Spring Preview: A Look at the Defensive Backs
ODUSports.com will do an eight-part preview, taking a look position-by-position at the Old Dominion University spring football roster. Today we highlight the defensive backs.
ODU returns four cornerbacks that started games in 2013 and leading tackler in safety Fellonte Misher. Four true freshmen saw significant minutes in 2013 while newcomer Justin Noye will also look to make an impact this spring.
Defensive Backs (12)
Alex Jackson – Walk-on redshirted in 2013
Daquin Moore – True freshman played in seven games with 21 tackles
Phil Paulhill – Season cut short due to injuries, played in two games
Sandy Chapman – True freshman started three games, notched 30 tackles
Rob Thompson – True freshman switched to safety in fall camp
Justin Noye – Graduated high school early to enroll in January
Jevon Neal – Started six games in 2013
Reggie Owens – Started all 12 games in 2013, forced two fumbles and had an INT
Fellonte Misher – Led ODU with 95 tackles
Eriq Lewis – Played in nine games, notching 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss
Aaron Young – Played in seven games, seeing time on special teams and corner
Malique Johnson – Played in all 12 games, starting six – played LB as well
2014 Signees (4)
Christian Byrum – S – 6-1, 195 – Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood
Justice Davila – S – 6-0, 185 – Erial, N.J./Timber Creek
Lawrence Holley – CB – 6-2, 185 – Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township
Felix Manus-Schell – CB – 6-0, 175 – Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep
Defensive Backs Preview
Reggie Owens is the senior leader in the secondary, having started 13-straight games at cornerback. Owens had a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles in 2013.
Jevon Neal started the first six games at corner opposite Owens but Eriq Lewis and Sandy Chapman started three games apiece. Neal ran the fastest 40 of all returners during off-season workouts. Lewis played well in 2013 before a shoulder injury ended his season while Chapman gained valuable experience at corner, intercepting his first career pass in the win at Idaho.
Fellonte Misher returns at safety after leading the Monarchs with 95 tackles. A Washington, D.C. native, Misher had two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries last season. Andre Simmons was the other safety for ODU last season but he has been moved to linebacker, opening up a spot for one of several players. Daquin Moore and Rob Thompson both saw quality playing time as true freshmen while Malique Johnson bounced around between safety and linebacker, starting six games and notching 33 tackles and a sack.
True freshman Justin Noye graduated high school early and joined the Monarchs for off-season workouts in January.
Player Spotlight –Fellonte Misher
Q: What did you learn from the 2013 season? I learned a lot, because we played big schools like Pittsburgh and Maryland. Now I know what to expect coming into this upcoming year.
Q: Talk about the excitement and challenges that you will face this season with the Conference USA schedule? One of the challenges is that we are playing teams that we did not play last year. We’re expecting a lot from the 2014 incoming class. The great thing is these freshman will start their careers playing this type of competition and they will get four years to play against these big schools.
Q: How did playing five FBS teams last year prepare you for this upcoming season? It has helped out a lot when we are watching film. When we watched the smaller schools on tape, we couldn’t tell how good their players were.
Q: How is Washington D.C. different from Hampton Roads? The people in Hampton roads are a lot nicer than people in D.C. I can normally approach them and talk to them about anything.
Q: Favorite place to eat? In D.C. my favorite place to eat was Chinese Restaurants because of the mambo sauce. I think D.C. might be the only city in the nation that has it. In Norfolk my favorite place to eat is Raising Canes.