David Skehan, a former walkon who led the team in tackles in 2006 with 80, returns and could again see action at both free and strong safety. Skehan, a senior, may not have top drawer speed but he's a pretty good football player, and he can make some plays. He started 10 games last season.
Joseph Goosby, who mostly played a hybrid safety/linebacker position last season, is probably best suited for the strong safety spot. Also a senior, Goosby is a playmaker and is most effective near the line of scrimmage. He's least effective in coverage and that may result in defensive coordinator Thad Kaumeyer resorting to a lot of situational substitutions. In 2006 Goosby totalled 54 tackles.
For the rest, the coaching staff is very high on Chinoso Echebelem. Soso runs very well and could play either safety. A true freshman, he played in 11 games in 2006 and made 4 starts, totalling 31 tackles. Although he's played both the strong and free sides, Soso appears to fit more naturally at free safety.
Louis Thomas is a 5th-year senior who played both safety positions last season, playing in all 12 games and starting 7. Thomas started his career at Louisiana-Monroe in 2003 before transferring to Tulane. Made 54 tackles in 2006.
Both Echebelem and Thomas are potential starters if either Skehan or Joe Goosby falter.
Travis Burks played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman, seeing action mainly on special teams. Burks appears to be better suited for strong safety. Now a true sophomore, Burks is a quality player who ensures depth on the top of the defense. Burks should also repeat as a contributor on special teams.
Cory Sonnier played in 8 games last season, almost exclusively on special teams. A redshirt sophomore, Sonnier still appears to have a ways to go before he's ready for extended playing time on defense but given the experience at the top of the depth chart, he's still got some time to develop. Look for Sonnier again on multiple special teams.
Walk on Christian Okoye played in one game last season. At this point Okoye, a redshirt sophomore, is not a contender for playing time on defense but is a good enough athlete to possibly contribute on special teams in 2007.
Look for the safeties to play an expanded role in Thad Kaumeyer's 'Darkside Defense'. Given the coverage problems experienced last season, seeing safeties play a bigger role in nickle and dime situations is not out of the question.