The Pirates have a few questions in the defensive secondary coming into the 2016 season. Those questions are providing opportunities for some players to step in and take on big roles for the Pirates in 2016. Secondary coach Rick Smith will be looking to find those impact players in his 9th season at ECU.
Last season ECU ranked 67th in the nation in passing yards allowed giving up 226 yards per game. An area the secondary will certainly be looking to improve on will be takeaways. The Pirates tallied only 8 interceptions which was tied for 100th in the nation.
The Pirates have a few incoming freshman defensive backs with the chance to see immediate playing time if they prove themselves ready. Javontay Smith, Colby Gore, and Keyshawn Canady will all be coming in as true freshman this season and the coaching staff will be eager to see if they are ready to have an impact in their first year at ECU.
There are also some returning players in the secondary who are poised for a breakout year.
Senior cornerback DeShaun Amos has fought his way up from a special teams player to become a key member of the ECU secondary. Last season was his best season as a Pirate in which he started seven games. Amos tallied 32 tackles, five pass break ups, and two fumble recoveries. The Pirates will be looking for Amos to be a lock down corner in his senior season.
Along with Amos, junior free safety Travon Simmons will be looking to pick up where he left off from the 2015 season. Simmons had a team-high nine pass breakups and added 45 tackles. Simmons possesses great footwork and agility which gives him the ability to cover the field from his free safety position. He is coming off of a shoulder injury but has been cleared to go for the 2016 season.
Coach Smith will have an interesting task ahead of him piecing together the secondary this season but if he can get the right players in the right places, they have an opportunity to be big time play-makers in the ECU secondary.