Coach Anderson on the Freshmen: Defense

As the Arkansas State Red Wolves hit the mid-point of the season we take a look at this year’s freshmen recruits. Astatenation sat down with Coach Blake Anderson to get an update on the progress and future for the current rookie class.

Cornerback Blaise Taylor: “He has been really solid as a corner but to be able to step in and take over the return game with JD’s injury and all that especially with us having a couple of balls on the ground, you have to be pleased with what he is doing.”

Cornerback Nehemiah Wagner: “Going to be a really good player. He’s had a real limited roll but has a very, very high ceiling as a corner.

Cornerback Charles Gaskins: “He’s been a surprise. He has been really helpful in special teams; he’s made plays and served a role. He’s had to bounce between corner and safety and has played some significant snaps. He has grown up; might have been one of the more immature recruits. The environment was so much different than he was used to. He was kind of loose cannon during camp but I have been pleased with how he has been able to respond and give us some good snaps.”

Safety Khari Lane: Been solid all year. He is playing a bunch of snaps, special teams and defense. Made a huge couple of plays in the Utah State game. He just has a nose for the football. He’s too short probably, too slow probably, I mean it you name it he is probably too everything but he just makes plays.

Safety Charles Grant: “Coming along, more snaps the last few weeks. Made his first sack, first PBU, starting to feel really confident about his role. He has given us some depth in the back end.”

Defensive end Caleb Caston: “He really has been a big surprise. He can really rush the passer. He has played solid downs; he has started some snaps for us. Has gotten to the quarterback. Getting more and more confidence. He is explosive and can really get off the edge. He has definitely been a surprise. We thought he was a candidate for a redshirt and he just kept getting better. And with Jonah (Hill) going down it created an opportunity, and Jabari being hurt a little, and we threw him in there and the next thing you know he is making play after play. That has been a pleasant surprise.”

Defensive lineman Marcus Hudson: “He was cleared to be on scholarship but was not cleared for competition. Going into the first couple of weeks he was the most explosive interior freshman. Other than Dexter (Blackmon) he was the most explosive guy. I like where his upside is at. We will get to see him in the spring. We put in a waiver but we don’t expect it to go through. He will have 4 good years and he should be an impact player for us.”

Defensive lineman E.J. Sutton: “Solid snaps, has played a lot of snaps inside. He has been a good solid gap player. Still has a lot of strength he needs to build on. He really needs to lean his body up.”

Defensive lineman Chucks Ota: “Chucks has probably been a little bit more disruptive, he has been able to be a little bit more physical. He has a better base coming in strength wise. Both (he and Sutton) are doing a good job for us. That is a lot to ask, there are double teams and cut blocks and stuff but they both have handled it pretty well.”

Defensive end Jarrod Chandler: “Raw, but very athletic. Just needs time to develop.”