There will be plenty of new names and faces on the Texas State defense this season. Overall, seniors David Mims and Trey McGowan are expected to be the stalwarts of the maroon and gold. There will be talent around them, although young and unproven, they get a baptismal by fire opening up against Florida State.
After taking in all of Fall Camp and game practices, here's our breakdown of how the "2 Deep" has formed:
DT: 1.) Mershad Dillon, Sr. 1.) Dallas McClarty, Jr.
2.)Landon Beck, Fr. 2.) Darius Hood, Jr.
Other contributors: Dondre Elvoid (Sr.), Cedric Gambrell (RS Fr.), Kendall Beal (RS Jr.) and Herbert Gonzalez (Sr.).
Dillon and McClarty are both solid, but true freshman Landon Beck has been one of the biggest surprises leading into the season opener. His strength and quickness have been off the charts, and it leads him to making plays. Expect him to get a good amount of snaps. Elvoid and Gambrell can also be dark-horses as contributors, both pass the eye ball test, but consistency has to pick up for them to see the field.
LE: 1.) Karee Berry, RS So.
2.) Jeff Banks, RS So.
Other contributors: Roosevelt Pearson (RS Jr.) and Darnell Dailey, (Jr.). All four players have the speed and can turn the edge quickly. At 6'5" 250+ pounds, Pearson is the biggest of the bunch, but is still working his way into earning more playing time. Also, Dailey will stand up on the left end as a "Bandit" in certain formations and rush the QB. Although light, Berry and Banks are know for their bursts in rushing situations and towards the end of last season were splitting starting reps. Both are just sophomores with plenty of upside.
RE: 1.) Rusmin Nikocevic, RS Sr.
2.) Tim Gay, Sr.
Other contributors: Marcus Dallas (Sr.) and Kerry Walker (Fr.). The true freshman has shown to be a pass rushing specialist. He could have the quickest first step and at times will also stand up on the right end as a "Bandit" in certain formations, giving him even more of an advantage. With nice height, 6'3", and at 225lbs, he is set to contribute this season.
The two biggest surprises of fall camp are Nikocevic and Gay. No one could have predicted that Nikocevic would be starting at one of the D-End spots. His, motor, selflessness, attention to detail, and execution seem to always have him in the right place at the right time, and the staff has rewarded him for it.
Just as surprising was the decision that Tim Gay would play both ways this season. He is now upwards of 275lbs and his athleticism and quickness are leverage for him on the end spot. He's shown the ability to put pressure on the QB, and also has the strength to hold the edge.
MLB: 1.) Trey McGowan, Sr.
2.) Stephen Smith, Jr.
Other contributors: Bo Anderson (Fr.) and Bryan London (Fr.).Both true freshman have gotten reps with the 2's. McGowan is the proverbial "Rock" of the defense. All he does is make plays and tackles. Look for him to play at an all conference level.
SLB: 1.) Teron Fitzgerald, Jr.
2.) Stephen Smith, Jr.
Other contributors: Ishmael Davis (RS Fr.) and Jordan Mittie (Fr.).The entire group has good size, but Fitzgerald brings an extra dimension of athleticism to the "Stinger" spot. He can use his speed to stay with most tight ends and will also push the edge when given the green light to rush. Had a good spring and his performance carried over to fall camp.
RCB: 1.) Brandon McDowell, So.
2.) Andrew Aneke, RS Fr OR Javante O'Roy
LCB 1.) David Mims, Sr.
2.) Clarence Guidry, So. OR Javante O'Roy
Other contributors: David Mims was selected by Sun Belt Coaches as the conference's Pre-Season Defensive Player of the Year. Those are lofty expectations for the cover corner, and he had a camp that shows he's game for the challenge. The question is opposite of him. At times O'Roy has shown flashes of being a play-maker, but Brandon McDowell has just shown too much improvement and consistency to get passed up. He's also shown the ability to make great reads and has flashed his catch up speed in pass coverage. That same speed has also had him working on the punt return team.
Wolf: 1.)Easy Anyama, RS So.
2.) Demetrius Woodard, RS Sr.
Rover: 1.) Damani Alexcee, Jr.
2.) Stephan Johnson, So.
FS: 1.) Dila Rosemond, So.
Other contributors: Camyron Brown (RS Fr.) and Donta Clanton (RS Sr.).
DC John Thompson has said that this is a very talented trio of starters. Anyama is a physical specimen with exceptional speed who can run with any skill player and then can bring his 220lbs to tackle. Alexcee consistently showed the knack for making plays during fall camp with good reads across the field. Sophomore Stephan Johnson could also see reps with the 1st unit, as he played all 3 spots as a true freshman and has impressed Coach Thompson.