The Second Level

The strength of the Green Wave defense in 2008 figures to be the deep and experienced linebacker corps. This unit returns four starters, including converted strong safety David Skehan (6-0, 222, Sr.). Tulane returns seven players with a combined 77 career starts, making the second level of the Green Wave defense one of the most experienced units in the entire conference.

Evan Lee (6-1, 230, Sr.) returns after starting all 12 games in 2007 and leading the Green Wave defense with 99 tackles, the curious thing is that he is not listed as the starter entering the fall, that distinction goes to David Kirksey (6-1, 220, Jr.). Kirksey has appeared in 22 games during his collegiate career with 6 starts, 35 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Coach Bob Toledo has recognized Lee as a potential candidate for all-conference honors. Lee is one of the Green Wave's most experienced linebackers with 19 career starts. His career totals include 155 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Expect this position battle to continue as fall practice opens.

Strongside linebacker appears to belong to Skehan. In 2007, he recorded 66 tackles (39 solo) 4 tackles for loss, a team leading 4 interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and 3 fumble recoveries. In 2006, Skehan led the Green Wave with 80 tackles in addition to 6.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions for 41 yards and one touchdown, 3 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles. Skehan has appeared in 35 games during his Green Wave career with 21 starts. His primary backup appears to be fellow senior Jordan Ellis (6-1, 216). Ellis provides excellent depth and experience having played in 30 games with 9 career starts at Tulane.

At weakside linebacker, junior Travis Burks (6-0, 215) has the upper hand over senior incumbent James Dillard (6-2, 227). Burks, who played safety in high school, has yet to make a start for the Green Wave despite making 23 career game appearances. Burks' strength is in the passing game where Coach Toledo has stressed that the Green Wave needs to make more plays. Dillard is a very experienced backup with 18 career starts and 101 tackles.

Junior James McMurchy (6-1, 226) is the odd man out on the two-deep. McMurchy has one career start in 20 appearances over the past two seasons. Rounding out the depth chart are redshirt freshman Logan CoBell (5-10, 222) and Adam Podet (5-10, 212). They will have to fend off a trio of incoming freshmen for their positions on the depth chart.

True freshman Darryl Farley (5-11, 228) from Atlanta-Grady recorded 95 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 blocked punts as a senior. Fellow signee Sule Osagiede (6-0, 190) from Lamar Consolidated in Houston was named Class 4A 2nd Team All-State and District 24-4A Defensive MVP as a senior. In his final prep season, he totaled 111 tackles despite playing with an injured ACL. Rounding out the trio is David Allen (6-2, 200) from South Pasadena, California. Allen finished his prep career with 145 tackles and 3 sacks during his senior campaign.

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