Inside Look: USF Defense

USF Publisher Larry Weisbaum stops by to give us a perspective on the USF defense; a look at who the starters are, with some of the key reserves.

DE: Ryne Giddins - is easily the most recruited player ever to land at USF. He was a Parade All-American in High School amongst many other accolades. After serving as a backup last year, Giddins garnered 19 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Giddins is strong and fast and has worked all offseason on becoming a complete defensive end as opposed to just a pass rusher. This year, the 6'3 260 lbs redshirt sophomore enters as the starter and poised for a breakout season. Recorded his first sack of the season and added four tackles against UTEP. He has 10 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 sack, & 3 QB hurries through 4 games.

NT- Cory Grissom - is the lone returning starter on a defensive line that featured eight players in the rotation. The junior nose tackle stands at 6'2 322 lbs and has had an excellent fall camp. Grissom's role on defense does not lend itself to many stats, as he's much more of a space-eater. He recorded 16 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 1 sack. Grissom is a big guy but moves very well and has great feet. Going into his junior season as one of the leaders on the defensive line, Grissom has shown in camp that he's ready to increase those numbers dramatically. He recorded four tackles in his last outing against UTEP.

DT: Keith McCaskill - the 6'1 senior defensive tackle served primarily as the backup for future NFL defensive tackle Terrell McClain. Although McCaskill has been a backup most of his career, he has substantial game experience, playing in 37 games throughout his USF career. He was responsible for a huge safety last year against Rutgers, which was the turning point in the game and allowed USF to continue its midseason resurgence. McCaskill has one of the highest motors of any of USF's defensive linemen and that says a lot about a unit predicated on speed. Last year, he recorded 14 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1 sack. Along with Grissom, McCaskill also has had an excellent fall camp and seems much more focused than ever. He recorded first sack of the season and tallied two tackles, one TFL, against UTEP, and has 7 tackles, 3 TFL, & 1 sack through 4 games.

DE: Patrick Hampton - is the only other senior featured in USF's entire defensive line rotation. Standing at 6'2 246 lbs, Hampton is also one of the teams' strongest players, boasting a 415 lb. bench press and a 565 lb. squat. Hampton earned playing time sparingly throughout his career until last year when injuries forced one of USF's starting DE's out. Hampton earned the start and impressed the coaches. As a backup, Hampton recorded 19 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. As a full time player heading into this season, Hampton is ready to greatly increase his numbers from the year before. He has 7 tackles and a forced fumble through 4 games.

SAM: Sam Barrington - the 6'1 235 lb junior linebacker is one of two returning starters on the Bulls linebacker corps. He is one of the team leaders and an excellent player to boot. Just like the defensive line, the Bulls linebacker corps rotated heavily, regularly featuring six guys, which led to the stats being spread out amongst the players. With that said, Barrington still recorded 65 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles. Barrington's tackles were good enough for third on the team. Barrington is an excellent player and one of the main anchors for a unit that ranked 17th in the country for Total Defense. Fans and the coaching staff alike foresee big things for Barrington this upcoming season. He recorded first career interception and ran it for 30 yards for a TD against UTEP & has 20 tackles on the season.

MIKE: Mike Lanaris the 6-foot-, 235 pound junior is one of the biggest of the Bulls linebackers and another hard working team leader that brings his lunch pail to work every week He's played in 29 games with five starts. He saw his first extended action at linebacker last season and made 29 tackles, a half sack, four TFL and two INTs. So far this season Lanaris leads the team with 27 tackles, including 10 at Notre Dame to open the season. He's also intercepted a pass and has a PBU.

WILL: Devekeyan (DeDe) Lattimore - the 6'1 237 lb. redshirt sophomore linebacker is the other returning starting linebacker. Lattimore finished second on the team in tackles recording 69 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Those numbers were good enough to earn Lattimore Freshman All American honors from Phil Steele. Lattimore is big, fast and hits like a truck. Despite a very good season last year, one of Lattimore's knocks were his overall knowledge of the game, he rectified that this offseason by spending numerous extra hours in the film room and is much more mentally prepared for this upcoming season. Lattimore has racked up 21 tackles, 4.0 TFL, a sack, an INT, a PBU and a forced fumble already in 2011.

CB: Kayvon Webster - the 5'11 196 lb. junior cornerback steps in as the starter taking over for Minnesota Vikings draft pick Mistral Raymond. Webster does not enter the position green; he has appeared in 25 games throughout his career and after making significant gains this offseason appears ready to handle the rigors of the position. Webster played in a reserve role last season and recorded 29 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Webster is a talented player but has yet to put it all together. This offseason he worked extremely hard, adding 10 lbs of muscle and seems ready to be a leader on the defense. In the first game at Notre Dame, Webster notched three tackles, a PBU and a fumble recovery that he returned 96-yards for a TD on the opening drive. He has 14 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FR on the season.

CB: Quenton Washington - the 5'10 196 lb. senior cornerback is one of two seniors in the starting secondary. Washington is entering his third year as starter. During the second half of the season, the proverbial light bulb turned on for Washington. His overall play saw a significant boost. After nearly returning an interception for a touchdown in the bowl game, Washington took that momentum and rode it into spring and fall camp. The coaches have been very impressed with his progress and he hopes to have a big senior season. Washington recorded 59 tackles 4 pass break ups, 1 tackle for loss and 2 blocked punts. He's added 10 tackles so far in 2011.

FS: Jerrell Young - the 6'1 209 lb. senior safety is another player in the Bulls secondary that returns with significant experience. Young started all 13 games last year for the Bulls and has appeared in 36 career games. Last year, Young led the team in interceptions with 3. He recorded 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 3 pass breakups to go with the interceptions. Young has significant experience and is one of the many leaders on the Bulls defense. He opened 2011 with seven tackles, a TFL, an INT and a forced fumble to earn BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors.

SS: Jon Lejiste - the 6'0 199 lb. junior safety serves as the enforcer in the Bulls secondary. The coaching staff is known for bringing Lejiste on blitzes and he has a knack for causing a disruption in the backfield and delivering big hits. Last year, Lejiste recorded 43 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception and 2 passes broken up. Lejiste is bigger and faster than he was a year ago and that should be troubling news for opposing quarterbacks. Lejiste posted 10 tackles in the first game of 2011 at Notre Dame, added a fumble recovery versus Ball State and an INT vs. FAMU.

Key Reserves:LB Reshard Cliett, CB/NB/SS Jaquez Jenkins, DE Julius Forte, FS Mark Joyce, LB Mike Jeune, DT Elkino Watson, DE Claude Davis, CB George Baker

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