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6 College Football Breakout Candidates on Defense for 2019

CREDIT: JEROME MIRON USA TODAY SPORTS

The Obvious Picks

Grant Delpit Perhaps the most obvious candidate is LSU safety Grant Delpit, he’s already been given that number 7 jersey for the upcoming year. Delpit landed as the number two overall prospect on Mel Kiper’s Big Board back in early May. The person I’d compare him to would be Kam Chancellor, a head hunting safety who is good in coverage and just has a nose for the ball. Delpit is a playmaker and a guy we’ll be watching on Sundays very soon, expect him to be a top 10 pick in next years draft, there’s going to be a lot of teams interested in him. He finished last year with 74 tackles, six interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Derek Stingley Jr Another LSU defensive back, Stingley will be an incoming freshman and will make an immediate impact on the LSU secondary. He’s the number one corner in his class and the number three prospect overall (24/7). Back in December Dave Aranda, the Tigers defensive coordinator said “He looked like he was the best guy we got,” during a Fiesta Bowl media appearance (Jacques Doucet). He’s certainly impressed his coaches and will soon put the rest of the country on notice with his playmaking ability.

Xavier Thomas A freshman All-American last year, if you read my early season mini preview of Clemson, you would know that I’m already a fan of this guy. A very explosive edge rusher, he recorded 3.5 sacks as a reserve for the Tigers this past season. With his snap count guaranteed to skyrocket this fall, look for him to put up some impressive numbers and land himself as an All-American at the end of the season.

The Maybe Not so Obvious Picks

Trey Dean iii A lot of people have been really high on CJ Henderson and think he will have a breakout season, so I thought I’d pick a different Florida Gator cornerback to come out and have a big year. A defensive back with good size and good footwork he didn’t get to play a whole lot as a freshman, only recording one interception, he did have a solid game against Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Look for him to get more snaps and make some big plays. He should be a guy that plays a big part in the Gators secondary.

Andre Cisco Another freshman All-American, Cisco had an excellent first season at safety for the Syracuse Orange. A guy that always seemed to be in the right place at the right time last year, with his size and high football IQ he can have another big year. He’s a great coverage safety and only has room to improve. I’m high on this kid and playing in the ACC should only help his stock grow playing good teams week in and week out. Seven Interceptions this past season, this is a guy to look out for whenever you’re watching Syracuse games, especially when they take on Trevor Lawrence and Clemson.

Tyreke Smith Only made an appearance in 7 games for the Buckeyes last season, but Ohio State has put out a lot of great pass rushers the past few years and this kid is going to be another one. While he probably won’t get the starting spot right away but can definitely earn a lot of snaps for Larry Johnson’s unit. Look for the big guy to announce his presence with Ohio State this year.

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