helmet. That is what comes to mind when you think of the junior from Port St. Joe, Florida. There is a reason that he led the team in forced fumbles with 5 last season. Last year was a great one for Pryor as he was named second-team All-Big East and he also finished 2nd on the team with 100 tackles! To open the season, he made 9 stops and forced 2 fumbles against Kentucky.

Just look at the difference in size in Pryor and Hakeem Smith. Smith is a great safety, and Pryor weighs nearly 30 more pounds than him! So think of someone with that kind of size just waiting for his chance to make the big hit and knock the ball loose. Pryor should build on his good Sophomore season and we should see more of the same big hits from him this year!

Kamal Hogan

Kamal Hogan

RS Junior

6’0   211 lbs

Hogan will be moving from running back to safety this season, and that seems like a smart move. With the depth at running back, and with Hogan’s size and athleticism, this move just makes sense. He will likely see more time here than in the backfield this season. He has played in 24 games in his first 2 years at UofL, mainly playing on special teams and getting just a few carries each season. We will see how the move from running back to safety translates for Hogan.

Other safeties on UofL’s roster:

Gerod Holliman

Alex Witcpalek

Jarrod Barnes

Terrence Ross

Kevin Houchins

My outlook: 

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we have 2 of the best safeties in the country in Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor. Smith has just been a consistently good player since he got here. He has so much experience, and that can not be overlooked. Safeties are the last line of defense out there on the field, and if you have someone who gets lost and doesn’t know where to be, you will give up big plays a lot. Having Smith and Pryor back there just eases my mind. They are also both athletic enough to come up and cover someone if one of our corners blitz.

There is not much game experience behind those two, however. Freshman Terrence Ross just recently tore his ACL so he will miss the season. I would look for Gerod Holliman and possibly Kevin Houchins to be able to step in and get some time.

Have fun watching Smith and Pryor this year folks. You won’t see many duos better than that!

Tomorrow I will wrap up the position breakdowns with the Special Teams! Hope you have enjoyed them all!


*Some info came from

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.