There are quite a few players I have my eye on to have an absolute great year. Some I’ve been watching even before they stepped on campus and a few that I missed early but have watched progress rapidly. It stands to reason that all the guys on defense should improve simply by having the same coordinator for 2 years in a row.
I’m not going to tell you that guys like Javian Hawkins, Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, etc, etc, are going to have big years because that is already common knowledge. I may give you a few starters from last year but I truly believe all these guys listed below will have big years – and even bigger than last year.
I’m going to tell you little about the guys to watch for a BIG year and then my man, @CSZCardsHive, is going to share his insight after breaking down some film.
I think he is ready for an absolute breakout season. I’m not taking anything away from what he did last season. In fact, one could argue he had a breakout season last year and I wouldn’t disagree. But in my opinion, he is still learning and getting better everyday. I know it seems odd to say that a guy who started all 13 games last season is a guy that will have a breakout season but I see Chandler being a corner that opposing quarterbacks will have to think twice before throwing to his side. In his sophomore campaign he finished 6th on the team with 50 tackles but led the team with an amazing 10 pass deflections. The 5’10” 185 junior should really benefit from have a D-line this season who can put pressure on opposing QB’s. Having to cover opposing wide receivers for 7-10 seconds is not favorable for a cornerback. The addition of Yaya Diaby and Ja’Darien Boykin coupled with the improvements made by Dayna Kinnaird, Tabarius Peterson and Jared Goldwire, should provide a sufficient pass rush to allow Jones to do his thing. I’m really excited to watch him this season. There are awards in his future.
Hive Film Evaluation – When watching Chandler’s film the main thing you notice is how physical he can be in one on one coverage. He makes it very difficult for super fast receivers by hitting them at the line of scrimmage and staying draped all over them for the entirety of the route. He’s also becomes noticeably better with his feet and hips, where he used to be a little more stiff, but now he is very fluid in coverage. I expect him to be an All-ACC talent this year after another year of working with Coach Brown.
Yasir is my guy. I’ve been on him since day 1. He plays football the way it’s meant to be played – physical and fast. I tried telling you all last season that he was the real deal. Then the first depth chart came out and he wasn’t listed at all. So I asked him if he was hurt or something happened. He said he was fine and he just need to “show them.” Well, he showed them alright. Not only did he see the field in all 13 games, he took over as the starting outside linebacker in the 5th game of the season and didn’t look back starting in eight games all season. Whatever message coach satterfield was sending to Yasir with that first depth chart, he got it loud and clear. Year two under DC, Bryan Brown should reap rewards for Abdullah and this defense. He finished last season with 45 tackles which ranked 7th on the team (pretty solid for having limited playing time in the first 4 games). I believe he will be top 3 or 4 in tackles this season. I believe that CJ Avery will lead the team with Abdullah, Burns and Etheridge closely behind battling for 2nd most tackles. Abdullah is a physical hard hitter and I know you will see a few opposing running backs slow to get up after he lays the wood to them. Keep your eyes on #22. You’re welcome!
Hive Film Evaluation – Yasir Abdullah is one of my favorite players on the defense and the main reason why is he is a physical freak. Not only is he solid from sideline to sideline in his tape but he can also get into the backfield on top of drop back in pass coverage. He’s someone who’s constantly all over the field making plays when he gets snaps. He is still a little raw in his pass rush but I think Cort will definitely be able to coach him up in that regard. I really think he’s a sleeper to be an NFL draft pick on this team if he can put a couple of seasons together like I think he’s capable of doing!
I have been watching Adonis since high school. I love the way he finishes blocks so I decided to interview him after he committed. Adonis has the dubious task of following Mekhi Becton. Mekhi told me in an exit interview that “Boone is gonna be great. He is a hard worker that make sure he learns what he is doing… he is very coachable. Yea, I taught him a few things.”
Adonis appeared in 10 games last season and started two, including the Music City Bowl game. Boone’s natural position is guard but with Coach Ledford wanting versatility, Boone has learned to play tackle and he plays it well. There really aren’t many stats for lineman like there are for skill positions but his best game, statistically speaking, was against Syracuse where he graded out at 88%. I believe this coming season, an average game for Boone will be 88%. He is going to be solid this year and will be the leader of the O-Line in the 2021-22 season.
Hive Film Evaluation – There wasn’t an awful lot of tape to breakdown when it came to Adonis Boone but when he was out there it’s easy to see why he’s expected to anchor the LT spot. First off, he’s a mountain of a man with nimble feet to go along with with a solid base. Second off, he seems to have a real understanding of what’s being asked of him in the blocking schemes which should only improve with another year in Coach Ledford’s offense. He’s another guy that I think could have an NFL future.
I’m sure you have heard the chatter about how much he has improved this year. The buzz around him from practice is very encouraging. He will be taking over as the anchor of the defensive line for G.G, Robinson. Defensive coordinator Bryan Brown said, “I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, man, Jared Goldwire was a different human being these seven practices of spring,” Brown also said, “I think now he understands, ‘Hey, I’m in that starting role right now by default, I need to do everything in my power to make sure I don’t give this spot up, and I know this is my last year to try and achieve the goals I want to achieve.” I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty favorable for Card fans looking for improved defensive line play this year. In my opinion, he is the key to the improvement of the defense. If he can occupy the middle enough to bring a double team, or require additional help to block him, it will open up lanes for the defensive ends to bring pressure – which will in turn help the secondary with shorter times to cover receivers. I’ll be keeping an eye on him early to see his progression. I have faith he will have a HUGE year.
Hive Film Evaluation – Jared Goldwire’s elite size at the DT position is what really stands out to me in his film. He looks like he has all the tools to be an NFL DT/NT one day and from what we’re hearing it seems like he has taken the next step in his game. He has always had out of this world power, a nice first step, and size that warrants a double team from offensive lineman but this year watch out for him to develop more pass rushing moves and see his overall production take a dramatic rise.
Lovie Jenkins is a guy that I think is going to be a crowd favorite. When I watched him in practice, one word came to mind… SPEED. He looks fast and quick. And that’s exactly what I want in my safety – along with being 6’1″, 195. I put him in this article not because I’m predicting him to have an amazing year with 10 interceptions, or some amazing stats, but because with the depth issues on defense he will be a guy who will see the field quite a bit. He will likely be playing behind Russ Yeast. Lovie had over 40 scholarship offers and originally committed to Tennessee but ShaDon Brown got him to flip. I feel confident he will make the most of his opportunities. Will there be some learning pains and freshman mistakes? Probably… but I can live with those because he is the future at the safety position. Lovie can play multiple positions and is capable of playing man coverage on slot or #2 receivers.
Hive Film Evaluation – Lovie Jenkins might be my favorite player from the 2020 class. He really is a Do-It-All safety as he can track the ball in the air and be a legitmate threat to take it all the way back for a TD with his great athleticism while also being able to step up and lay the wood on the ball carrier. I see a lot of Troy Polamalu in his game and I think he’s going to be a great player.
As always, GO CARDS!