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March 21, 2013

WKU Gridiron Spring Preview: Defense

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Let's get all DEFENSIVE in this version of the Spring Practice Preview.


It's time to reset the defensive front. Gone is the leadership of Jamarcus Allen, the explosive skills of Quanterus Smith, and the consistency of Cole Tischer. Also gone are the 19 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss accumulated by those talented players.

Gavin Rocker and Calvin Washington will likely be your catalysts on the defensive front. Rocker started three games and logged quality playing time in 12 games last year while recording three sacks and four tackles for loss. Washington has comparable size to Quanterus Smith, expect him to use his 6-foot-5, 264-pound frame to be a disruptive force coming off the edge.

Others in the mix for starting jobs include Bryan Shorter, who saw action in 10 games and earned a start at Louisiana-Lafayette in 2012, and junior Jamichael Payne. Also, watch out for Julian Leslie, who was voted scout team player of the year on defensive by the previous coaching staff.

JUCO transfers Maurice Bennett and Raphael Cox will be much needed additions to the depth chart and will be expected to make contributions right away.

Gavin Rocker, So.
Calvin Washington, Sr.
Bryan Shorter, So.
Jamichael Payne, Jr.
Julian Leslie, So.
Maurice Bennett, So.
Raphael Cox, Jr.
Marquez Pride, So.
Devante Terrell, So.
Tevin Holliman, Sr.
James Hervey, Sr.
Steven Caudill, So.
Lawrence Campbell, Jr.
Clayton Cain, So.


The "President of Destruction" Andrew Jackson has been re-elected and returns to anchor the linebacking corps. Jackson is coming off another triple digit tackling performance, registering 122 stops last season that included 17.5 tackles for loss last season. The "X-Man" Xavius Boyd is expected to share the field with Jackson after having a break out junior season last year by collecting 79 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Boyd led the Hilltoppers in tackles on four different occasions a season ago.

With Jackson and Boyd back in the fold, expect Bar'ee Boyd (X-Man's brother), Daerius Washington, and Daqual Randall to make their case for the other starting job during spring practice.

Andrew Jackson, Sr.
Xavius Boyd, Sr.
Bar'ee Boyd, Sr.
Daerius Washington, So.
Daqual Randall, So.
Chuck Franks, Sr.
T.J. Smith, Jr.
Blair Vaughn, So.
Terran Williams, Jr.
Mike Federspiel, Sr.
Devante Duclos, Fr.


As the Jimi Hendrix song title suggests, "Are You Experienced?" The answer is yes, if you're talking about the defensive secondary. The Hilltoppers have a stable of veterans returning in Kiante Young, Tyree Robinson, and Arius Wright.

The safety positions are locked and loaded with Young occupying the strong position, where he morphed into a tackling dynamo in 2012, with 83 tackles and seven pass break ups. First team All-Sun Belt selection Jonathan Dowling has a firm grasp on the free safety spot after recording six interceptions and 68 tackles a season ago. Dowling is Kentucky's kryptonite, having picked Max Smith off three times in last year's contest at Lexington.

Also, expect Cam Thomas to compete for a starting role as well. He has developed into a dependable option in the secondary after recording 43 tackles, seven pass break-ups, and three interceptions last season.

Kiante Young, Sr.
Tyree Robinson, Sr.
Arius Wright, Sr.
Jonathan Dowling, Jr.
Cam Thomas, Jr.
Vince Williams, Sr.
Brett Harrington, Sr.
Eric Robinson-Berry, So.
Ricardo Singh, Jr.
Collin Fazer, Jr.
Jolen Briggs, So.
Darryl Gilchrist, Sr.
Prince Charles Iworah, So.
Jalen Sleet, Fr.
Steven White, Fr.

March 22nd-24th (3/22 - 4 p.m., 3/23 - 10 a.m., 3/24 - 10 a.m.)
March 28th-30th (3/28 - 5:45 a.m., 3/29 - 4 p.m., 3/30 - 10 a.m.
April 4th-6th (4/4 - 5:45 a.m., 4/5 - 4 p.m., 4/6 - 10 a.m. *scrimmage)
April 11th-13th (4/11 - 5:45 a.m., 4/12 - 4 p.m., 4/13 - 10 a.m. *scrimmage)
April 17th & 18th (4/17 - 4 p.m., 4/18 - 5:45 a.m.)

SPRING GAME: April 20th at 2 p.m.

Western Kentucky NEWS


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